Cheena Badam Bhendi / Okra with Peanuts is a unique, Bengali dish, my Grandma used to prepare a lot. Cheena Badam is Peanut and Bhendi is Okra. It's one of those one ingredient dish where you don't need any complimentary vegetables to go along. It is quick and a great for weeknight meal.
Okra with Peanuts
This Bengali style okra with peanuts has two key ingredients, okra and peanuts. It’s a very mildly spiced dish, and you don’t want any other flavors to overpower the taste of peanuts. Also, toss around the okra gently, so you don’t mush it up. The idea is to create a golden peanut crust on the sliced okras.
What is Cheena Badam?
While badam in Hindi refers to only almond, Bengalis classify every variety of nuts as badam. Kaju Badam is cashew, Kaath Badam is almond, Cheena badam is peanut and hence the name of the dish. Cheena Badam Bhendi (Bengali Style Okra with Peanuts) is an easy to prepare side with very minimal ingredients, and it tastes delicious.
Ingredients you need to prepare Okra with Peanuts
Okra - Look for tender, bright green okra. The end of the okra should trim easily when you try to bend with your hand.
Peanuts - I like to roast the peanuts and remove the skin, as the skin sometimes can taste a little bitter. If you find skinless roasted peanuts, you can save time and use that straight away in the dish.
Nigela Seeds - Nigela seeds known as Kalojeera in Bengali is a very common spice used in Bengali cuisine. In this dish, this is the only spice that is used.
Mustard oil - Bengali dishes are often prepared with mustard oil and this dish I will highly recommend using mustard oil as it adds a lovely pungent flavor that goes so well with peanut.
If you are allergic to peanut, you can use any other variety of nuts too. If you are allergic to nuts, try the same dish using chickpea flour instead of peanuts.
It will taste a little different if you use chickpea flour, but will be still delicious.
Steps to prepare
The steps to prepare this okra with peanuts dish is utterly easy and very simple. You can however make your own version by adding onion, and few other spices too.
- Wash and pat dry the okra. To avoid the slimy texture, wash the okra and leave it overnight, to dry out completely. Then slice in half or quarter.
- Dry roast peanuts in medium low heat by tossing and turning eventually.
3. Place the roasted peanuts on a clean fabric and rub the peanuts to remove the skin. This step takes a little time.
4. Then coarsely ground the roasted peanuts.
5. In a heavy bottom pan, heat mustard oil and nigella seeds. Let the nigella seeds sizzle for a while.
6. Scatter the sliced okra and season with salt and turmeric and stir it around for a while to soften the okra.
7. Scatter the ground peanuts, and stir it around gently to coat the okra. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
8. Make sure to cook in medium low heat, so the peanuts doesn't get burnt and cooks evenly all around. Enjoy it warm.
A few keynotes to keep in mind!
- You want to get the best quality okras that you can find. How to buy the best quality okra? Look for bright green ones that will easily snap off at the tip, like fresh green beans!
- It’s important to peel the peanuts else, it will give a bitter taste. Even if you buy peeled peanuts, you want to roast it before making the crumbs, as it enhances the taste.
- If you are allergic to peanuts, you can swap it with any other variety of nuts.
- Allergic to nuts? Try using chickpea flour instead. Just follow the same recipe and instead of adding nuts, add chickpea flour.
Cheena Badam Bhendi (Bengali Style Okra with Peanuts)
- 12 oz okra
- ½ cup peanuts
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Dry roast the peanuts at medium low heat for 7 minutes. Then, rub the hot peanuts between a kitchen towel and the peel will come off easily.
- Grind the peeled peanuts into coarse crumbs and keep it aside.
- Wash the okra and pat dry it using a clean towel. This step is important to avoid the sliminess. Then, slice it in half lengthwise.
- Place a heavy bottom pan on medium heat and pour the oil. Once the oil heats up, drop the nigella seeds and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Then, layer the sliced okra. Sprinkle salt and turmeric. Give it a toss, cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, tossing once in between.
- The okra should soften after 5 minutes. Take the lid off the pan and let it sizzle for 5 more minutes. Gently toss once in between.
- Scatter the peanut crumbs and toss it around to coat the slices. Cook for 4 minutes. The peanut crumbs will coat the okra and create a lovely brown crust. Taste for salt and add any, if required.
- Serve it immediately. It pairs best with daal and rice.