all photographs appearing on this site, www.my-halflife.com have been taken by me, pradeep jeganathan. they can not be reproduced in any form, with out my written permission. please leave a comment on a post, if you wish to use a photograph, i will get back to you.
this was an unusual fight of fancy, that's worked out, in words of the critter who lazes around near the bartop of the elibank road apartment, to be a 'winner.' dunno what other will think, though. opinion of those who haven't tasted it, seems more negative than positive though, since many people say they hate bandakka (lady's fingers or okra). I love it really -- I can't think why its so unloved.
The inspiration came from a ham wrapped roasted fennel root, I had in De Kas, Amsterdam, last year, but I don't know if you get fennel root in Sri Lanka and you certainly don't get that stunning italian ham, prosciutto, here in your local food city. So, I went my own way.
To make this, get a fist full of tender bandakka, slices off the ends so that you have three inches peices or so ( a little longer is fine), score the edges set aside. take as many strips of back bacon (I tried this with streaky, and it wasn't as good), as you have bandakka peices, 6, say, and soak with a bit of kithul treacle, enough to cover them, sprinkling with fresh black pepper.
take wad of store bought flaky pastry, (in every super market freezer, for rs. 100/=), and roll it out, following the instructions. basically, you need to sprinkle it with flour, and get it really thin. wrap a peice of bandakka in the treacle infused bacon, then wrap in pastry. you need a beaten egg in a separate dish, to seal the edges of the pastry wrap, and the coat the whole wrap. (that's a standard thing with pastry.) just roll the wrap around, in the egg, and place it on baking tray, on a oiled foil insert or a mesh shelf. I'm so behind in my baking, I don't even have a mesh thing! I understand that silicon sheets are the way to go now, and I shall be looking for them.
(a raw okra end & a stalk, roasted with bacon wrap, with out pastry)
Bake the wraps for 20-5 mins, turning once, in the top 1/3 of the oven at 400F. Let it cool, for it will be super hot. There are three textures as you bite in -- (cut the wraps, cross ways into 2 or 3 for a quicker, easier bite) -- the soft, crusty, buttery pastry, the smoking, salty bacon, and then the soft, stringy, super moist bandakka, which is slightly sweet and sharp from the kithul & blackpepper.
i've tried it plain, and with my very own tomato cream sauce, which I've blogged about before. Its super awesome, party because if you grew up craving chicken pies, like I did, this recalls it in the first bite, but then is completely different.
Pradeep Jeganathan was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he lives and works. He began to cook when he discovered, as an undergraduate in the US, that MacDonald's was terrible. He continued, when he realized that girls like a guy who knows to cook. After he took up photography as a hobby, he got into shooting food. He has eaten a lot of cold meals since, but he hasn't stopped, because taking a photograph, helps him remember what he's eaten. (He eats a lot, and some times, he forgets). His food photos have been published in a variety of international and Sri Lankan print magazines and web sites and his food photo/recipe columns have appeared Zero77 & Spectrum ("Achcharu") and will soon appear in Ink. He's been a featured chef on ETV's The Home Gourmet, his cooking and food photos have been the subject of a feature article in Sri Lanka's Sunday Times; his food blog has also been featured in Femina.in -- the Indian women's magazine.