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Hispanic Heritage Month Recipes

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Each year, from September 15 to October 15 Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. 2021 was especially significant because it was the 200th anniversary of Costa Rican Independence from Spain. Here are a few traditional & unique Latin American recipes you may want to add to your menu: 

Okra Curd Salad - Bendakaya Perugu Pachadi

This year we have been getting a steady crop of Okra, especially after the past few heated weeks. Okra is a 'love it or leave it' kind of vegetable. I think a lot of that has to do with how it was introduced. The first time I had Okra was in a really bad shrimp gumbo, and I was less than impressed and not particularly eager to try Okra again. After a good while, I was reintroduced to it by Kishore via his Okra fry. His version was spicy, tasty, and not gooey and gummy at all! Just like any other vegetable, it takes time to learn how to cook it properly to maximize it's flavor. 
This dish is called 'Bendakaya Perugu Pachad' in Telugu. 'Bendakaya' means Okra, 'Perugu' means Yogurt, and 'Pachadi' means Side Dish. It is a great quick vegetable side dish that allows the fresh flavor-fulness of the Okra to shine through. 

When we have a busy day and are too tired to really cook; dinner is some variation of rice, pickle (Most often shrimp), and vegetable poriyal or pachadi.

The quick cooking method keeps the okra al dente, while the spices, and cilantro add extra layers of flavor to this crisp cool dish!

Here's my recipe for Okra Curd Salad:


1/2 Cup Okra, Sliced
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Urad Dal
1 tsp Bengal Gram
1 Green Chili, Chopped
1/2 tsp Asafoetida powder
4-5 Curry Leaves
1/2 Cup Yogurt
1 tsp Ghee
A handful of chopped Cilantro
Salt to taste


1. Heat 1 tsp Ghee in a saucepan, than add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, bengal gram, asafoetida, green chili, and curry leaves. When the mustards starts popping add the okra, stir well, reduce heat. Cook till tender and bright green, about ~3 minutes. Let the Okra cool.

2. Add the yogurt, salt, and cilantro and stir. Serve room temperature or cool.



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