Bhindi masala is both delicious and healthy!
I get asked for vegetarian recipes all the time and bhindi masala has to be one of the most requested. There’s good reason for this. Cooking with bhindi (okra) in English can be a bit daunting but if you follow my advice below, you find it’s actually quite easy to get spectacular results.
About this bhindi masala recipe…
There are of course many different bhindi masala recipes all over Indian. They differ from region to region. This bhindi masala is done Punjabi style.
It’s a healthy curry prepared with okra, ground and whole spices, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Although it is a popular side dish, this bhindi masala can be served as a main too.
What exactly is bhindi masala?
Bhindi is okra. Masala means mixture in Hindi. So what you are getting with this curry is a mixture of okra and many delicious spices and fresh ingredients that make it the amazing vegetarian curry that it is.
As curries go, this is such a quick and easy vegetarian curry to prepare. This okra curry is hugely popular in northern India as okra is a vegetable that grows well and is available though out the year.
You can enjoy this veggi curry over white rice or wrapped into a hot chapatti or naan. If you are planning an Indian veggie feast, this one definitely needs to be on your menu.
Why is it difficult to get okra right?
One of the things I learned on my numerous trips to India is that when cooking bhindi masala, you need to prepare and cook the okra correctly or it will not impress!
If you break a piece of okra in half, you will find that it is quite slimy. This slimy substance is called mucilage. This slimy mucilage can actually ruin a dish. You need to get rid of that mucilage when cooking with okra or your okra dishes will be gooey and sticky. Yuck! And I do mean yuck!
It’s easy to prepare okra for cooking…
First you need to wash and then dry your okra so that there is no sign of moisture on the exterior. I usually wash the okra and then salt it a little. this draws out some of the natural mucilage. Then I wash it all again and dry thoroughly.
Then cut into bite sized chunks and fry over medium heat in a little oil. This needs to be done immediately as if you let the okra sit too long, that mucilage will begin to creep our again. Once the frying is done, you can carry on with the remainder of the recipe without any gooey trouble. DO NOT add salt directly to the frying okra! That too can cause slimy issues. Salt is only added to other ingredients and to season the curry right before serving.
Is mucilage bad for me?
No! The funny thing is, it’s the mucilage that is one of the things that makes okra so good for you. It’s full of healthy, fibre and protein. You just don’t want excess amounts or your curry will be very healthy but not very good.
How To Make Bhindi Masala - A Stir Fried Okra And Onion Curry
- 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
- 450g (Lbs.) Fresh okra (small and tender, chopped small circular discs)
- 1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp. methi (fenugreek) seeds
- 1/4 tsp. kalonji (onion) seeds
- 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp. coriander seeds
- 3 dried whole red chili
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
- 2 - 3 green bird's eye chilies, finely chopped
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon mango powder
- Handful grated coconut
- 1 fresh lemon
- 1 teaspoon plus ½ tsp. (one for cooking, half for garnish)
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat. Stir in the chopped okra and fry until tender and beginning to char a little. About five minutes should do the job. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Now add the mustard seeds to the pan and when they begin to crackle, stir in the fenugreek seeds, onion seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and dried chillies. Stir and then add the chopped onion and fry for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
- Now add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle with salt and stir in the mango powder, coconut, green chillies and chopped tomatoes. Bring this all to a simmer and then add the cooked okra. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and serve, garnished with more coconut.
- Enjoy with white rice or wrapped in chapattis or naans.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 1196mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 11g
I hope you enjoy this bhindi masala curry recipes. If you do give it a try, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
Wednesday 26th of January 2022
• Pickling spices? • One teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon for garnish Looking to try this recipe as I have many of your others but this ingredients list is a bit confusing to me re the above lines also coconut mentioned in method but not on ingredients list can you help with these problems thanks.
Monday 7th of February 2022
@Dan Toombs, Hi Dan I wasnt sure if the list below picking spices was an addition or the actual spice list Now to try the recipe Thank you.
Thursday 27th of January 2022
Hi Matt The pickling spices are as listed in the ingredient list so mix them together and use as the recipe states. I have amended the list of ingredients to include grated coconut so thanks for noticing that. Just use a handful or so. Thanks Dan
Wednesday 9th of January 2019
Hmmm this one was a little unpalatable, and I usually like okra (but leave mine in large pieces to reduce the "stickiness") With large amount of garlic/ginger and the okra sap, mine ended up being quite "mooshy" and unappealing although the flavour was nice and the okra still firm. I would recommend the flash frying technique before adding to the rest of the ingredients. Also the method talks about adding coconut with the green chili but there's no mention of what type of coconut (fresh, oil, desiccated, cream/milk?) in the recipe. Not sure I'd brave it again - but love your other dishes. (We're having a Curry Guy cook up for dinner tonight!)
Monday 21st of January 2019
Thanks for getting in touch. Looks like I put this recipe on my blog way back in 2012 and to be honest, I can't remember making it. From my intro text it looks like I enjoyed it though. I'll have to give it another go soon and see what I think.
Sunday 6th of October 2013
Wondering how this would work using the increasingly fashionable, healthy and more widely stocked coconut oil (hard in cool temps and liquid when somewhere hot) - especially as she garnishes with coconut. Goes further than other oils, so use very sparingly.
New to this site (via a retweet I received). Would like to see more vegetarian options and your use of coconut oil as a frying/flavouring medium.
Wednesday 25th of July 2012
Please display the recipe for Kiran's Bhindi Masala.
Thanks and regards
Sunday 22nd of July 2012
For anyone who can't get fresh okra, or just wants some for a stand-by, my Indian shop sells bags of frozen okra. I was very dubious but had to try it when they had no fresh, and it is very acceptable.