Thursday, January 28, 2010

Okra In Spicy Coconut Gravy ~ Udupi Style (Bhendaa Saggley/ Bhendaa Saglayn/ Bhendaa Saggle)

A popular Konkani curry in our house - Bhendaa Sagley (Okra curry in spicy Coconut gravy). I wonder who came up with this curry, the thoughtful use of Ginger, Onions and Green Chillies sauted together in oil, then bathed in a rich and spicy gravy of coconut-red-chillies-coriander seeds-tamarind, further seasoned with a tadkaa/ phanna (konkani term for tadka) of Curry leaves and Mustard seeds. The catch to this dish is that it neither has a running consistency like Kolambo (konkani term for thick Sambhar) nor does it have dry coarse consistency like Sukke (konkani term for dry side dish with vegetable of choice). The curry gravy is somewhere in-between, very thick and concentrated yet soulful and wholesome!

My Mom's signature recipe wins hands down - I know I brag a lot about my mother's cooking, but hey! I am making no bones here. This recipe is a tweaked version of the curry, with her personal touch of Ginger, Onions and Green Chillies which are not part of the original one. She is an awesome chef! (ignore my excessive enthusiasm here). I made this dish with few instructions I was given by Mom. I always felt that this is a complex dish in its own essence and cannot be home cooked till you have multiple trials and errors, also disasters if you wish to be brutal.
Now, the interesting thing is the manner in which the Okra is chopped. For some strange reasons unknown, it has to be chopped in bite-sized pieces of 1" each. The Okra has to be tender (tarney in Konkani), the over-hydrated ones, which are chewy and lack pulp are called joona in Konkani. The curry was nice, simple but little strong with rich concentration for a laymans palate, works well for me because I like spicy food. :)

A sweet blogger friend has passed on a cute award. Thanks Deepa from Food Lyrics! Its humbling and special! I do not know if I deserve it, thanks nevertheless for these tiny bouts of encouragement which compel us to share more, give more and enjoy the small joys life has to offer.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 servings

Okra (chopped in 1" bite-sized pieces) - 4 cups
Green Chillies (chopped) - 2
Ginger (minced) - 1" piece
Onion (very finely chopped) - 3/4th cup
Water - For curry consistency

Curry paste -
Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoon
Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Red Chillies - 4-6
Tamarind - 1 teaspoon paste or 1" inch pulp

For seasoning -
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Oil - For frying

Heat oil in a medium deep-dish saucepan. Once the oil is heated up, add Ginger and Green Chillies. Saute till they wilt and brown. Add Onions and saute till its browned and fried. Add the chopped Okra pieces. This helps in eliminating sliminess of the texture and adds much-required crispness. Saute till the vegetables are crisp (approx. 5 minutes)
While the vegetables are getting sauted, roast red chillies and coriander seeds in one teaspoon oil. Take care not to burn them. Allow to cool. Grind coconut-red chillies-tamarind. Towards the last spin in blender, add coriander seeds. Grind to a coarse gravy consistency with less water. Save the washed water from blender for diluting or concentrating your curry.
Add this ground gravy to the fried vegetables. Adjust salt and water. Even if you add water, after simmering the broth will be very thick. So add just enough water for boiling vegetables, bring to boil and simmer on low flame for 15 minutes. Once Okra is completely cooked, turn off flame and pour a seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves (konkani we call it phanna) seasoned and treated in oil. Serve hot with warm rice.


  1. dont like okra much but this may just turn me around :) btw, answered your ques in my blog, just so that others having the same ques can get the ans there itself. thanks for dropping by!

  2. Okra and coconut sounds like a yummy combo!

  3. I love okra.. it is a new recipe. Looks very authentic,must try for mw.

  4. Hey rge Saggley looks so the click

  5. Dear Ashwini, Love the curry will try this for sure.
    And dear I feel no daughter is over enthusiastic about their Mom. Mom's are great teachers and we their able learners. Your Mom deserves every bit of appreciation and more..

  6. @ Nags - Thanks. I will surely check your response. I know what you are saying, it was certainly helpful post. You have a great blog out there.

    @ Parita - Thanks dear. Yeah, quite unsual combination, bu if you like rice and coconut curry, this one's your best friend.

    @ Madhu - Thanks. This is a dish mostly prepared in Saraswat South Canara homes. I personally love this dish and the spices certainly mesh well to create a diferent taste. Do try and let me know.

    @ Supriya - Thanks. After Okra Sambhar, this one is my favorite.

    @ Pari - Thanks for those thoughtful words. This is a offbeat curry, so thought I should post it here. I liked the line you used. There can be no teacher greater than a mother, well said!!

  7. the coconut and bhendi combo

  8. Saggley looks pretty good ashwini, though I did not know ginger was added to this. I will try this variation soon.

  9. @ Supriya - RC

    Thanks. The original recipe does not have the sauted version of ginger, onion, green chillies added to the base gravy. This is my mother's tweaked version of the recipe. Do try and let me know.

  10. I love Okra and your recipe sounds delicious.I have bookmarked this page and I am going to try this recipe.Thanks for sharing.

  11. @ Deepa - Thanks.

    @ Padhus Kitchen - Thanks.


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