Okra- you either love it or hate it.

There is no middle path with it.

It falls in the same category of foods as mushrooms.
You either hate mushrooms or you love them.
V doesn’t like mushrooms.
Thankfully, he loves okra.
So do I.

It’s one of my all time favorite vegetable.

Growing up, this was my daily serving of greens.

Considering my love for okra, its actually a wonder okra hasn’t come up on my blog sooner.

The main reason is that I have never been able to photograph okra well .
(Not that I am able to photograph other things well, but the others have still met my not so stringent criteria for passing the test).

For this post also, I did debate with myself and was almost about to not post anything at all (Yes, I am not happy with the pictures)

But then this blog is about food.
(not pictures, I reminded myself)
.

And this dish is absolutely delicious, that is if you are an okra fan. So I had to share this post with everyone.

Okra in India is called “Bhindi”.

We also refer it as “lady fingers” in India, as its considered best when it is the diameter of a woman’s ring finger.

There are tons of ways okra is cooked in India.

In south, you have a delicious okra dish that is cooked in coconut and yogurt.

Rajasthanis deep fry their okras to make a crispy and spicy dish.

Punjabis cook it with a lot of onions and green chilli.

This recipe is more inclined to the punjabi way (that’s what I have grown up eating)

You can add ginger, garlic and other spices, but I like to remain true to this vegetable and let its taste shine through the dish.

OKRA/”BHINDI” COOKED IN ONIONS

Most cooks are scared of okra, because of its slime. A tip to minimize the slime factor is to make sure the okra is dry before your start cooking it. I generally wash the okra in the morning and keep it in a colander lined with paper towels to dry it off for atleast 2 hours.

Okra becomes slimy when cooked in a watery environment—in a stew or a steamer basket, for example. Stir-frying or sauteing in hot oil, in contrast, keeps the slime within the okra pieces.

This is my go-to okra recipe. A note about covering the okra while cooking. My mom never covers it, and cooks the okra on high heat till the slime goes away, and only then reduces the heat. My mom-in-law, on the other hand, stir fries the okra for a minute on high heat and then covers it and lets it cook on lower heat. To appease both women, I used a combination of both.

Ingredients

  • 600 gms okra/”bhindi”
  • 340 gms petite whole onions
  • 150 gms red onions, chopped big (to resemble the petite whole onions- you could use all petite whole onions but I only had half a bag of them and did not find it enough)
  • 1 tomato
  • 6 green chillies (add more if you can handle the heat- this is the star of the dish)
  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 heaping tsp roasted cumin powder
  • A generous pinch of turmeric powder

Directions

  1. Finely chop the green chillies.
  2. Julienne the ginger.
  3. Dice the tomato into big pieces.
  4. Slice the okra into rounds (about 3/4 inch)
  5. In a large skillet heat oil. Add the onions.
  6. Fry till they are light brown.
  7. Add the green chillies and saute for a minute.
  8. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt, to taste. Mix it in with the onions.
  9. Add the okra and cook on high for a few minutes, occasionally stirring it to ensure that the okra/onions do not stick to the bottom.
  10. Add the tomatoes and ginger. Cook on medium-low, covered for 6-8 minutes more.
  11. Add the roasted cumin powder and garam masala and increase the speed to high, stirring occasionally again.
  12. The okra should be tender now. Add lemon juice and remove from heat.
  13. Garnish with some cilantro/coriander leaves and serve hot.

11 Thoughts on “Garam Masala Tuesdays: Okra “Bhindi” cooked in Onions

  1. This is spooky.. I had just read a blog by a blogger and wrote the line that my favourite is Bhindi and next i got a email saying there is a new post here and I find a recipe for it ..

    YUMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

  2. Shubhika on 21 September, 2011 at 9:52 am said:

    My mouth is watering on seeing these pictures. I love Bhindi cooked with onions. The only hard part is to find good ripe soft bhindi to start with which is not available year round.

  3. You said it right ! Bhindi – You either like it or not. I like it when its cooked exactly the way I want it to be.
    I dont add onions or ginger. I love it when its crispy without deep frying and hate it when its soggy. And its really a skill to cook it that way :) . I will try it your way next time when I get it.

  4. I have never thought of putting lemon juice in bhindi. Do you know what purpose it serves? I actually don’t care for it (bhindi), but my (Pakistani Punjabi) husband loves it (which is why I make it)!

    I guess I should taste it some day. The whole reason why I don’t like it is due to the sliminess (I think the American way of making it is perhaps the worst way).

    • Well, the lemon juice is just to add a little tang to the dish. I like the tang, so that’s why the lemon juice. But I love lemon juice in just about everything. So don’t know if it would work for you.
      I know a lot of people don’t like it for its slimy texture, which is why when you wash bhindi, you should always let it dry completely before cooking it. If its wet, it will cook slimy. Too much of stirring also leads to a very slimy texture. You should probably try a fried version of the vegetable. Although frying the vegetable takes away all its benefits, fried bhindi actually tastes great and might help you to warm up to the vegetable.

      • I think next time I will let it dry a bit more. Generally, I prepare the bhindi and set it aside before I start the salan, so they are pretty close to being completely dry by the time I start cooking them. I learned as a kid about stirring making it more slimy. My mom would stir it till it became something closer to mucous than okra!

        I just have a lifetime’s worth of memories of slimy okra. I’m from Texas originally, so I have had fried okra, Texas style, which is still pretty unsavory. It is coated in such a thick breading that the okra really has no chance.

        Your photos of the dish are very nice. It is challenging to make bhindi look appetizing (I had the same problem when I took a photo for my blog). I have the same problem with saag koftay kabob!

  5. Reblogged this on White girls CAN make biryani! and commented:
    Here is another version of bhindi that I found. Her recipe looks yummy, and I don’t even like bhindi (so that’s saying a lot)!

  6. Vandana on 2 December, 2012 at 12:25 am said:

    I’m a college student. I’d like to know how to make this with a frozen packet because that is the only kind available to me. Do you have any suggestions??

    • You can use frozen okra packet. Just check the instructions on the bag whether you need to defrost the bhindi before using or use as is. Since its frozen you will have more slime than usual. Just keep stir frying until both the slime and the moisture go away, but avoid stirring too much while the slime is there.

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