Apr 6, 2008

Okras in tomato mustard gravy .... Bhendi besara khatta

I normally prepare oriya meals when there is plenty of time at hand and the meal can be savoured with leisure and nostalgic memories.Every bite transports me back in time ,the delicate flavours tingling my tastebuds and reminding me of home.There is already a list of sweets and savouries ready in my mind to be hogged once I go back home.My Bappa's (father) constant leg pulling that I come from a drought stricken land doesn't at all deter me from my voracious gorging :)
The month of march just flew past and suddenly I realised that I didn't post a single oriya recipe.So here I am with my humble dish......a simple curry devoid of any frills and fuss but amazingly tasty.Bhendi Besara Khatta is Okras cooked in mustard and tomato gravy.Besara is a genre of oriya curry where mustard paste is the main ingredient.The tomato in the gravy imparts the required sourness and that's why the term Khatta meaning sour.This is my Bappa's favourite and I grew up eating and cooking this authentic delicacy.
The other ingredient which lends an unique flavour to the curry is Pancha Phutana.....a mix of cumin ,mustard, aniseed, fenugreek and nigella seeds and which literally means five spices.Oriya and Bengali cuisine is incomplete without the ubiquitous tempering of pancha phutana or panch phoran.

 Pancha Phutana

The actual flavour of the mustard paste gets enhanced when it is grinded on a Shila Bataa ,a flattened ,pitted stone on which the spices are ground with a smaller stone.Every oriya kitchen possesses the shila bataa and each and every spice and masala is ground to perfection and that too patiently!Lot of people complain about the mustard paste turning bitter if ground in a mixer and fortunatelyI have never faced this problem though mine gets ground in a coffee grinder.
You Need:
1 pkt frozen okraas or 250 gms fresh ones
1 tomato( sour variety) or equivalent amt of tomato paste
1-2 tbsp whisked curd
3 tsp mustard seeds
2 green chillies
2-3 flakes garlic
1 tsp pancha phutana(mix of cumin,mustard,aniseed,fenugreek,nigella seeds)
5-6 curry leaves
1 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp mustard oil
1 cup water
1/2 tsp turmeric pwdr
salt to taste
1.Make a paste out of the mustard seeds,green chillies and garlic with little water.You can add the tomato in the mixer after the paste is half made.
2.Cut the okraas into 1" pieces.
3.Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and half cook the okra and keep it aside.
4.Heat 1 tbsp oil in the same pan and add the pancha phutana and curry leaves,add the ground paste after the tempering starts spluttering.Add the turmeric.
5.Cook the paste for 3-4 mins and then add the okras and water.Add the salt.
6.Cook the okras in the gravy till fully cooked ,lastly add the curd,give one boil and switch off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves.Serve with steamed rice.

P.S You can add more water if you want a thin consistency and remember to use a tomato of sour variety as its a sour dish.I used a tinned one,so the vinegar in it imparted a nice amount of sourness.Tomato can be put while cooking the paste if you like slushy chunks in the gravy.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sounds like a mouth watering combination!! Will be trying this out whenever I see some good okra next.

    Deleted previous comment due to typos.:-)

  3. wow!my favorite one:))just love these

  4. okra curry with mustard sauce? Never tried it. Looks delicious, Saswati! It must have tasted great.

  5. wow!! A must try for me now! I love, love, love Okra!!! Thank u for ur version!!

  6. Looks spicy n tasty..nice pics too

  7. This recipe seems cool.I have not made Okras with tomatoes; in this way. Will give this one a try.

    I also loved the bowl.

  8. Using mustard paste in Indian cuisine, that should have been spiced up. Great recipe

  9. Hey.....lovely pic and great post.Have never tried Oriya cuisine.You know u can send the pic to the Click event.It looks real good.


  10. Saswati Oh my god. what a mouthwatering recipe, u make feel homesick now.
    I always the cherish the besara . I was extremely thrilled to read katta recipe.Very well photographed
    Thanks for posting the amazing recipe that is very unique to our humble state.

  11. that is such a lovely dish, Saswati! mustard paste imparts such a unique flavor, would love to try this soon :)

  12. This looks spicy and divine! :) A great dish Saswati!

    Rosie x

  13. I'm not a big bhindi person, but the flavours here sound outstanding!

  14. What a delicious, delicious recipe, Saswati. I love bhendi- it's always been my favorite veggie- and I can't wait to try this out. Thanks!

  15. It sounds delicious even thought i am not a big fan of okra.
    Well join the club, when i go back home i too eat so much things which I have not had that my hubby says i will blow up if i go on eating non stop.....

  16. thanks saswati..i was wondering that nobody noticed my recipe..:(
    am a biggggg bhindi fan ... you made my day today...

  17. I just cut a bunch of Okras Saswati and now I know what to do with them. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  18. Will try it soon. Okra is one of my fav. vegetables.

  19. that a new way of cooking okra for me ,nice recipe

  20. hi,
    first time to ur blog. lovely pics Nice recipe of okra with mustard gravy.

  21. Thanks everybody for taking out time to visit my blog..thanx for all the support:)

  22. That looks tasty. I have yet to try okra though it is on my list of things to try.

  23. beautiful pic of paanch phoran and okra with mustard. i am learning lot abt oriya and bengali food from ur blog saswati:)

  24. These simple home-style recipes are most precious to me! I am looking forward to trying this (bhindi is a favorite in my home)!

  25. A unique recipe for making Bhindi. Very appetizing indeed.

  26. The bhindi seems very nice and different !



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