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.
- 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.