Okra in coconut sauce!


My first day in college has a very interesting story associated with okra and my Konkani heritage. As I walked into the admin office and submitted my profile, the gentlemen on the other side gave me a big familiar smile and asked me if I was from Goa. I was quite surprised to bump into a Goan there but was happy to hear Konkani, my native dialect.
Then in a mocking way he called me bheno. I knew that it translated to okra but wondered why he would call me that. Once I was back home, I narrated the whole incident to my dad. He laughed and said all the people in our village in Goa are jokingly called bheno as okra was predominantly grown there. I finally discovered that okra is a part of my heritage too.

Bendnyachi god bhaji or okras cooked in a sweet spicy coconut sauce. This is another Konkani recipe unknown to the outside world. It is usually cooked during the month of Shravan, according to the Hindu calendar. Since this recipe is devoid of onions and garlic, it is consumed on religious fasting days but taste great enough to made anytime.

1 pound tender okra chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/4 cup jaggery
1-2 sprigs of curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Sunday Masala (any garam masala)
salt to taste

In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. of oil. Sauté grated coconut till it changes color. Add Sunday masala and keep aside to cool.
Grind to a smooth paste with little water.
In the same pan, add 1 tsp of oil.
Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Once the seeds crackle, add the okra and sauté till almost cooked.
Now add in the ground paste.
Stir in the jaggery and salt to taste.
Stir fry the mixture for about 5-7 mins till the okra is well coated with the spices.
Serve hot with chapattis or rice and dal.


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