At the age of 12 I remember telling a family friend that I knew how to cook. When she asked what I could make I rattled off a list of things and when I said “bhindi” (okra) she stopped me and asked how I cook my Bhindi ki Sabzi. I remember being nervous and subsequently relieved that I could ‘remember’ the recipe. My adult self realizes just how funny that was given that this dish has a grand total of 5 ingredients and that’s including the Bhindi.
This is one of my favorite ways to eat Okra and it is one of the things I make when I want to eat a dish that reminds me of home. It also cooks pretty quickly which is a huge plus in my book.
Cumin and red chilli flakes are besties and when this Okra is cooked in a wok/karhai on a medium high flame they toast up nicely and flavor the Okra without it over cooking. I prefer to use Pakistani or Indian Okra for this dish, the seeds tend to be more delicate that their heftier North American counterparts.
Bhindi ki Sabzi / Spicy Pakistani Okra
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
1 lb Okra
3-4 dried whole red chillies
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ rounded tsp red chilli flakes
½ rounded tsp salt
Oil for cooking (a little less than ¼ cup)
Line up your okra and stack them into as large a pyramid as you can comfortably ‘hold’ while chopping. Slice off the tops and then slice them fairly thinly – approx ½ cm. I ended up with approximately 4 cups chopped.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add the dried chillies and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to brown add the salt and red chilli flakes, stir. I like to add salt and spices straight into my oil because flavoured oil does a nice job of seasoning the vegetables.
Add the Okra and move it around every few minutes gently so as to not mash it. If it starts to stick then add a teeny bit more oil. The okra should be cooked through in 15 minutes. Cooking time can vary though so just do a quick taste test for doneness. Cooked properly it should retain shape, but be slightly soft. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Bhindi ki Sabzi
Simple okra dish with a few spices and lovely flavor!
- 1 lb Okra
- 3-4 dried whole red chillies
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ rounded tsp red chilli flakes
- ½ rounded tsp salt
- Oil for cooking a little less than ¼ cup
Slice the okra into 1/2 cm coins.
Heat oil in a saucepan, when it shimmers add the cumin seeds and dried whole red chillies
Add the the salt and the chilli flakes to the oil, then add the okra and stir deftly to coat well.
Cook covered, stirring every few minutes, add a little oil if it starts to stick. Okra should be tender in 15 minutes, sometimes it can take a little longer