EASY BHINDI MASALA (Okra curry)
Bhindi is a very popular Pakistani and Indian vegetable curry. It’s a semi-dry curry made using sauteed okra, caramelized onions, tomatoes and spices that comes together very quickly.
WHAT IS BHINDI MASALA?
Bhindi is the Urdu and Hindi word that translates to okra or lady finger. It’s a delicious vegetarian dish that can be served along with lentils and roti. It’s more on the semi-dry consistency meaning it doesn’t have a gravy.
There are different ways to prepare this dish. We love cooking this dish with enough onions and tomatoes. The recipe is pretty straightforward.
OKRA: Choose okra that is small. Smaller okra will be tender and doesn’t have large seeds. I find good quality okra at local international grocery stores. Water will enhance the sliminess in okra, make sure it’s completely dry before cooking. Make sure the okra is completely dry. Chop the okra into equal bite size pieces, so it cooks evenly. Pre-cooking okra at a very high heat by sauteing will help a lot of the sliminess.
ONIONS: Lots of onions in this recipe. We are going to slowly brown and caramelize the thinly sliced onions. You don’t want the onions to brown too much or else the color of this dish will be very dark.
TOMATOES: Fresh ripe tomatoes give this dish the prefect tang along with the carnalized onions. I never use canned tomatoes for this type of a recipe.
GINGER & GARLIC: Make sure to use fresh. These can be grated or finely minced.
CURRY LEAVES: This is totally unrelated to curry powder. It’s actually little hard to describe the flavor of curry leaves. It’s very unique and distinct flavor and aroma that I think pairs very well with vegetables and lentils. These are purely optional. I only use these if I have them on hand. Usually, they come in a big pack at the local international grocery stores.
EASY BHINDI MASALA (Okra curry)
- 1 lb. okra, washed dried and chopped
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- some fresh curry leaves
- 1-2 green chili, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. dry red chili flakes
- 2 tsp. fresh garlic and ginger paste
- 1 tsp. red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp. salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 tsp. cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1/3 cup +3tbsp neutral oil
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
- Wash and completely dry the okra than chop it. Set aside
- Heat 2-3 tbsp. oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add okra and sauté till golden brown. Try to use a light hand so not to break the okra pieces. Take out and set aside.
- In same pan over medium heat add 1/3 cup oil. Add cumin and mustard seeds, let these splutter, then add onions, green chili and curry leaves. Let the onions caramelized, this can take about 7 minutes.
- Add red chili flakes, garlic and ginger, sauté for about 20 seconds.
- Add tomatoes and all powder spices, mix well. Keep flame on medium, cover pan and let the tomatoes cook down that can take about 6 minutes. If mixture is sticking to pan add few tablespoons of water.
- Once the tomatoes have cooked down, extra water has dried, some oil is separating from this onion tomato mixture, add okra back in. Using light hand mix well. Cover pan and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.