Friday, April 10, 2009

Vendakkai Mandi

This is something that I first tasted at a friend's place... they are chettiars and when that aunty was visiting my friends, she often made this curry and a vazhakai roast and they were always such a hit. She would even pack this for my lunch with curd rice sometimes and I thoroughly enjoyed the tangy, creamy curry. I got the recipe from her and she explained how to get the 'arisi mandi' which is actually the water used to rinse rice. What we typically discard is what gives this curry a special taste & and a creamy texture too when coupled with the ladiesfinger/okra. My husband's uncle & family live in devakottai and chettinaad cooking is part of their daily fare and I've tasted a yummy version with mochai, vendakkai, potato etc. there too so there are quite a few variations to the kind of veggies that can be added.

To get Arisi Mandi - after a first quick wash of uncooked rice, add about 2 cups water to a cup or so of rice and mix it thoroughly while you rub the rice through your fingers. After a few minutes, drain this water and keep aside. You can then proceed to cook rice as usual while the drained 'mandi' will be used for the curry below.

VENDAKKAI MANDI - Chettinad Specialty


Ingredients:
Vendakai / Okra / Ladies Finger - about 12, cut into half inch pcs after wiping dry
Potato - 1 small, cut into small cubes
Red Onion / Shallots - half cup, cut into small pieces
Garlic - 5 cloves, chopped (not minced)
Green Chillies - 10, slit into two
Arisi Mandi - 2 cups (method given above)
Tamarind extract - 1/3 cup (extracted after soaking tamarind in warm water)
Coconut milk - 1 to 2 tbsp (optional)
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - few
Mustard seeds - half tsp
Urad dhal - half tsp
Methi seeds /vendhayam - few
Asafoetida / perungaayam - a pinch

Method:
1) I usually wash okra/vendakkai and dry them completely with a towel, which lessens the stickiness to an extent. Then I spread the cut pieces on a plate as a single layer and microwave for about 5 minutes. This also helps with some pre-cooking and reduces the stickiness to an extent.

2) Heat oil in a pan and season with mustard, urad dhal, methi seeds, curry leaves & asafoetida. Once the mustard splutters add the shallots or onions, g. chillies & garlic and fry till onions are transparent.

3) Next add the microwaved vendakkai and potato and saute for a few minutes with some salt. The Arisi mandi goes in next. Cover and allow to cook on low-medium flame till the potatoes are cooked completely & are soft to the touch.

4) Now add the tamarind extract and allow to boil till the raw smell disappears. Stir in the coconut milk (if using) last and switch off the stove. The consistency shouldn't be too watery or dry - kind of inbetween. Delicious Mandi is now ready to be served with curd rice, vathal kuzhambu or even yummy with mixed in with rice.

37 comments:

  1. That looks so delicious, thanks for sharing such an authentic Chettinad recipe Lavanya!

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  2. I ve seen this recipe at solai's place! We use mandi too! Good one :)

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  3. Sounds really good, I like using the drained water from rice instead of throwing it.

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  4. This is so new to me, the pic looks delicious Laavanya

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  5. Never heard of mandi before, it was new to me- very interesting recipe.

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  6. looks awesome... love such authentic recipes :)

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  7. Looks great Laavanya! Never heard of this before. Yummy!

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  8. Heard of this dish but never tasted/tried it..Looks great.Will try someday.Thanks!

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  9. never had this before, but looks very interesting and delicious too!!

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  10. This chettinad speciality is our fav.As you said, it tastes great with curd rice.

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  11. Looks delicious.. nice entry.. awesome..

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  12. Mandi looks delicious.. This curry is new to me thanks for sharing

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  13. Looks really tasty Laavanya. My MIL uses the arisi mandi to make rasam. I am game for anything with vendakkai.

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  14. Thats a delicious, authentic chettinad recipe..

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  15. heard about this. but never know what ingredients they use. quite intersting. And as u said adding mochhai will give anice taste.Will give a try.

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  16. Thats a cute rhyming name n the curry looks yummyy..Love okra's n potato's..:)

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  17. what an unusual and lovely recipe

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  18. I tried this once long time before from my cook book,after that I totally forgotten! Thanks for reminding me!
    U know what,my mom in law always uses arisi mandi to extract tamarind juice!! Its having lot of goodness not to be wasted:)

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  19. This is quite unusual, like the idea of using rice-water. I've seen this in a cookbook but probably didn't pay attention as I don't remember the bit about the rice-water.

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  20. good one..never tried making this way..sounds delicious side dish..

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  21. aah, I've heard of this dish.. but never tried myself.. Looks superb in the picture..

    I like the addition of potatoes in your recipe.. will try soon..

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  22. this recipe is so very tempting laavanya...have to surely try..amma use to say that the mandi is so good for the kids..love this recipe...

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  23. "Mandi" in malayalam means stupid/idiotic. :D
    So your post title would read "stupid okra"... ha ha.:D

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  24. new to me.. haven't tried much chettinad food. this one looks yummy.

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  25. Definitely delicious curry you do explain things so well feel so comfortable reading thru...

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  26. This looks very interesting. The only time I hear vendakkai and coconuts together is when we make mor-kuzhambu. Will try this one sometime! Looks delish!

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  27. wow...never even heard of this..great way of saving the starch laden water :)...will try it with just potatoes...now i have to remember to save the water!

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  28. I have cooked both potato and okra separatley, but never together. This looks awesome.

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  29. Thank you all for your comments. This is a very homely dish but very tasty.

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  30. Lovely dish.. Delicious recipe! Send this to shama's event!

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  31. Hi Lavanya

    I tried this vendakkai Mandi. It was very tasy and yummy. Me and my hubby had it with plain rice. It was totally a new taste to us.

    My husband loved it the most. He said to me "you have not cooked any tasty dish than this before".

    What other vegetable i can use, in place of potato?

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  32. Hi Subashree, thank you for trying the mandi and for the valuable feedback. So happy to hear that you and your husband liked it. I think you can also make this with mochai.. Let me find out what other veggies will work and update this post.

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