Quick and easy Bhindi Masala - Spicy stir fried okra

Bhindi masala - Up, close and personal

Bhindi / Okra / Lady's finger or Vendakkai is one of the favourite vegetables of my adulthood. When I was a kid, it was a different story. Like how it happens in many a Tambram family, my folks used to lure me with tales of how eating vendakkai ( the tamil word for Okra) can help me score full marks in Maths! I could never figure out the connection between eating bhindi and maths, unless ofcourse I was doing calculations on the huge number of seeds that came along with it, but hey we didn't argue much as kids did we?

When I read Manisha's post on Okra Kichadi, I realised that this vegetable has surprisingly never starred in any recipe in a lead role in the last one year.

Last evening, I had to catch up with some friends over dinner. So I decided to leave some delicious hot dinner for DH at home. Bhindi masala, rotis and a black grape raita were what made the impromptu menu, made with things that were outermost in my refrigerator.

I was inspired by Inji Pennu's wise words on sharing simple homely recipes for those who would benefit from it.

While this Bhindi masala is simple enough for beginners, the spices give it a Punjabi dhaba- kinda rich taste. Though I like my plain and simple okra stir fried Tamil brahmin style, sans any garlic or onions, this one is a crowd pleaser and most importantly - there is no grinding involved here!

I shall not duplicate Manisha's clear cut instructions on how to avoid the slime while cooking with okra. It's pretty much what I do and if you haven't handled this vegetable before, I suggest that you give it a reading to avoid any slimy disasters in the kitchen.

"I'm cooling off before she puts the lid on me"

Bhindi Masala ( Spicy okra stir fry )
Category - Vegetable , accompaniment to rice or rotis
Time taken - Under 30 minutes
Makes 2 large servings
Source - Own recipe

250 gms okra / bhindi / lady's finger
2 medium onions - halved and sliced thin
1 large tomato - halved and sliced thin

4 cloves garlic
1/2 inch fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder / cayenne pepper
1 green chilli slit and chopped fine
1 सब्जी masala ( I use Everest brand SabjiMasala ) or garam masala
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 -2 tbsp oil

prep work

4 peeled cloves of garlic and 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger - ground in mortar and pestle with a sprinkling of coarse salt

Wash and wipe dry young okras. Slice of tops and tails. Cut into half length wise and then chop in half or thirds as per length of okra. Make 2 cups of sliced okra, keep aside.


In a heavy bottomed or a non-stick pan, heat the oil. Put in the coarse ginger-garlic paste and stir for around a minute until there is no raw smell. Splutter the cumin seeds in oil next and then add the onions.

Stir the onions for a minute along with split green chilli. The okra slices go in next. Keep the flame on HIGH while stirring the whole mix together for 2-3 minutes. Take care that the contents are not allowed to stick to bottom of pan. Going generous with the oil will make sure that the okra is well coated and doesn't stick to the pan.

Once the okra are dark green and shiny, add the tomatoes with all the remaining spice powders with salt.

Keep the flame on medium-low and saute for about 5 minutes until the okra is done. Take care not to overcook okra and you'll have a vibrant green, high-flavour curry, where the taste of okra will still manage to stand out of all the dry spices used.

Okra overload
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Kathleen at Thyme for cooking.

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