Here is another vegetable which is available in abundance during the prolonged summers of Delhi, but feared by many due to its stickiness and white glue oozing out. Some people also complain about the itch it induces in your hands while cleaning the raw vegetable, but I have somehow never experienced it. My mom makes it as crispy and dry as kurkuri bhindi. Just that, precautions similar to the ones while cooking bhindi need to be taken, else your arvi will be nowhere near karaari. Again, a liberal use of homemade coriander powder is very important.
This one is tangy and spicy, making it a perfect candidate for being carried in train travel, with poori or paratha. I love to eat it by mixing it with simple daal and rice though.
Arvi – 250 gms
Green chili – 1, chopped small
Oil – 1 tbsp
Haldi/ Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Jeera/ Cumin – 1 tsp
Ajwain/ Carom seeds – 1 tsp
Dhania powder / Dried coriander seeds powder – 2 tbsp (you may not need all of it)
Garam masala/ kitchen king masala – half tsp
Salt – as per taste
Juice of half a lemon
1. Clean the arvi by wiping each with a damp cloth. We do this as we do not want the arvi to get wet. Wiping will not clean the arvi entirely, as it got a hairy exterior, which will go only when you peel it. If the arvi has too much of mud sticking to it – wash each arvi thoroughly, but make the same effort to wipe it dry it too.
2. Roughly peel each arvi using a knife. The potato peeler won’t work as arvi does not have peels exactly – you need to clear off the hairy exterior using the knife.
3. Cut arvi into thin, stick like pieces. Thin does not mean like a potato wafer, but like a Britannia Nice Time biscuit :). You will notice all cut pieces sticking together with a white glue like thing – but don’t worry about it.
3. Heat oil in a wok/ kadhai. It is better if you use a non-stick pan with a flat base. I use Prestige frying pan.
4. Add in jeera and ajwain and let them crackle and sizzle for a minute. Add haldi and the green chili pieces.
5. Put in the arvi pieces and mix. Use a spoon to separate and spread out the arvi pieces. This will need some effort and time, but it is worth it. All the pieces should be covered evenly with the oil mixture.
6. Let these cook on a sim flame, without covering it with a lid.
7. As it gets cooked, it will turn soft and shiny. Move around the arvi pieces gently as it cooks.
8. After 8 to 10 minutes of cooking, add salt. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of dhania powder liberally and mix.
9. After another 5 minutes, check for the arvi to be cooked, by trying to break any piece with a spoon. If it happens easily, the arvi is cooked. You can sprinkle the garam masala and stop cooking now. However, since we are not here to cook arvi but karaari arvi, continue to cook till you see the thing getting crispy and golden brown.
10. Use your judgment to draw the line – the one between crispy and burnt. Switch off the heat and mix in the lemon juice. Serve.