Sometimes, it’s nice to have a bit of a change from the standard vegetables I have on rotation (spinach, aubergine, carrots, cabbage etc) and cook up a different veggie. Bhindi happens to always be available year round, fresh and frozen, but generally speaking I don’t cook it often as my husband doesn’t like it much. The only exception is when there is meat added to it (bhindi keema, bhindi gosht) or when there’s lots of onion involved, as demonstrated in this recipe.
Bhindi, or okra as it’s more typically known in English, is a fantastic vegetable loaded in healthy nutrients and fiber and as a bonus, it’s very low calorie. Just 33 calories worth of okra crams in 3.2g of fibre – found in 100g worth of okra.
Bhindi happens to be one of those dishes that can be cooked in many different ways. Often it’s made with the onions and tomatoes cooked down into a jammy masala, sometimes it is left as it is, long and in it’s original shape. My Mother used to cook it in a ‘Bhuna’ style – dry, spicy and with the onions and tomatoes broken down into the curry. I’ve made this particular Bhindi dish with the onions and tomatoes more prominent and the okra cut into small discs. Today I’m sharing the way me and my husband like it – fully loaded.
Bhindi also requires some prep before actually being used in the curry. You will need to give it a fry beforehand as shown in the first steps in the recipe below. Why do I fry the bhindi? I find it retains it shape better, as opposed to melting in with the tomatoes and onions. Furthermore, I recall my Mother telling me it helps zap out some of the sliminess too.
This curry goes well with both rice and chapatti. I mostly serve it as a side dish alongside a red meat curry, but my Mother would serve it on it’s own, as the star of the show.
A few quick tips when cooking bhindi
I also highly recommend using red onions for this instead of white onions. This is totally optional, but I think the colour looks fantastic and it adds a sweetness which complements that tang of the tomatoes and the texture of the bhindi. Garnish with some green chillis and lemon as opposed to coriander so the bhindi really stands out!
Also – bhindi has a tendency to be icky and slimy if not prepared properly. This is due to a substance it contains called ‘mucilage’ which gives it its slimy quality. The mucilage seems to augment itself when it comes in contact with moisture. Some people may actually like this sort of texture, BUT if you’d like to avoid this, then read on
- Make sure the bhindi is completely dry before using it in this recipe. Wash thoroughly and dry with a tissue or towel.
- Don’t skimp on the frying in step 2!
- Don’t overcook the bhindi – again we want to avoid moisture
- Finally, something that comes way before the bhindi even enters the kitchen is – ensure you purchase good quality, fresh bhindi. It should be firm, have a nice healthy-looking sheen to it and shouldn’t have any holes or soft spots. I always prefer fresh vegetables a hundred times over frozen, and this case is no exception.
Enjoy, with love x