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#RECIPE | Bhendi Ambil Khatta, a Dish from Western Odisha, by Local Expert Food Blogger, Priyanka Panda

Priyanka Panda, a successful 25-year-old food blogger, lives in Sambalpur, Odisha. ‘Treasure of Food’ is still fairly new but the photography, the personal stories, and the authenticity of each regional recipe define her blog. She helps spread her Odia culture through culinary experiences.

With us today, she shares her favourite comfort food called Ambil. She has grown up eating this delicious bhindi (okra) and curd-based recipe. This dish does require a little bit of attention to get the taste and consistency right but since Priyanka’s grandmother has helped her perfect it, we have all the wise insider knowledge!

Our fresh bhindi – the main ingredient

This dish is particularly famous in Western Odisha. There are more than a hundred versions of ‘Ambil Khatta’! Today, we are going to cook Priyanka’s personal favourite version which is made with Bhindi or Bhendi (okra), ‘Bhendi Ambil Khatta’.

INGREDIENTS

(serves 4, prep time – 10 minutes)

  • 8-10 pieces of Bhindis or okras
  • 2-3 tomatoes – diced
  • 1/2 a cup of curd
  • 2-3 tbsp of besan or chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 800-900 ml of water
  • Salt as per taste
  • Mustard paste:
    2 tsp of raw mustard
    3 garlic pods
    2 red dried chillies
    make a paste out of these by adding 1/4th cup of water.
  • Tempering ingredients:
    1-2 tsp of mustard seeds
    3 red dried chillies
    10-15 curry leaves
    2 tsp of oil

DIRECTIONS

  • Cut the bhindis into two pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a kadhai and fry the bhindis for 3-5 minutes in low-medium flame and take them out.
  • Now, add the diced tomatoes and a little bit of salt then cover it for 3 minutes.
  • Next, open the lid and mash the tomatoes nicely. Then add 2 tsp of prepared mustard paste, turmeric, red chilli powder and stir the ingredients for 30-40 seconds. Right after, pour in water and let it simmer.
  • In the meantime, make a well-beaten paste of curd and besan. When ready, add the paste and the previously fried bhindi into the boiling water.
  • Cook it until the raw smell from the besan dissipates. Remember to check the salt! At this stage, you should also pay extra attention to the consistency of the dish. It shouldn’t be too watery or as thick as kadhi either. If you feel you have added extra water, make a paste of besan and water on the side and then add that into the ambil and cook it over.
  • The last step is to mix the temper (given above) into the dish. This delicious dish will also work well with some chopped coriander leaves as a garnish. Enjoy this dish with a hearty portion of rice and some papads.

Discover more from this passionate cook and explore the Odia cuisine by following her on Instagram or on her ‘Treasure of Food’ Website!

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