26 Jan 2012

Spicy Okra Cigars


Okra Cigars - Whats in a name, it is just a name but the name makes all the difference. I feel it catches one's attention and draws them towards tasting the dish...

Lets say if I had named this starter dish as 'Okra Fry' or 'Okra something' then it would have been just another dish. Not that it has something special, I mean it does but it is the initial interest that makes all the difference.


Personally I love okra, other wise known as Vendaikaai [ வெண்டைகாய்] in tamil and Ladies Finger in English. I am sure it is not the favourite vegetable to most and usually it is made into a spicy poriyal or a sweet and sour tamarind based curry.

I have seen a few recipes on okra fritters. This is something similar to it but with a filling.


The best part is this one recipe can be converted into 3 different starters depending on the availability of the ingredients.

1.The okra cigars itself.

2.If you can't find okra, then cut the filo pastry into squares 5 cms by 5 cms , fill with a teaspoon of the filling and make them into wontons which can be baked in the oven or deep fried.

3.If you can't find okra and filo pastry or don't have the time to do anything, just roast the nuts  in a little bit of butter and toss them in some salt and pepper.... Awesome starter with some cocktail/mocktail drinks for the evening entertainment.

This filling keeps well for days in the fridge stored in an air tight container and used when needed.


The okra for this recipe should be tender and the length of your index finger and less. Only then the finished cigar would be soft and juicy to taste, otherwise you would end up with a hard chewy okra which nobody would relished.

This simple starter has three layers of textures : the outer covering is crispy , the second layer is soft and the third layer is spicy and nutty with a welcoming bite.  

For the recipe:
Tender okras: 12-15.
Whole cashews: a handful
Skinless peanuts: a handful.
White sesame seeds: 1 tbsp.
Oil: 1 tbsp.
Salt: to taste.
Ground black pepper: to taste.
Filo pastry wrapper or samosa wrapper [square ones]: 18-10 sheets.
Oil: to fry the cigars.


1.Wash the okra on fresh water and wipe them dry with a paper towel.
2.Pulse the cashews and peanuts together 2 to 3 times just to break them down. Do not grind them as it would become very sticky and paste like because of the oil content in them.
3.Heat oil in a pan and splutter the sesame seeds. Add the pulsed nuts, salt and pepper.
4.Roast in low flame until the nuts are mild reddish brown in colour and a wonderful aroma emanates.
5.Remove from flame and cool.


To make the cigars:
1.Make a cut on one side of the okra. Be careful not to cut through the ladies finger.
2.Make some space in the vegetable with your finger and stuff the powdered spiced nuts into it. Don't stuff too much and break open the okra, just enough to fill the vegetable. This should be done carefully and with patience.


3.Roll each stuffed okra individually in the pastry just twice and seal the edges. Don't need to cover the head and tail bit of the vegetable as it gives a different look to the starter when served. [see notes]
4.Heat the oil and fry the cigars 3-4 at a time until golden brown on all sides.

Serve with some ketchup for a lovely treat.


Notes:
1.Filo pastry: If you are using rectangular sheets which are around 12 cms by 15 cms in size, you need to cut the filo pastry into strips depending upon the length of the okra. There is no need to cut exactly the same length of the okra, an approximate size would do. So it is essential to select the okra of the same length. Ready made filo pastry which are cut into rectangular strips [5 cms by 12 cms] are available in the market which makes the job much easier.

2.Spiced nuts: Feel free to substitute other nuts in place of cashews and groundnuts but be careful that the flavours are not too over-powering. Variations in the spices can also be made according to one's taste - ginger powder, chilli powder, dried herbs, garam masala, ajwain etc....

3.Wrapping the okra: Don't over-wrap the okra which would result in an uncooked vegetable which is not liked by many. Also over-wrapping leads to over-frying the vegetable which leads to the okra soaking more oil and resulting in an oily sludgy dish. Just wrapping the okra twice in more than enough. The wrap gets fried in seconds which gives enough time to just cook the okra to a soft bite.

If you very concerned about the okra not being cooked, dry roast the whole okra in a pan on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, cool and then proceed with the recipe. This basically cooks the okra to an extent. Moreover, Ladies Finger are edible in the raw form and this recipe tastes best, if the okra has a soft bite to it without being over cooked and mushy. It is also essential to use very tender young okra hardly 4-5 cms in length which hardly leaves a bad after taste...:))


Sending this to CWF -Sesame Seeds  an event by Kiran  happening here. Do send in your entries as there are only a few days remaining...:))


Enjoy....


Scribbled by Reva

45 comments:

Priya said...

Omg, those okra cigars looks super crispy and irresistible.

Nalini's Kitchen said...

sounds interesting and inviting,looks gorgeous....

Kitchen Flavours said...

That's the bliss of getting pastry sheets.....love the way you transformed the okra bhaji to next level....tempting and nutty stuffing...

faseela said...

lovely idea....very innovative recipe....superb dear

ofcourse fantastic clicks too

Biny Anoop said...

wow amazing and creative

Umm Mymoonah said...

Looks awesome, love the filling and crispy outer layer.

Rathai said...

I really like this recipe. It's very creative and nothing like I have ever seen. We only use okra in curries at home. These cigars look so crispy and inviting. Very nicely taken pictures. I can imagine they must be as addictive as cigars, or even more. :D

Sravs said...

very unique and tempting cigars !! loved them !!

Ongoing event CC-Chocolate Fest

Julie said...

Perfect cigars n tempting clicks..

Erivum Puliyum

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Simply brilliant looking okra cigars. Excellent preparation.
Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

Archana Chari said...

Sorry if this question is too basic - but the pastry sheets I got would fry in jiffy. Would okra cook within that time?

Rekha shoban said...

revs, this is super duper snack...very interesting...looks gorgeous dear!

Radhika said...

Reva, You rock. I love Okra and this is the best recipe I have seen so far I guess. love the stuffing part very much and just imagine serving okra as a starter and the guests doing a double take. Priceless.

Vimitha Anand said...

OMG they look so cute and yummy. Perfect snack Reva

Kalpana Sareesh said...

Very innovative recipe.. love the color of the cigars..

Sobha Shyam said...

sure the interesting name tempted me to peek in here :)..wonderful idea Reva..kudos to u..the cigars are just fabulous..

Reva said...

Thanks friends for all your kind words..:))

@Archana: If uncooked okra is the problem , then dry roast the whole okra in a pan on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, cool and then proceed with the recipe. This basically cooks the okra to an extent. Moreover, Ladies Finger are edible in the raw form and this recipe tastes best, if the okra has a soft bite to it without being over cooked and mushy. It is also essential to use very tender young okra hardly 4-5 cms in length which hardly leaves a bad after taste...:)) Just wrap the filo pastry twice or thrice , fry the okra in medium flame for around a 45 seconds to a minute [just like a samosa made of filo pastry]....
The okra wouldn't be cooked thoroughly but it obviously not have the raw taste...!!!
Thanks for visiting Archana and come often..:))
Reva

Anjali Shukla said...

What an innovation!
I am in love with these cigars and the idea is just so perfect! :)

Sukanya said...

wow, these okras wrapped in filo looks too irresistable, but I liked the idea of slightly roasting them in pan before wrapping them in filo.
a healthy appetizer though

Sharmilee! :) said...

Wow lovely idea...interesting recipe

Sensible Vegetarian said...

This looks so good, nice and delicious.

Mimi said...

What an interesting dish. You make okra sound so delicious. I've had limited and not very pleasant experiences with okra, your recipe make me want to give it a go again.
Mimi

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Very creative. Nice and crunchy recipe....YUM! Perfect picture.

maha said...

sounds interesting and inviting,looks awesome....

Smitha said...

they look superb!....love the idea totally....a good appetizer!

Aarthi said...

Wow..YUMMY RECIPE...I am loving it..

Aarthi
http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

Treat and Trick said...

You're so creative to come up with this fantastic dish! Love it...

Loveandcalories said...

looks unique and delicious!!

Asiya Omar said...

wow! looks crispy and yummy.new idea.

Shirley said...

Simply ingenious!

Ramya said...

very innovative recipe. and u have explained it very well

RAKS KITCHEN said...

Brilliant recipe! Sounds awesome, very innovative and unique way to make oakra!

ramya said...

now thats the height of creativity.....Cheers for turning the plain,boring okras into such an interesting dish!And thanks for stopping by my space too!

Taste Junction said...

Awesome...such an appealing idea..and yes the name does make a difference!

Swathi Iyer said...

okra cigar looks delicious and perfect snack.

The Pumpkin Farm said...

Reva this is mindboggling, lovely recipe. must try for me

ANU said...

wow am impressed dear Reva...awesome and we too luv okra...will bookmark it to try!
Thanks for sharing!

Naiya said...

It's really interesting recipe. Thanks

Kalyani said...

thats one irresistible recipe.. a yummy pick me-up too :)

as usual, superb clicks too :)


Kalyani
Event : Valentine Fest – Served with Love
Event : Cook with Spices - Coriander

Now Serving said...

Very first time I have seen this dish - seriously!!! Looks absolutely inviting and so creative - love it Reva!!!

Sangeetha Nambi said...

Okra ! Wow ! Attracting dish and Tempting me to have :(

Turmericnspice said...

love the idea....fab clicks

Jaleela said...

nice clicks reva, crispy okra

Christy Gerald said...

Awesome recipe and a great Idea to serve stuffed Okra using Puff Pastry Sheets. Yumm n innovative Okra Cigars!. Luv it!.

Teena Mary said...

Really creative & great recipe! I wanna grab one ;)
Ongoing-''Valentine's Day Event''(till Feb 20th)

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