Pulusu aka stew is a typical Andhra preparation which is a tamarind based gravy dish that provides a tangy flavor to vegetables, lentils (pappu pulusu), meat (mamsam pulusu) or fish (chepala pulusu). Pulusu originates from the word ‘pulupu’, the tangy flavor of tamarind or lemon. In our parts of Andhra, jaggery or sugar also make an appearance in most pulusu preparations. Bendakaya pulusu is a simple recipe of okra cooked in tamarind sauce where the flavor of okra is brought out well in this tangy gravy dish. The simplicity and flavor of this dish is accentuated by the distinct tamarind tang and subtle aroma of methi seeds and curry leaves.
Bendakaaya Pulusu – Lady’s finger cooked in tamarind gravy
1/4 kg okra/bendakaya, wash, pat dry and cut into 1 1/2" pieces
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped onions
1 tomato finely chopped
2 green chillis, slit lengthwise
10 curry leaves
1 tsp red chilli pwd (adjust)
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tsp jaggery, grated (adjust)
small lemon sized tamarind, extract pulp
salt to taste
coriander leaves for garnish (optional)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
big pinch methi seeds/menthulu/fenugreek seeds
few curry leaves
Method for making Bendakaya Pulusu
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let them pop, add methi and curry leaves toss for a half a minute till the flavors come out and take care not to burn them.
Add the chopped onions and green chillis and saute for a minute. Add the okra pieces and salt and combine. Cook on medium flame for 12-14 mts or till the onions and okra are lightly browned.
Add chilli pwd, coriander pwd, turmeric pwd and salt and combine well. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook further for another 4-5 mts.
Add the grated jaggery and tamarind pulp along with approx three cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce flame and cover with lid. Let it cook for 8-10 mts till the gravy thickens slightly. Remember, 'pulusu' is a gravy dish and should be of a slightly watery consistency.
Once cooked, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.