I am going to post an everyday recipe today. A simple Bhindi/Okra Masala recipe, a dry version that goes really well with rice as well as roti/breads. At our home usually, lady’s finger (Bendakai as we call it) was usually made as a fry or curry to go as a side dish for rice. Blame it on the mucus-y thing
from this vegetable, I had my share of love hate relationship with it. I used to eat it without fuss only when it was cooked to perfection (haha Masterchef style!). May be that is the reason I hardly used this vegetable for many days even after having my own kitchen. My aunt who is an expert in cooking all kinds of Andhra specialties taught me once to sprinkle half a tsp of sugar on the Bhindi/Okra while cooking and that ought to remove the stickiness instantly. For a few years, I did it diligently and it worked too. These days I just let it cook for long enough without a lid and the stickiness reduces as the Okra cooks.
This recipe is a very simple one, with very basic ingredients. I used onion-tomato for the masala along with some of the commonly used Indian spice powders. As tomatoes have excessive moisture, I did not want this masala to end up in a mess of gooeyness and that’s why I stir fried the Bhindi pieces separately in some oil and that way, it turns out perfectly. This is supposed to be a dry version and hence I do not use water at all. If desired water can be added and that results in a good gravy. Just before serving, stir-fried Bhindi/Okra pieces can be added to retain the crunch.
To make Bhindi Masala| Okra Stir-fry
What I used –
- Bhindi/Okra, 200 gms (enough for two)
- Onion, 1 laage
- Tomato, 2 small
- Jeera, ½ tsp
- Red Chilli Powder, ½ tsp
- Coriander Powder, ½ tsp
- Cumin Powder, ½ tsp
- Curry Masala Powder, ¼ tsp
- Turmeric Powder, ¼ tsp
- Salt, as required
- Water, 2 tbsp
- Oil, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
How I made –
- In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add diced Bhindi/Okra pieces. Stir fry for 2 mins. Add salt required for the vegetable to cook. Do not close it with a lid. Reduce the flame to low.
- Continue frying the Bhindi until the stickiness is gone and the vegetable seems fried and crispy enough. This can take about 7-10 mins. Set aside.
- In a pan, heat 1 tsp of oil. Add jeera and let it splutter. Add julienned onions and stir fry until translucent.
- Add finely chopped tomato pieces and stir fry for a minute.
- Add salt required for the onion-tomato mix along with the turmeric powder. Mix well.
- Cook the tomatoes until mushy. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and curry masala powder. Stir fry until the raw smell is gone for 2-3mins.
- If the masala is too dry, add 2 tbsp of water. Add the fried Bhindi/Okra pieces. Mix well.
- Serve hot with pulav/plain rice/roti/breads.
- Choose Bhindi/Okra that is tender, when pressure is applied on the tip of the lady finger it should break easily. This is the age old trick used to buy this vegetable.
- Cut the Bhindi/Okra pieces into 2 inch sized pieces otherwise while cooking the vegetable it goes mushy.
- Do not close the pan with a lid while cooking Bhindi/Okra. It increases the moisture content and the stickiness takes longer to go off.
- Instead of stir-frying the Bhindi/Okra with 1 tbsp of oil, it can deep fried as well. Deep frying is quicker and the vegetable cooks in 3-5mins on medium flame. When pressed for time, this method can be used.
- Instead of curry masala powder, garam masala powder can be used.
- Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder as per personal preference.
- If the masala is too dry, add water tbsp by tbsp.