If you’ve been following this blog for a while you will have noticed that us bawa’s get an allergic reaction if we eat too much ‘green’ food or what we call ghaas-phoos. In most homes, the favourite vegetable is actually ‘Aapro Papeto’ as we lovingly call potatoes and like eggs, we include potatoes in most of our preparations.
One of the vegetables that does pass muster in our home is the humble ‘Bhindi’ or lady-finger as its popularly called. Not by itself of course. Like a geeky teenager, the Bheeda actually needs a cool friend like Papeto or cheese to give it company and only then will it pass the popularity test in a Parsi household.
At the recent JW Marriott Sahar Parsi Festival I hosted, a favourite vegetarian dish I whipped up was ‘Cheesy Bheeda’ which is basically just bhindi cooked the usual way and then topped with melted cheese. The Indian cook couldn’t suppress his horror when he saw what I was doing to his beloved bhindi. But, once he tasted it, he couldn’t stop eating. And neither could the guests – we were sold out of it every time it was on the menu.
Adding papeto to bheeda is also a great way of bulking up the vegetable. There is nothing more horrifying than starting with 1 kg of fresh vegetable only to see it shrink by half once its cooked and realise your family night dinner is now going to be a snack. It a popular caterer’s trick and one that always works better than adding water to make a gravy go further.
So, without further eedu (ado, i mean), here’s how you can make Bheeda Papeto at your home too – ingredients at the bottom of the post as always.
Cut the bheeda into small circles of 0.5 cm thickness and set aside. Once all of them are done, take a non-stick pan and dry roast them. This is a trick I picked up at JW Sahar and has worked like magic. By semi-cooking the bheeda first you get rid of the sticky fluid inside them which can make everything sticky and you get brilliant separate bheeda that you will be very proud of.
Now, in a pan heat a little oil and then pop in the mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies until they start popping and hissing. Add in the turmeric, red chilli powder and garam masala powder and bhuna-o everything well.
Now, add in thinly sliced potatoes and mix them well with the masala. Add in about 50ml of water, cover and let the potatoes semi-cook.
Once the potatoes are almost done, add in the bheeda and mix everything well. Cook for another 7-8 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and give it a final mix.
Serve hot with roti’s and feel free to sprinkle on that grated cheese too!
To make enough for 4 people you will need:
500 gm bheeda (ladyfingers)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
9 – 10 curry leaves
3 – 4 green chillies slit lengthwise
2 medium potatotes quartered and thinly sliced
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste