What is a “Lady’s Finger”?

What is a “Lady’s Finger”? In my travels, I’ve come across at least five different definitions, each rather distinct, and I’ve been wondering how many more are out there.

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1. A lady’s finger. An actual finger. Really.

Okra, bhindi, or ladies' fingers. (Image: Bhaskaranaidu, Wikimedia Commons)

Okra, bhindi, or ladies’ fingers. (Image: Bhaskaranaidu, Wikimedia Commons)

2. Okra – for some reason these healthy, rather odd-looking sprouts are called “Ladies’ Fingers” in the subcontinent. Bindi masala, anyone?

Dolma, or "Ladies' Fingers" (Image: Lesya Dolyk)

Dolma, or “Ladies’ Fingers” (Image: Lesya Dolyk)

3. Dolma, or stuffed vine leaves, are rendered in English as “Ladies’ Fingers” in a whole bunch of countries, from Greece to Lebanon and Egypt. Slimy and cold, I don’t want to know where these fingers have been.

Oh look, more fingers! (Image: Mark Gallagher, Wikimedia Commons)

Oh look, more fingers! (Image: Mark Gallagher, Wikimedia Commons)

4. Baklava – not the diamond shaped ones, but the long, wrinkled ones. Perhaps “elderly ladies fingers” or “dehydrated ladies’ fingers” would be more appropriate?

Lady Finger, Hunza, Pakistan

Lady Finger, Hunza, Pakistan

5. This mountain in the Hunza Valley of northern Pakistan. At 6000 metres it towers above Karimabad, but is often shrouded in cloud. In the local Burushaski language it’s called Bublimotin, but many local businesses have named themselves after the English name for this striking rock spire.

Lady Finger hotel Hunza

How many other meanings of “Lady’s Finger” do you know? Comment below!


Comments (2)

  • Andrew Boland Reply

    must be a unique place to stay! What inspired this post?

    June 22, 2016 at 11:07 pm
    • Tim Blight Reply

      “Lady’s finger” is such a common name for okra in the subcontinent, and I had always thought that was weird, considering they don’t really look like fingers! I had also wondered why dolma were called “ladies’ fingers”. So when I arrived in Karimabad, and I saw that mountain (and a whole bunch of hotels) with that name – I figured I’d have to write about it!!

      As for the hotel, I don’t know if people actually sleep in that tent on the roof! I think it’s just a hotel, with camping in the gardens… I wasn’t actually staying at this one! Thanks, as always, for reading 🙂

      June 25, 2016 at 5:33 am

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