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Bhindi Massaledarh
(Stuffed okra)

Preparation and cooking time: 45 min

7 oz (200 g) paneer
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 lb (450 g) fresh okra
3 fresh green chillies
3 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
3 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida

Wrap a piece of cheesecloth around the paneer and gently squeeze out most of the water. Remove the cheesecloth, put the paneer into a bowl, and set it aside. Grind the cumin, ginger, chillies, and coriander leaves into a fine paste in a mortar and pestle or electric grinder. Mix the paste, along with the turmeric and salt, into the paneer. Knead it into a smooth dough. Cover it with a moist cloth and set it aside.

Wash the okra pods and pat them dry with paper towels. Trim off their heads and lower tips. Slit each pod lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way to the ends or through to the opposite side. Gently pry back one side of the cut okra with your thumb, then the other side, carefully loosening the pod from the seeds in the center. Stuff each pod with just enough paneer mixture to fill it. Take care not to force the edges too wide, otherwise it will break in half.

Heat the ghee in a wide saucepan. When it begins to smoke, toss in the asafoetida. Add the stuffed okra pods, carefully placing them with the stuffing facing upward. Reduce the heat to very low and cook covered for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and turn the pods stuffing-side down. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes more until they become golden-brown.

Lift the pods out gently and serve them on a warm platter.