How To Make Bhindi Masala – Pakistani Okra Curry

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 - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks

Bhindi - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks

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 - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks

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.

Bhindi - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks

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

To read this recipe in Urdu, click HERE

How To Make Bhindi Masala - Pakistani Okra Curry
How To Make Bhindi Masala - Pakistani Okra / Lady Fingers Curry
Print Recipe
Servings
4 as a side
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings
4 as a side
Cook Time
30 minutes
How To Make Bhindi Masala - Pakistani Okra Curry
How To Make Bhindi Masala - Pakistani Okra / Lady Fingers Curry
Print Recipe
Servings
4 as a side
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings
4 as a side
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
  • 300 grams fresh okra/lady fingers
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes. chopped roughly
  • 2 whole green chillis
  • 1/3 tsp nigella satvia (kalonji)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder or to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
Servings: as a side
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry the okra. Cut the okra into small discs, discarding the head and the skinny tail, as shown in the picture below
    Bhindi - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks
  2. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Once the oil is hot, tip in all the okra discs and fry for about 6-8 minutes. You'll know the oil is hot enough when you drop one okra disc and it floats to the top
    Bhindi - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks
  3. In a separate pan, add a few tbsp of oil and once hot, add the sliced onion and garlic. Saute this on high heat for a few minutes, until translucent and pink. We don't want to brown the onion
    Bhindi - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks
  4. Add the tomatoes, green chillis and all the spices. Saute this on high heat for a few minutes
    Bhindi - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks
  5. Add the fried okra, mix in, cover and turn the heat to low. Allow the okra to simmer on low for 10 minutes.
    Bhindi - Pakistani Okra/Lady Fingers - Fatima Cooks
Recipe Notes

I always prefer red onions when I cook Bhindi in this style. This is because the colour of red onions stand out far more than their white counterpart. You are free to use any onion you wish.

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