Bhindi Masala – Indian-Spiced Okra with Tomatoes

I have a small repertoire of Indian recipes that I can make pretty well at home with results that I think are comparable to a decent Indian restaurant. This is almost entirely thanks to two websites, Manjula’s Kitchen and Veg Recipes of India. If you have any interest in vegetarian Indian cooking these are amazing resources. Manjula’s Kitchen is a little more approachable for the American cook and has a lot of videos, which I like, but both have reliably solid recipes.

The last two weeks of our CSA have had okra. Some people, Beth included, dislike okra for the slightly slimy texture. [Beth note:  there’s nothing “slight” about it.  Bleh.]  I personally love okra so maybe it’s an acquired taste. I turned to Veg Recipes of India for some recommendations on how to make bindhi masala, a spiced okra dish. I ended up significantly modifying (and veganizing) their recipe with delicious results.

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Bhindi Masala

Modified (somewhat significantly) from Veg Recipes of India

Serves 2-4 as a side dish

  • 1 bag of okra (~350 grams)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 medium or 2 small onions, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (or 4 supermarket cloves)
  • 1-3 chili peppers diced, depending on heat
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Wash the okra and dry it completely on a kitchen towel. Drying the okra will help minimize sliminess in the final dish. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the okra and stir to distribute the oil. Allow the okra to cook for about 6-8 minutes, stirring every 2 or 3 minutes. Don’t stir constantly or you will encourage the dreaded slime! One the okra is cooked through remove to a plate.

If the pan is dry, add one additional tablespoon oil. Once the oil is hot add the bay leaf and stir for 30 seconds. Add onion, ginger and garlic. Saute the mixture about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are transparent. Add the dry spices and cook for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the spices.

Add the tomatoes, chili pepper, cardamom, cinnamon stick and salt along with 1/4 cup of water. Cook the tomato-onion mixture at a medium simmer for about 4 minutes. Add the okra back to the pan and cook for 4 more minutes.

Serve over basmati rice.

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