Lady’s Finger in Bengali & Indian Cooking Explained

Lady’s Finger – the name is pretty interesting, yeh? The title of ‘honour’ has been conferred upon what we call ‘vendi’ in Bengali.

It resembles the oblong shape of women’s fingers and thus, has got the name. The green coloured vegetable with tapering ends is one of the most commonly used vegetables in Indian cuisines.

Though we use vendi in curries, its leaves are also edible and mainly used in salads. This vegetable is available round the year.

Cooking Lady’s Finger

Uses of Lady’s Finger in Bengali & Indian Cuisines

Vendi is used in a variety of Indian cuisines. However, the cooking style definitely varies from one culture to another.

In Bengal, fried vendi is quite popular. The Bongs make fries of many vegetables as they are quite fond of fried and spicy items.

Lady’s fingers are cut into small pieces and fried in mustard oil. Sometimes, poppy seeds are sprinkled for a distinct taste.

Fried lady’s finger is a popular dish in many states of India. The interesting variations in terms of choice of ingredients and style of cooking make it more special. Bhindi Bhaji is a Maharashtrian dish.

It is a spicy twist to the Bengali variety. Usually all Maharashtrian dishes are very spicy. This particular dish is also loaded with spices and good to taste. The recipe uses onion.

Punjabi bhindi fry is a flavoursome recipe. The Punjabi style of cooking is truly awesome and adds the unique characters – both in terms of taste and flavours – to the preparation.

In Andhra Pradesh, fried lady’s finger is a popular dish. It is prepared in a different way. They use coconut oil for frying. Peanut paste adds a distinctly delicious flavour to the dish.

In coastal regions, people whip up a completely different kind of bhindi fry. In Goa, the style of frying vindi is unique and impressive and the output is very tasty.

It is a spicy treat. Interestingly, the lady’s fingers are not chopped and instead, used as a whole like small fishes.

Dry bhindi masala – the name hardly leaves any room for guesswork about the taste. It is spicy and yummy.

The chopped lady’s fingers are fried with onion slices. You can use onion paste instead of sliced onion – the choice is up to you.

Bhindi masala gravy is another delicious dish. Deep fried lady’s fingers are cooked in spicy, tangy gravy. A generous use of ginger-garlic paste lends a thick texture to the dish.

It is usually served with rumali roti. If you wish, add schezwan sauce to the recipe. This sauce is a great taste enhancer.

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Lehsuni bhindi is a delectable recipe usually served as a snack. The mouth-watering dish, which gets a wonderful Chinese touch, is made with a lot of ginger-garlic paste.

Pundabi bharwa bhindi is simply out-of-the-world in taste. The signature style of Punjabi cooking takes the taste quotient to another level.

A lot of spices go into making the dish. If you love spicy veg dishes, it is surely one to give a try.

In Maharashtra, bharwa bhindi is cooked in a different way. The recipe is easy but yummy. Chickpea flour is roasted with some known spices.

Stuffing is made by adding water to the mixture and used to fill the longitudinally split lady fingers which are deep fried and served hot with tandoori or rumali roti.

Spice-coated chickpeas stick to the lady fingers and you can experience the tangy taste with every bite.

Punjabi aloo bhindi is a simple but scrumptious preparation that brings the best of both lady fingers and potatoes.

Onions are also added to the recipe. The Pundabi style of cooking makes it truly fantastic. Both potatoes and lady fingers are deep fried and then cooked with onion slices. The dish is best relished with naan.

Bhindi with dahi is a different and delicious preparation with lady’s fingers. The chopped vegetable is slowly cooked in a spicy gravy of curd. After the dish is done, sprinkle chopped coriander leaves all over.

In Rajasthan, besan bhindi is a popular dish. The Rajasthani style of cooking is very unique and appreciated throughout India.

People use a lot of spices for both veg and non-veg preparation. They make bhindi pakora, which is a yummy snack and a tangy, spicy curry usually served with rice or roti. Often, deep fried pakoras are added to the gravy.

In Rajasthan, people also make bhindi sabji which is simply awesome in taste. Besan is used in both preparations. Vindi sabzi uses chickpea flour for taste enhancement.

Travel to the southern part of India and you can see how lady’s fingers are used in their veg dishes. A popular south-Indian bhindi dish uses lady’s fingers with coconut.

The dish is pretty simple to cook but offers fabulous taste. The recipe uses coconut paste or grated coconut.

If you ask me, I will recommend trying both recipes to experience the difference in taste. If you have experimental taste buds, use fresh coconut milk to the recipe. The dish tastes slightly sweet and superb.

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Bhindi do pyaza – the name gives you a feel of royal treat and in reality, it is just like that. The onion touch adds a thick texture to the dish.

It also enhances the taste and flavour. However, the way onion is used varies from one region to another and to be more precise, from one dish to another.

For bhindi do pyaza, onion is deep fried and lady’s fingers are cooked in spicy gravy. Sesame seeds are added for garnishing.

Shahi bhindi – the name is enough to guess how much effort is made to perfect its royal taste. The Mughlai style of cooking brings a divine taste to the preparation.

The dish is almost like shahi paneer and loaded with dollops of cream. Chopped coriander leaves are used to garnish the dish.

Bhindi raita may sound a little bit weird but believe me, it is not only unusual but also unmatched in taste. You can use a lady’s finger in either of two forms – boiled or roasted/deep fried.

At the end of a hearty and spicy meal, a bowl of raita feels very refreshing. Try this one instead of the most popular cucumber raita after a plateful of biryani; you will get enough time to thank me for the suggestion.

Okra pulusu is an Andhra dish. In Telugu, pulusu means ‘sour curry’. A variety of ‘sour curry’ dishes is prepared in the southern regions and tamarind is used for the tangy taste.

Lady’s fingers are cut into small pieces and cooked into tamarind gravy. Some common spices such as, chilli powder, coriander powder etc are used to prepare the curry.

If you prefer sweet-sour taste, use jiggery to counterbalance the tanginess to some extent.

Bhindi rice, also called bhindi biryani, is simply amazing. Steamed lady fingers are added to steamed rice.

The simple, light dish is packed with taste and nutritional benefits. If you prefer spicy dishes, add lots and lots of spices; otherwise, make it plain.

You can add other chopped vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, cabbage leaves, beans etc for a more colourful and flavourful presentation.

Okra sambar is a famous South Indian dish that uses a lady’s finger to sambhar. The unique style of preparation makes sambar tastier and vendi juicer and more flavoursome.

Bhindi wala meat – pretty interesting, isn’t it? The combination of lady’s finger and meat is a yummy jugalbandi for those with undying love for taste experiments.

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Is Lady’s Finger Tasty?

Lady’s finger has a mild, grassy flavour. Depending on the way of cooking the whole taste depends.

If it is boiled then it tastes a little juicy, when it is fried it tastes crispy and salty, when it is cooked with spices and other vegetables it takes the taste of the spices added.

Generally, it does not have the taste of its own but on the other hand it is definitely having a juicy flavour of its own.

What are the Best Recipes for Lady’s Finger?

I love bhindi bhaja, a popular Bengali dish and pair it with hot rotis. Bengali style bhindi bhaja is very simple whereas the dish gets a spicy twist in other states such as Punjab, Maharashtra and Goa.

As I am pretty proud of my experimental taste buds, so I often try out bhindi bhaja with Punjabi, Maharashtrian or Goan touch.

Of other bhindi dishes, raita and sambar feel very tasty. Furthermore, these dishes are very light and refreshing, a perfect end to a spicy meal.

Shahi bhindi and bhindi do pyaza are two other dishes I really love, especially on the weekend or after being on a light meal for a long time.

How Do You Know When a Lady’s Finger is Cooked?

When a lady’s fingers are properly cooked, they become a little bit sticky. It is one reason why some people don’t like bhindi.

So, make sure to turn off gas as soon as they look and feel soft.

What Goes Well with Lady’s Finger?

Both steamed rice and Indian wheat breads go well with most of the lady’s finger dishes.

Depending on the cooking it can go with roti, steamed rice and when cooked along the sambar dal it can go with the dosa.

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