Pakistanis have a bit (A LOT) of a reputation for just not being OK with vegetables. Going to get real with you here, but growing up if my Mother ever cooked vegetables on their own and served it WITHOUT a meaty accompaniment it would quite a rare day. Didn’t happen often. We just LOVE throwing in some good ol’ red meat or chicken into our pure, wholesome veggies, like in this Bhindi Gosht recipe.
We like to justify our meat usage innocently – when we cook it with vegetables we reassure ourselves ‘It’s all good and healthy, LOOK THERE’S OKRA IN HERE’, or ‘it’s a good way to get some vegetables in’ – some even openly claim they would never eat whichever vegetable concerned if it wasn’t cooked with meat! Other examples of such vegetable and meat curries include Karela Gosht, Phali Gosht, Palak Murgh.
So as I write this, we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. My local Tesco has pretty much been annihilated thanks to people panic buying. I could only get my hands on a handful of fresh vegetable items which were of the more ‘exotic’ variety, including this here masoom okra, known as Bhindi in Urdu and Hindi. Unfortunately couldn’t even get my hands on some potatoes – my initial plan was to make a standard Aloo Gosht on this fateful day. However once I came across the packets of okra, vacant and homeless, I had an epiphany – ‘I haven’t made Bhindi Gosht in AN ABSOLUTE AGE!’ *adds to basket, which is empty because everyone has stock-piled everything and I can’t even do a basic shop*
(And in case anyone is wondering, nope my local Tesco didn’t have any tissue or hand sanitiser)
I used to cook Bhindi Gosht often in the early days of my marriage. It’s just something that has slipped out of my routine and now that I’ve revisited it after so long, I have vowed to pick up that packet of okra when I see it more often. I learnt a great tip for this – I can’t remember from where – which is to ensure the ratio of meat is roughly double to that of the okra. Additionally, I learnt the ratio of onions and tomatoes should be pretty similar to the okra too. If this all sounds very mathematical, don’t worry – all the quantities are here in the recipe so you don’t need to do any calculations.
Some quick tips to ensure you make the BEST Bhindi Gosht
- As always, use fresh wherever possible! That includes the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, coriander and of course okra. I understand fresh okra isn’t always available everywhere year round, therefore just try your best to get whatever you can find fresh and make-do with what you can’t
- Bhindi has a tendency to get slimy. To eliminate this, we fry it on its own before adding it to the curry – this helps get some of the slime out. I have actually tried making this without frying it in the beginning – whilst I don’t advocate or recommend this, you CAN do it if you are super rushed for time or aren’t too bothered about the sliminess
- Pro tip: Wash your okra as soon as you bring it home, then let it air dry completely before you cut it and fry it. Why? When you begin to cut okra when it’s semi wet or if you first chop and then wash, the slime really comes out in full force – the moisture has this tendency to make the slime worse. If you can’t air dry it, dry it completely with a tissue.
- I use paprika or Kashmiri red chilli powder in this and a lot of my dishes because it gives a vibrant red colour without adding too much heat – something that helps bring some life into the look of the curry. Should you not have this, regular red chilli powder will suffice too but remember to reduce the quantity!
- The ratio here is, as mentioned above, double the amount of meat as okra. You can totally play around with these quantities! If you want more okra, try doubling the amount of okra and x0.5 the rest of the ingredients except the meat.
- I really enjoy having Bhindi Gosht cooked with red onions added in at the end. It just adds a lovely sweetness and colour. This particular time I didn’t have any red onions (thank you, COVID-19 stock-pilers!) but if you do have them to hand definitely do use them for the 2nd time onions are called for in the recipe
On to the recipe!
Enjoy, with love x
- 0.5 cup oil
- 175g okra, washed and chopped into 1" segments with heads and tails chopped off
- 175g onions, sliced
- 350g lamb or mutton
- 175g tomatoes, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- small chunk of ginger, minced (about 1 tbsp)
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 2tsp coriander powder
- 2tsp paprika/kashmiri red chilli powder
- 2tsp salt (or to taste)
- 0.5tsp turmeric
- 100g onion, to add at the end
- Coriander, for garnishing
- In a deep pot, heat up half a cup of oil. Add your chopped okra and fry this for 5 minutes on a medium/high heat, until the okra begins to get lightly golden
- Remove the okra using a slotted spoon and set aside
- Remove half the oil from the pot (you can re-use this oil for any future cooking)
- Add in your onions. Fry these lightly on a medium high heat until they begin to turn translucent
- Add the meat, garlic and ginger, Fry this up, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink
- Add all the spices, tomatoes and 1.5 cups of water for lamb OR 3 cups water for mutton
- Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer this on low for 1hr for lamb OR 2hrs for mutton. Keep checking in between, just to make sure there is enough water and nothing is burning (this shouldn't happen, but just in case!)
- Take off the lid. There should be a bit of moisture in the pot
- Turn the heat to high and dry this moisture off, stirring constantly. You want to keep doing this until the gravy begins to catch at the pan unless you scrape it off and the oil begins to separate from the curry
- Add the reserved okra, the onions which were to add at the end and half a cup of water
- Turn the heat down to a low, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes
- Garnish with coriander just before serving. Enjoy!
I've written the amounts of tomato and onion in grams in this recipe because it is often difficult to interpret the quantity based on just describing it as small, medium or large. For reference, 175g onion is about 2 medium onions and 175g tomatoes is one large tomato.