Bhendi Ambula Khatta | Sweet & Sour Okra Cooked in Dried Up Mango Pieces

I know many of you would like me to go straight to the recipe. However,  I would like to speak a little bit about the most popular spice mix of Odisha and also West Bengal. It is called Pancha Phutana or Panch Phoran. The spice mix actually contains raw seeds instead of its powder form. It not only gives a nice crackling sound when put in hot oil, it also gives that  nice pickling aroma while cooking in mustard oil which is the most preferred and easily available oil in the eastern part of India. So what is the spice mix: It has equal quantities of Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Fennel Seeds , Fenugreek Seeds and Nigella Seeds . People generally reduce the amount of fenugreek seeds because it has a bitter taste. Try not to as it has great medicinal properties.

Black Mustard seeds are often used. However if you are not used to the pungent taste of it, use yellow mustard instead.

Also, like people use many souring agents like tamarind, kokum or Lemon Juice, people in the east use dried mango also known as Ambula, a little piece of it can be easily found in the pictures above.
Since, the climate of Odisha is extremely suitable of mangoes, there is usually an ample produce of it which house hold ladies prefer to dry it up to be later used in curries and rasam.

Moving on to the recipe, Okra is a humble vegetable which is loved by most people including those who hate eating vegetables. It can easily chopped and instantly gets cooked, thereby, saving a lot of cooking and preparation time.

Now, how can washing and cutting Okra be an easy task. Well, I generally keep the Okra soaked in water for at least 15 to 20 minutes to remove any traces of dust and then drain excess water using a strainer. This is what I do just before going to bed. I let the okra sit in the strainer and leave it over night. Next day, when water has dried up completely, I chop them in batches. This saves me a lot of time not to wipe each Okra individually.

Sweet and Sour Okra  is an Odisha flair which has the sweetness of Jaggery or Sugar and sourness of Ambula (dried mango) . It is usually prepared as an accompaniment instead of pickle.
It is not a dish which you will ever find in a restaurant. However, if you happen to be from Odisha, this is a very popular or rather common dish of every household.

It is a mild dish and is just delicious . Give it a try !!!

What You Will Need:

300 grams okra cleaned , head & tail chopped off.
Cut the Okra into 1 inch of quarter inch long pieces.
Mustard Oil about 1 tbsp
1 tsp panch phoron/pancha phutana spice mix
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Red chili powder 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar - 2 tsp or Jaggery 3 tsp 
1 dry red chili
Ambula pieces (1 or 2)
1 big chopped onion 
3 to 4 garlic cloves crushed roughly
A spring of curry leaves

Steps To Make:

Heat mustard oil in a pan till smoking point on high flame.
Add curry leaves and let it crackle too.
Reduce the flame and then add pancha phutana to it. It crackles and that's the time to add chopped onions and crushed garlic.
Once Onion turns brown, add Okra and cook on high for 4 to 5 minutes.
Now Add about 2 cups water , Ambula Salt and Sugar to taste
Add red chili powder and turmeric powder , dry red chili and bring it to boil.
Once, water has reduced and Okra has cooked nicely, its time to switch off the flame, transfer it to a plate and enjoy with a plate of rice and dal.


  1. Nice recipe with ladies finger...havent tried it out yet this way but am sure must be very delicious and tastes well with roti...

  2. Dahi bhindi... I hope I never had it before.

    The name appears known... but I havent tried it.

    i am not sure where I will get the dry mango powder... :(

  3. Wow dahi bhindi looks yummyilicious Soma, thanks a lot for sending this prefect dish to Think spice glad yaar!