Bhindi Masala

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This is a delicious bhindi masala recipe that I often make and is a punjabi recipe of a semi-dry spiced okra curry – best savored with some soft phulka or roti. Gluten-free, vegan and healthy.

bhindi masala in a white bowl on a off white napkin on a white background

About this recipe

“Bhindi” is the Hindi word for okra and “Masala” here refers to a sautéed base of aromatics like onions, garlic, ginger with the usual tomatoes, spices and herbs.

So there you get the meaning of Bhindi Masala – okra cooked in a spiced tangy base of onions, tomatoes and ground spices. The spice combination used here is often added to many Punjabi recipes.

Long time ago I had a bhindi masala in a restaurant and it was fabulous. This bhindi masala recipe replicates the bhindi masala that is served in restaurants.

I usually add kasuri methi to my recipe. Kasuri methi are dried fenugreek leaves which have a lovely aroma. Adding kasuri methi is optional, but if you want a restaurant style bhindi masala, then try to add kasuri methi.

Bhindi or okra is our favorite veggie. We usually prefer dry or semi dry version of any sabzi with okra.

Most of the Indian recipes that I make with okra are easy, healthy and simple to make. So is this bhindi masala recipe. If like us, okra is your favorite veggie, then do try these Okra Recipes

How to make Bhindi Masala

Preparing Okra

1. Rinse 250 grams bhindi (okra) well in water using a colander or strainer. Spread them on a tray or plate and let them dry on their own under the fan. You can even wipe dry each bhindi with a clean kitchen towel.

bhindi on a steel plate for making bhindi masala recipe

2. When they are completely dry, then chop each bhindi in one or two inch pieces.

chopped bhindi on a chopping board

Sautéing bhindi

3. In a heavy kadai or pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil and add the chopped okra. You can use any neutral tasting oil. I mostly use sunflower oil or peanut oil.

bhindi added in a cast-iron kadai

4. Mix chopped bhindi very well with the oil.

bhindi mixed in oil

5. Now sauté bhindi stirring often on a low to medium-low heat.

bhindi or okra being sautéed

6. Sauté bhindi until they are tender and cooked. You should see a few blisters or golden spots on the chopped okra. Remove the sautéed okra and set aside.

Taste the sautéed okra. The crunchiness should not be there. Instead you should taste a nicely softened bhindi. This means that they are well cooked. 

Frying or sautéing okra in oil minimizes the sliminess and stickiness in this bhindi masala recipe.

sautéed bhindi

7. Remove the cooked bhindi in a plate and keep aside. Also chop onions, tomatoes, green chilies and keep aside. Crush ginger and garlic in mortar-pestle to get ginger-garlic paste.

sautéed bhindi set aside in a plate for making bhindi masala

Sautéing onions, tomatoes, spices

8. In the same kadai or pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1 medium sized chopped onion (⅓ cup chopped onions).

onions added in the cast-iron wok

9. Mix and begin to sauté the onions on a low to medium flame.

onion being sautéed.

10. Sauté onions until they become translucent.

onions turned translucent

11. Then add 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste.

ginger-garlic paste added

12. Stir and sauté until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

ginger-garlic paste being sautéed

13. Next add 2 medium sized chopped tomatoes (1 cup chopped tomatoes).

chopped tomatoes added

14. Mix well and begin to sauté tomatoes on a low to medium-low heat. If the tomato mixture becomes too dry and starts sticking to the pan, add a few splashes of water – about 3 to 4 tablespoons water. Mix well and continue to sauté.

tomatoes being sautéed

15. Sauté tomatoes until they become soft and mushy.

tomatoes softened

16. Now add ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and ½ teaspoon garam masala powder.

ground spices added

17. Next continue to add ½ teaspoon fennel powder (ground fennel – optional), 1 teaspoon coriander powder and ½ teaspoon dry mango powder (amchur powder).

If you do not have dry mango powder, add ½ teaspoon dried pomegranate seeds powder (anardana powder).

You can add lemon juice, but I suggest to squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of the bhindi masala while eating it. Adding lemon juice directly to the dish can make it very tangy.

more ground spices added

18. Mix the spices very well and sauté for a couple of seconds.

ground spices mixed evenly

Making Bhindi Masala

19. Add the sautéed bhindi.

sautéed okra added

20. Season with salt as per taste.

salt added on top of sautéed okra

21. Mix very well.

okra mixed evenly

22. Now add ½ tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) which has been crushed. If you do not have dried fenugreek leaves, then simply skip them.

dried fenugreek leaves added

23. Stir the whole mixture well. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring in between. Check the taste of bhindi masala and add more of the spice powders and salt if required.

bhindi masala ready

24. Lastly, add 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves. Mix again. You can also chopped mint leaves if you do not have coriander leaves (cilantro).

chopped coriander leaves added to bhindi masala

25. Serve Bhindi Masala hot or warm.

bhindi masala in a white bowl on a off white napkin on a white background

Serving Suggestions

Like all other dry bhindi recipes, even this bhindi masala is best served with soft phulka or chapati or paratha or naan and cucumber raita or veg raita by side. They also go well as a side dish with some dal-rice or any rice-curry combo.

Bhindi masala also can be packed in tiffin box or lunch box with roti or paratha.

Tips

How to make non slimy okra?

Prepping okra

  1. Rinsing: After rinsing okra in water, drain all the water completely.
  2. Drying: Then wipe each okra pods completely dry with a clean kitchen towel or cotton napkin. You can even dry okra pods by spreading them in a large plate/tray and then drying them under the fan.
  3. Chopping: Before you chop bhindi, they should be completely dry. When chopping okra, some of the slimy substance sticks to the knife. You can wipe it with a kitchen paper towel or paper napkin and then continue to chop.

Cooking okra

  1. Cooking methods: Sautéing or pan frying or even deep frying okra helps in reducing their stickiness or sliminess. When you fry or sauté okra before you make a gravy or a masala it will not only make your gravy or sauce taste good but also remove the stickiness from okra. In this bhindi masala recipe, I have sautéed okra first.
  2. Fats: Addition of extra oil also minimizes the stickiness. 3 tablespoons oil which is added in this bhindi masala recipe is perfect. You can even add 4 tablespoons oil. However do not reduce the oil to 2 tablespoons.
  3. Souring ingredients: Adding sour ingredients help to reduce the sliminess of the okra. Sour and tangy ingredients like tomatoes, tamarind, dry mango powder (amchur), lime or lemon juice, vinegar, kokum (garcinia indica), curd, buttermilk are great to be used depending on the kind of recipe or dish you are making with okra.

    In this recipe of bhindi masala, I have used tomatoes and dry mango powder which not only give a good tangy taste but also get rid of the sliminess.

Expert Tips

  • Okra: Buy tender and fresh okra pods when you plan to make any recipe with them. They should have a smooth, shiny look with a nice green color and should not look dry. They should not be dense or fibrous.
  • Scaling: My recipe can be easily scaled and halved or doubled or tripled.
  • Omitting onions and garlic: If you decide not to add onions and garlic in bhindi masala, then when sautéing tomatoes, add a pinch of asafoetida (hing).
  • Spicing and seasonings: You can add less or more of the ground spices according to your taste preferences.
  • Dried fenugreek leaves: If you do not have dried fenugreek leaves, then simply skip them.

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bhindi masala in a white bowl on a off white napkin

Bhindi Masala

4.78 from 77 votes
A semi dry lightly spiced Punjabi bhindi masala made with okra, onions and tomatoes. A vegan and gluten-free Indian okra recipe.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins

Cuisine North Indian
Course: Side Dish
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

For sautéing

  • 2 tablespoons oil – sunflower oil or peanut oil or any neutral oil
  • 250 grams okra (bhindi or lady finger)

Other ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil – sunflower oil or peanut oil or any neutral oil
  • cup finely chopped onions or 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste or 1 inch ginger and 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves, crushed in mortar-pestle
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon fennel powder (ground fennel – optional
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
  • ½ teaspoon amchur powder (dry mango powder) or add as required
  • salt as required
  • ½ teaspoon kasuri methi, – crushed (dry fenugreek leaves ) – optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

Instructions

Preparation

  • Rinse the bhindi (okra) well in water. 
  • Dry them on a large plate on their own or wipe with a kitchen towel.
  • Remove the base and stalk while chopping them. Chop into 1 or 2 inch pieces.
  • Also chop onions and tomatoes. Keep aside. 
  • Make a paste of ginger and garlic in mortar-pestle and keep aside.

Sautéing bhindi

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai (wok) or pan.
  • Add the chopped bhindi and sauté stirring often till they are completely cooked. You will have to keep an eye on them and stir in between many times.
  • Taste the sautéed okra and if the crunchiness is not there and the bhindi have become soft, it means they are cooked. Keep the sautéed bhindi aside.

Sautéing onions, tomatoes, spices

  • All the oil will be used up. So add 1 tbsp oil to the same pan.
  • Add chopped onions and fry till they become translucent.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for ½ minute or till the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic disappears.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes become soft and mushy.
  • If the tomato mixture becomes too dry and starts sticking to the pan, then add about ¼ cup water. Mix well and continue to cook.
  • All the above cooking is done in a open pan and you don’t need to cover the pan with the lid.
  • Add all the dry spice powders one by one.
  • Mix well and saute for a few seconds. 

Making bhindi masala

  • Add the sautéed bhindi, crushed kasuri methi & salt and mix so that the onion-tomato masala coats the okra well.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in between. 
  • Then switch off the flame and add chopped coriander leaves. Mix again.
  • Serve bhindi masala hot or warm garnished with a few coriander leaves and accompanied with chapati, roti or naan.

Video

Notes

  • Okra: Buy tender and fresh okra pods. They should have a smooth, shiny look with a nice green color. They should not be dry, dense or fibrous.
  • Scaling: You can easily halve or double the recipe.
  • Omitting onions and garlic: If you decide not to add onions and garlic, then when sautéing tomatoes, add a pinch of asafoetida (hing).
  • Spicing and seasonings: You can add less or more of the ground spices according to your taste preferences.
  • Dried fenugreek leaves: Skip dried fenugreek leaves if you do not have them. 

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Bhindi Masala
Amount Per Serving
Calories 176 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 403mg18%
Potassium 393mg11%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 1127IU23%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 27mg33%
Vitamin E 6mg40%
Vitamin K 32µg30%
Calcium 81mg8%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 61µg15%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 55mg14%
Phosphorus 68mg7%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Dassana Amit

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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169 Comments

  1. This is an excellent Bhindi recipe. I have made it many times and is one of my go to’s. It’s easy and so good! I’ve also added fenugreek and Harrisa sauce sometimes.
    Frying the okra before adding to the recipe really works to keep it from getting slimy.5 stars

    1. Thank you for the review and the rating. Good to know. It is an easy recipe and frying okra works well and does not make them slimy. Thanks for sharing the variations too.

    2. Thank you Dassana. This is a great recipe! I had no idea that you are supposed to dry the okra before frying it. I add cumin seeds every time which makes the dish even more tasty. It can also be eaten with boiled rice.5 stars

      1. Welcome Angela. Drying okra always helps as it reduces the sliminess when cooking. Yes the dish can also be eaten with boiled rice. Thanks for the feedback and the rating.

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