Bhindi – also known as okra or lady fingers or gumbo – is a bit of a weird fruit (yes its a fruit, not a vegetable – because it has seeds). It looks like a green bean grew fur and decided grow hexagonal instead of circular. It also has this sticky almost gummy interior that can make it a bit annoying to chop. The flavour is also a bit unique. I can’t compare it to anything else. But it is not overwhelming and I have grown up eating and loving it.
I love okra in all its forms, but especially fried or stir fried like in this bhindi masala recipe.
Frying the okra before cooking them in this bhindi masala helps to break down the stickiness and helps to bring out the flavour of the okra. Another option to get rid of the sticky-ness is to oven roast them ahead of time. I’ve also tried lemon juice which some people swear by, but I find the best and most effective is to just fry them in a bid of oil to cook off the stickiness.
Just a quick toss of your cooked okra in a very simple basic tomato garlic base with a few spices and you have the most addictive quick and easy bhindi masala that can be eaten in so many ways.
In my family this is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. As a side, or as a main with a bowl of rice or some roti. Bhindi is good anytime. I love it.
Do you like okra? How do you like to cook it?
Quick & Easy Bhindi Masala
- 2.5 cups bhindi (okra or lady fingers) – about 1/2 lbs (225 gms)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 green chilli
- 3 cloves garlic – crushed
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- oil – for frying
Prepare the Bhindi (Okra)
- Alternative – oven instruction see recipe notes below.
- Wash and chop the tops & ends off the okra and either slice into small dice or lengthwise (depends on your preference – both ways works really well in this recipe).
- Heat a large pan or wok with about 1 inch of oil for frying.
- Cook the okra in batches, making sure not to over crowd the pan. Cook till the colour starts to get a deep green and the edges start to turn golden brown. They should just be starting to crisp up. About 5 minutes a batch.
- Remove from the hot oil and strain in a strainer or on a paper towel lined plate to help absorb the excess oil.
Make the Masala
- Dice one onion, one green chilli and two tomatoes.
- Heat a large pan or wok on medium heat with about 2 tbsp of oil (you can use the same pan you cooked the okra in, just pour out some of the oil if there is too much in the pan).
- Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir fry the onions for 5-10 minutes till they start to turn golden brown and caramelize (this is key to giving the masala its flavour – so don't rush this part!).
- Add the garlic and the green chillies. Stir fry a minute or two to get fragrant and cook the ingredients.
- Add the spices – 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp red chilli and 1 tsp salt. Stir fry about 30 sec to 1 minute to allow the spices to warm up and become fragrant.
- Add the diced tomatoes and turn the heat to medium low.
- Allow to simmer, stirring often, till the tomatoes start to release their water and breakdown. About 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked okra in and cook for another 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine. Taste and adjust for salt and spice level.
- Serve warm with rice or just by itself. Makes a great snack or meal.