Bhindi Masala (Okra Curry)

Bhindi (okra, also spelled “bhendi”) is a really popular ingredient in Indian, North African, and Middle Eastern cuisines. This masala recipe uses basic ingredients most westerners have on hand in their pantries, and it is a nice change from the usual American Southern-style deep fried and  gumbo preparations.  Full disclosure: I prepared this vegan dish with jasmine rice as a main course for lunch.  The flavors were great, but Rami and I were both pretty hungry a few hours after eating.  I recommend adding kidney beans, chopped cooked chicken,  or tofu to this dish if you want to serve it as an entree.

Bhindi Masala
1 lb okra, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ginger powder or 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. turmeric
1 pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tsp. salt
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped or 16 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbs. water, as necessary
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped (optional. Good, but not worth buying a whole bunch at the market just for this recipe.)

Rinse, dry, and chop the okra. Put a few paper towels on a plate near your work station and then heat oil in a large frying pan.  Once oil shimmers, add okra to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that all pieces brown evenly.  Meanwhile, prepare other vegetables.  When okra is tender, use a slotted spoon to move it to the paper towel-lined plate.  Add onions, garlic, and spices to the oily pan, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.  Once garlic is tender, add peppers and continue to stir. Add a little water if needed to keep sufficient moisture in the pan.  As peppers become tender, add tomatoes and additional water if needed. Stir and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes.  Finally, add okra into mixture.  Serve with rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

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5 responses to “Bhindi Masala (Okra Curry)

  1. How much bell pepper did you use? I only got green ones in my local box, so do you think it’d do ok without the sweetness?

  2. I used 2 small red bell peppers in the version above. However, 2-3 green bell peppers would be great in the recipe. I don’t think you’ll miss the sweetness, but watch out– I cooked with a few of this week’s local box bell peppers tonight and they were SPICY. Just try a nibble when you chop the peppers and adjust the amount you use accordingly! Good luck!

  3. Funny. After finding your blog for the first time, I did a search on okra curry and found you again! I made this tonight – changed your recipe slightly (used Trader Joe’s light coconut milk) and my kids ate it right up. For the pepper, I used one mild green chile. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  4. holy YUM! that okra looks fantastic. i LOVE LOVE LOOOOOVE your blog. makes me wanna cook fresh veggies!

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