There are some really interesting dishes you can make with okra, and I want to share one of those with you called bendakaya fry. It’s an Indian dish made with fried okra and plenty of seasonings that’s savory and flavorful.
You can find all sorts of Indian stir fry dishes that are made with veggies, bendakaya fry is one of my favorites. It’s pretty simple to make and cooks up quickly, and you can change things up try different variations by adding a little grated coconut, roasted peanuts, or sesame powder to the dish.
Usually, bendakaya is a side dish that served with dal, sambar, chapatis, or rasam, to name a few Indian dishes that incorporate it.
So, it’s a versatile food you can use in a number of ways. Let me share with you how to cook it in a traditional method for authentic Indian cuisine you can make it home.
How to Make Bendakaya Fry
A lot of Indian dishes are very fragrant and incorporate a lot of spices. They also tend to require a lot of different steps to make the food in the traditional manner. Though this can be a complicated dish to make, I’ll break it down step by step so it’s easy to handle.
- 250 grams of okra (alternatively, you could use two cups of chopped bhindi)
- 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
- 2 dry red chilies, deseeded and broken
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil 1/2 teaspoon of urad dal
- 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder
- Salt, to taste
- 1 pinch of asafoetida
- 9 curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- Start by rinsing off your okra and wiping it dry. Then, slice the okra into small rounds of about half an inch long. Set them to the side.
- Heat up your two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on the stovetop.
- Once the oil is hot, you can reduce the flame to low and add in a half teaspoon of cumin seeds, a half teaspoon of mustard seeds, and a half teaspoon of urad dal.
- Fry the mustard seeds to cook until they crackle and the urad dal until it starts to turn golden.
- Add in the dry red chilies and allow them to sauté for just a couple of seconds- long enough for them to change color. (Feel free to use green chilies instead, if you prefer.)
- Next, add in 1/2 cup of chopped onion and stir all of that together. Continue cooking the onions until they start to change to a translucent hue.
- Then you can add the red chili powder, turmeric powder, and a pinch of asafoetida.
- All of your spice powders together and add them to the rest of the ingredients in the stir fry. Add in the curry leaves and the chopped okra and mix everything together. Season with salt and sauté on low heat.
- Keep cooking for about three or four more minutes and check the okra to see if it’s finished cooking. It can take as long as 12 minutes to cook all the way through so that it’s tender when poked with a fork.
- Bendakaya fry can be garnished with coriander leaves and served as a side.
When the okra is properly cooked, it should still be slightly crunchy. It should be tender enough that you can bite into it without a lot of resistance, but the exterior should have a slight crunch to it. It may take a little trial and error to get the okra just right every time, but you’ll get it down after a while.
How to Make Bendakaya Fry without Oil
Can you make this dish without using oil? You can, but the process will be quite different, and I’ll share that with you right here. If you’re looking to cut back on how much calories the dish has and make it without oil, then this method is for you.`
Start by cutting the okra or bhindi into pieces that are about an inch long. Then, grind up some geera and tomatoes to make a paste. You don’t need to add any water as you grind them. Chop up some onions in very small, fine pieces, and then combine the onions, tomato paste, and okra with about 1/4 cup of water.
All of that can be poured into a pot on the stove and cooked on a low-medium heat. Every once in a while, give the mixture a little stir, making sure not to break the okra.
Once the okra has cooked all the way through, which will take about 12 minutes, turn off the heat and add in garam masala and miso paste. This gives you a type of bendakaya known as masala bhindi.
What to Cook with Bendakaya Fry
When you’re making this dish, what kind of other foods can it be served with for a traditional Indian meal? Which foods work well with it?
I’ve mentioned a few Indian foods already, but some of those can be a little tricky to make. For something simple to serve up with this fried dish, pair it with saffron rice, which is made with a little bit of saffron powder to turn the rice yellow, mixed with some steamed vegetables to give it extra flavor and color.
You could also serve it with roti, which is a flatbread made from split peas that sometimes includes curried mango, boiled pumpkin, curry chicken or goat, and other fillings.
Sometimes, this okra dish is served on top of rice, used as a garnish to make rice more flavorful and interesting. You can try it with dishes that are not Indian, like stir fried noodles, and see how well it pairs. It works best with savory dishes rather than ones that are cheesy or sweet.