Indian delights: Bhindi masala

October 24, 2013

Bhindi Masala

As a kid, the only time I had tried okra was in gumbo, where I admitted it was needed as a thickener but refused to ever actually eat the stuff upon tasting it, and once fried, which I also wasn’t a fan of. So one can imagine when my now husband brought home takeout Indian food, I certainly wasn’t chomping at the bit to try the bhindi masala he picked up for himself. However, I decided to, and it was this dish that made me like okra. Strike that, it made me LOVE okra. The recipe couldn’t be simpler, so I encourage you to give it a try while there’s still okra to be had!

Bhindi Masala
Serves 4

Olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound okra, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 lemon
1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 – 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt & pepper
Cilantro, to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, add a bit of olive oil, around 1 or 1 1/2 tablespoons, enough to coat the bottom of the pan, and add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the mixture starts to pop, you’re ready to cook.

Add the okra, and season with salt, and a good sprinkle of the ground coriander and cumin (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each – you can use less, taste part way through, and adjust seasoning). Saute, adding the squeeze of lemon after the seasonings have been absorbed. Continue sauteing until the okra becomes tender. Taste and adjust seasoning as these become tender. Once seasoned well and tender, remove the okra from the skillet (reserving/keeping the oil in the skillet – you’re going to keep using it) and place it in a serving bowl. Keep warm.

Next up – onions. Add a bit of oil to the pan if needed. Saute the onions, seasoning with salt. Get these nice and tender, and once they’re tender, remove them from the pan, adding on top of the okra. Keep warm.

Finally, we get to the tomatoes. Again, add oil to skillet if needed, add tomatoes, season with salt, and cook until they just begin to break down. Add to the serving bowl, on top of okra and onions. Keep warm until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, stir the layers of vegetables together, and top with a bit of cilantro if you like. Serve with rice or an Indian flatbread.

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9 Responses to “Indian delights: Bhindi masala”

  1. Cooking this tomorrow…

  2. Enjoy! It is so good I know you’ll want to inhale every last bit of it!

  3. Can’t wait. And then, stuff zucchini on Tuesday.

  4. Courtney, here’s the deal…I quit working full time last month, and have taken over cooking dinner, something that Kevin has done ever since our children were in their late teens. So, I have been looking for very healthy, easy, mostly veggie recipes. All of yours meet those criteria. Happy me!

  5. Awesome! I would much rather cook dinner than go to work any day 🙂 Glad to be of help!

  6. As your Indian Sis in law, I cook this at least once a week here in Bangalore, and its one of my favourites too. But i like your take on it – layering the three veggies each at a time. We jumble it all up together! Perhaps your suggestion will have better visual appeal!

  7. I still jumble mine up, Bhanu, just at the very end. Leela showed me how to make this, and she cooked the veggies one at a time, I assume so they all cook to their perfect tenderness. Do you cook all your veggies in a jumble?

  8. I fry the onions first, then add the tomatoes and then the okras, and then stir them all up together , cover and cook on low flame till they are done! This way it can get a little mushy finally, so i guess the other way of cooking each by turn would give it a better texture and definitely more visual appeal I guess. I need to try that and see for myself.

  9. courtney, i cant believe that you still make this dish. Appa loves it too. Have a great Diwali. Amma