Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lady's finder - Okra - Vendakkai - Bindhi

It's scientific name is "Abelmoschus esculentus" and also "Hibiscus esculentus". In various parts of the world, it is known as Okra, Ochro, Okoro, Quimgombo, Quingumbo, Ladies Fingers, Gombo, Kopi Arab, Kacang Bendi, Bhindi (S. Asia), Bendi (Malaysia), Bamia, Bamya or Bamieh (middle east) or Gumbo (Southern USA). Apparently Gumbo is Swahili for okra. In Portugal and Angola, okra is known as Quiabo (plural: Quiabos), and in Cuba, as "quimbombo". In Japan it is known as okura. In Tamil it is known as Vendakkai.

Okra is found in it's wild state on the alluvial banks of the Nile and the Egyptians were the first to cultivate it in the basin of the Nile (12'th century BC). It was propagated then through North Africa to the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and India. It arrived then in the Americas at Brazil (1658), Dutch Guinea and at New Orleans before extending in the United States and going up to Philadelphia in 1781.

How to freeze Okra

Start with freshly picked okra. Wash, cut the stems off, being careful not to cut into seed chamber, otherwise the seeds may spill out. Blanch by putting into rapidly boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove and cool immediately by placing under cool running water. Pat dry, optionally make a cut lengthwise, pack in plastic bags, seal tightly and place in the freezer. Should keep well upto a year

Recipes made from Okra ...

Vendakkai (Okra) Kuzhambu
Lady's finger in curd based gravy
Bindhi Bhajii
Okra Curry

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