Ladies finger fry more commonly known as bendakaya fry in Telugu, is a stir fry dish made with ladies finger (okra), curry leaves, tempering spices and curry leaves. This is a simple yet healthy and nutritious dish which pairs so well as a side with plain rice or chapati. In South India most stir fried veggies are eaten with rice-sambar or rice-rasam combos.
These stir fry dishes are easy to make and only need pantry staples. Ladies finger is one of the most loved vegetables by Indians and we make a lot of dishes with them. One most common dish is the stir fry.
The stir frying method is more or less the same across India but the whole spices and ground spices used in these recipes is different. The recipe I shared in this post is the Andhra style bendakaya vepudu.
Again every household uses a different combo of ground spices. This recipe is the way my mom would make for us. Peanuts and coconut are the 2 special ingredients in this dish and many people call this as bendakaya palli vepudu in Telugu.
This is one of the best ways to serve bhindi to kids since this tastes delicious. My kids love this so much that I make this every other week for our dinner.
Slightly moist, non-sticky with an aroma of roasted coconut and peanuts makes this simple everyday vegetable a mouthwatering side dish.
In this video, I just skipped the onions, peanuts and even coconut. You can make it this way too. But onions add a nice caramelized flavor to the dish. Peanuts add a nutty aroma and coconut a sweet flavor.
1. Rinse 250 grams ladies finger under running water. Set them aside to dry. Then wipe off with a clean cloth or absorbent papers. I usually spray some vinegar, let them sit for about 10 minutes and then rinse off well. Then dry them and wipe with a fresh kitchen towel.
2. Chop the ladies finger to thin circles. Before you chop make sure they are not wet otherwise they will become slimy while chopping and while cooking too.
3. Heat a pan with 2 tablespoons oil. Next add ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon chana dal and 1 teaspoon urad dal. Fry till the dal turns golden. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 sprig curry leaves and 1 dried broken red chili or 1 slit green chilli as well. Fry until the leaves turn crisp.
4. Add 1 medium sliced onion and fry till golden. They should not be raw anymore. While the onions fry, roast ¼ cup peanuts in a heavy bottom pan until golden, aromatic and crunchy. Cool them completely. Add them to a cloth and rub off to roughly remove the skin. Set these aside.
5. Transfer chopped ladies finger and squeeze the lemon juice. I add about a tablespoon. It helps to get rid of the slime faster.
How to make ladies finger fry
6. On a medium heat, fry till the sticky substance goes away from the ladies finger. It takes about for about 5 to 7 minutes.
7. Next cover and cook till the ladies finger becomes tender for 2 to 3 mins. Covering helps to keep them moist without drying out. Cover only after the bhindi is fried well till it loses its stickiness. Otherwise they will become more slimy and mushy.
8. Sprinkle ⅓ to ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 pinch of turmeric, ½ teaspoon coriander powder or garam masala (optional) , ¼ cup fresh coconut and ¼ cup roasted peanuts. You can also crush the peanuts slightly if you like. If you want them more crunchy, add them while serving.
9. Lastly fry on medium flame till the coconut becomes aromatic takes around 3 minutes. Serve bendakaya fry with rice, phulka or roti.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 250 grams ladies finger (okra or bendakayalu)
- 1 green chili slit or red chili broken
- 1 medium onion sliced thinly or chopped (optional)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed or chopped) (optional)
- 1 tsp urad dal (skinned black gram)
- 1 tsp chana dal (bengal gram)
- ¼ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ to ½ tsp red chili powder
- ½ to ¾ tsp coriander powder or garam masala (optional)
- ¼ cup coconut (fresh grated)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional, helps to remove slime)
- 1 pinch turmeric
- ⅓ tsp Salt as needed
- 2 tbsp Oil
- ¼ cup peanuts roasted and skinned (optional)
- Wash ladies finger and dry them thoroughly. Wipe off with a clean cloth or absorbent papers.
- They should not have any traces of moisture over them otherwise they will become slimy while chopping and frying too. Chop the ladies finger to thin half inch circles.
How to make ladies finger fry
- Heat a pan with oil.
- Add mustard, cumin, urad dal and chana dal. Fry them until the dal turns golden.
- Add chopped or crushed garlic, curry leaves and slit green chilies or broken red chilies. Fry till the curry leaves turn crisp.
- Optional – Fry onions till translucent. You can also skip them but they impart a nice aroma to the dish.
- Add ladies finger and sprinkle lemon juice.
- Fry till all of the slime goes away. Lemon juice helps to get rid of the sticky substance from the veggie. This takes about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Cover and cook till the ladies finger is slightly tender. Ensure ladies finger is no more slimy only then cover it otherwise they will become more sticky.
- Add coconut, red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder or garam masala.
- Add the peanuts as well. You can also coarsely crush them and add. If you want the peanuts to remain very crunchy them add them while serving.
- Fry bendakaya vepudu till it begins to smell good for about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve ladies finger fry with rice or phulka.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
This post was first published in March 2014. Updated and republished in January 2021.