Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Sambar with Okra (Bendakaaya Sambar)

I bought okra (benda Kaayalu) from Wal-Mart supercenter’s frozen section last weekend. As mush as I detest Wal-Mart business practices, I still shop there occasionally for groceries during fall and winter times, as we live in a rural area, and fresh vegetables that I prefer are really pricy after the summer. This behemoth shop carries quite a range of fresh and frozen vegetables at affordable prices year long.

After reading some of the fellow food bloggers posts about okra, I was tempted to dish out my favorite okra recipe from Nandyala, the famous bendakaaya sambar (okra sambar).

Smooth and silky okra when cooked in sambar, absorbs all the wonderful flavors of sambar spices and takes ‘I can’t believe this is okra’ kind of avatar, and goes down without resistance when eaten.

Cooked Toor dal, tamarind juice, Turmeric, Sambhar powder, red chilli powder and salt, Okra Pieces, Cumin, Mustard seeds and curry leaves for popu, Onion and tomato


Toor dal (Kandi Pappu):
1 cup of Toor dal – In a pressure cooker, take toor dal and water in 1:2 ratio, cook to soft, and mash the dal to smooth consistency.
Sambar powder Preparation:
1 teaspoon each – cumin, coriander, fenugreek seeds, chana dal, urad dal and dry coconut, Dry roast. Cool. Powder them together to fine. Or buy readymade sambar powder from an Indian store. We need atleast a tablespoon of sambar powder for this recipe.
Soak key-lime sized tamarind in half cup of water for 10min. This will soften the tamarind. Squeeze the pulp and discard the seeds.
Veggies for Sambhar:
Cut – 10 to 15 whole okra, 10 to 15 cherry tomatoes and one onion (What shape and size, see the photo above)
Salt, red chilli powder and turmeric – half teaspoon each, or to taste.
For popu or tadka:
1 teaspoon peanut oil
½ tsp each – curry leaves, chopped garlic, cumin and mustard seeds

tomato, okra cooking before adding the mashed toor dal After adding the toor dal to tomato-okra soup (Notice the change of colors from red to yellow)
Cooked Okra-Tomato Veggie Mixture……. Toor dal added to the veggie mixture


In a big pot, take peanut oil. On medium heat, do the popu or tadka(toast curry leaves, garlic, cumin and mustard seeds). When seeds start to pop, add the onions and saute to soft. Then add tomatoes and okra pieces. Also stir in sambar powder, red chilli powder, turmeric, salt, tamarind and one glass of water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover the pan, let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the okra is tender.

Add the cooked and mashed toor dal to the simmering contents in the pot. Mix and have a taste. Adjust the salt and chilli powder to your taste and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve. I usually let it sit for at least for about 15 to 30 minutes, so that when it is served, you can actually taste the flavor of sambar powder.

Okra Sambhar (Benda kaaya Sambhar) with Rice
Okra Sambhar with rice ~ Our Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Benda Kaaya(Okra),Toor Dal (Tuesday September 20, 2005 at 4:04 pm- permalink)
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