Ever had okra? My guess is it was in its’ fried version. We’ve seen a lot of different fried okra recipes and side dishes in restaurants. That is THE only time in North Dakota that I’ve seen something for okra. The first time I was introduced to bhindi masala, which is Indian curried okra, was back when my husband and I first started dating.
Growing up, bhindi masala was always his favorite. As I meet more of his family, they all know this. The first time I tried it, he brought a bowl of it back from visiting his parents. Somehow it made it through the airport and everything. Back then, I was rather new to Indian food. Chicken tikka masala was my bread and butter. Even though I wasn’t really into the dry sabzi dishes, which are vegetable based dishes, I gave it a try. It did not disappoint.
The first trip we took to visit my now in-laws, they made this bhindi masala, and I could see why my husband loves it so much. It is even better fresh. It became a treat each time we would go visit. Unfortunately the restaurants in Fargo don’t do justice to this Indian curried okra, so we resort to making it at home. Luckily, after we got married, my in-laws spent a couple of days with us and showed me how to make it at home. Of course, we don’t have all the typical kitchen utensils of a typical Indian household, so there were some differences. I’ve played around with this recipe and this most recent batch was the best, which is why I’m sharing with you.
Why you’ll love this bhindi masala recipe?
- It’s authentic. It’ll be like you’re getting food from an experienced Indian cook. We love this one.
- Vegan. Without modification this dish is vegan. Plant based and delicious!
- Super healthy – other than a bit of cooking oil, this dish is entirely based with vegetables and spices/herbs. No processed grains or sugar.
- Delicious? If you’ve got doubts about Indian curried okra but like Indian food, give this bhindi masala a try. I never thought I’d like it and now it’s my favorite Indian dish.
- You don’t need any special pots or pans to make it. Many Indian recipes are written for specific types of pot or pan, but this one you can make in a regular pan or dutch oven.
What you’ll need to make this bhindi masala recipe?
- Okra – the meat and potatoes of this dish.
- Onion – I was told the ratio of onion to okra should be 1:1. It is a LOT of onion, but you need it.
- Tomato – can’t have a good masala without tomato.
- Cumin seeds – so much aroma. Don’t skip these.
- Turmeric – flavor, color, and antioxidants. Skip the turmeric drinks and eat Indian food.
- Coriander cumin powder – again, flavor and aroma!
- Red chili powder – flavor and aroma.
- Cayenne pepper – turn up the heat.
- Garam masala – this is basically curry powder. Great mix of flavor and aroma.
- Salt and pepper – all about flavor enhancement.
- Kasuri methi – flavor and armoa. As with most spices in Indian cooking.
- Amchur powder (dried mango powder) – flavor.
- Lemon Juice – helps reduce the stickiness of okra.
- Olive oil – you don’t want it all sticking to the pan.
Tips and Tricks
How do I get my dish drier?
If your bhindi masala dish appears to have liquid in the bottom of the pan, leave it cook longer. The longer it’s over heat, the more liquid will evaporate. You’ll need about 30-40 minutes for frozen okra, where fresh only needs about 10 minutes.
I don’t have a few spices, what do I do?
If you’re missing garam masala – substitute curry powder. No amchur powder, you can skip it but the flavor might be a bit less sweet. No fenugreek leaves, crush up seeds or use fresh. If not you can also omit these, but the flavor profile of the dish changes slightly.
I don’t like spicy food, how should I change this?
First off, do not add any cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper adds A LOT of heat to a dish so add with caution. Also do not add any chilis. Many Indian dishes use serrano peppers in them, but they are also spicy so do not use.
What do I eat this with?
Most north Indian dishes are consumed with some sort of flatbread (roti, chapati, or naan). You can eat it with rice, but it is much better with bread! Try out this easy roti recipe.
- .75 kg Fresh Okra, chopped into 1″ slices
- 2 Red Onions, sliced
- 2 Tomatos, diced
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Ginger Paste
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 ½ tsp Coriander Cumin Powder
- 2 tsp Red Chili Powder
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- ¾ tsp Amchur Powder
- pinch Kasuri Methi (Fenugreek Leaves Dried)
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- Wash and dry fresh okra.
- Chop off ends of okra. Slice into 1″ pieces.
- Heat half olive oil in a pan. Add okra and brown for about 10 minutes. Halfway through, add lemon juice. This helps reduce the stickiness from the okra seeds.
- While okra is browning, slice up the onion and dice the tomato.
- Once okra is browned, remove from pan. In the same pan, add the remaining olive oil.
- Add cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle (about 10 seconds).
- Mix in the onion and any serrano pepper. Brown until translucent (about 7 minutes).
- Stir in garlic and ginger. Allow to cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
- Mix in spices and allow them to become fragrant. This should make your house smell pretty good (also like an Indian restaurant).
- Pour in tomatoes and mix into the onion and spice mixture. Allow to cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the okra. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered. This dish should be pretty dry, so if there is any liquid at the bottom of the pan, allow it to cook off. If using frozen okra, this step takes about 30 minutes.
- Serve along with bread of choice (roti or chapati, naan, or other flatbread).
Did you make this recipe? Post your photos to Instagram and tag @cassclaycooking. Let me know what you thought in the comments below.