Stuffed vendakka: Ladies finger with spicy, tangy onion filling

Stuffed ladies fingers can be served as a snack or with breads. Photo: Shutterstock/

Malayalis love vendakka aka ladies finger or okra the best as 'thoran,' 'mezhukku piratti' or stir fry, and even an occasional pachadi. But the versatile vegetable can also be transformed into classy dishes that can be served as standalone items. Vendakka, with a spicy onion filling, can be served as a side dish with chapatis or breads, or as a snack as well. Here's how to prepare it.

6 medium-sized ladies finger
Salt to rub
For the stuffing
500 grams onions, finely chopped (about 2.5 cups)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
2 tbsp peanuts, crushed
1 tbsp gram flour
Coriander leaves

Slit ladies finger vertically to create an opening without making them into two halves
Spread them a little and scrape the insides clean, handle them gently so that they do not break into two
Then rub salt on the inside and outside of the ladies fingers
Leave them aside for 20 minutes
Now, wash them gently, but properly, in cold water
Pat them dry, gently
Now they are ready to be filled with the stuffing
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan over medium-high
Once it is hot, add onions, garlic and a little salt
Once they soften, add gram flour and all the spice powders
Keep stirring until the onions brown nicely
Sprinkle the crushed peanuts on top and coriander leaves
Let it cool
Now, carefully stuff the filling inside each ladies finger and tie them with a string, so that they do not fall apart
Heat oil in a cast iron pan (or any heavy-bottomed pan)
Place the stuffed bitter gourd carefully in a single layer
Keep turning and cook them until they brown on all sides
Keep the flame low to medium
Remove and drain the excess oil
Serve them with roti or phulkas

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