Perfectly cooked Pakistani Bhindi Masala in a balanced full flavored masala! Make it in 25 minutes (or 20 if you follow my tips)!
Move over aloo (potatoes), this Bhindi Masala will convert even the most skeptical of you to a Bhindi fan. Follow this recipe and that awful slimy mashed bhindi will be a thing of the past!
What is Bhindi?
Bhindi, or Okra as it is called in English, has turned out to be one of my favourite vegetables. That's probably why I already have three Pakistani Bhindi Recipes before adding this one to the mix!
- this basic Bhindi ki Sabzi that my mother always makes
- this punchy Achari Bhindi with it's aromatic spices
- my girls cannot resist plates heaped with this crunchy "Kurkuri" Bhindi.
confession: I did not feel this way until I mastered perfectly cooking bhindi, tips below!
What Kind of Bhindi Should I buy?
There are moments that immigrants know well, moments of jarring unfamiliarity in what we expected to be similar. The first time I bought Okra from the grocery store my bhindi ki sabzi turned out to be so disappointing. Here's what I then learnt about Pakistani/Indian Bhindi versus what I bought.
I knew this Bhindi Masala was a winner even before I tasted it because Nonni (my maternal grandmother), the finickiest critic, actually ate it at a time when she had lost interest in most food. Although Nonni is no longer with us, every time I make this Bhindi Masala I think of feeding it to the woman who spent a lifetime feeding others.
Bhindi Masala Ingredients
One of my favourite things is that Bhindi Masala requires no fancy ingredients, the flavour comes from how they are treated and it is spot on.
- Vegetables: Bhindi, Tomatoes, Onions
- Pastes: Garlic and Ginger. My generous friends ½ a tsp (measuring) spoon is spot on here because then the bhindi gets to shine!
- Spices: Salt, Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder, Coriander Powder, and Cumin Seeds.
How to Make Bhindi Masala
As you can see above it's a fairly straightforward process. Step 4 is my fave. Obviously.
I have made some changes here in my original recipe and they are as follows:
1.) Two approaches to the onions - more caramelized leads to a drier richer masala (my preference), but you can leave them a little less amber to great effect.
2.) Green Chilies pretty early on. The flavour the earlier addition gives to the masala can't be beat.
3.) I've scaled back on the red chili powder to balance the green going in earlier, but feel free to adjust to taste!
Is the Bhindi in this Recipe Slimy?
Okay yes, slimy bhindi is an EWWW situation even for my bhindi loving self. In this dish there is no chance of that because the bhindi is flash fried. You heat a little oil till it's shimmering, and fry the bhindi in batches till a verdant green. No slime possible.
What if you don't want to flash fry? I got you, just go on to the tips below.
Tips for Cooking Perfect Bhindi
- Use a large based pan, this isn't the time to bring out the saucepan you use to boil eggs.
- Make sure your oil is hot before adding the bhindi in, we want it shimmering, not smoking ok?
- Stir your bhindi as little as possible, too much stirring= broken bhindi
- Cook uncovered or only partially covered on medium heat. If you cover it the base becomes watery and you can imagine what happens next
- Bonus Tip: Adding khattai (dried mango chunks) also helps to keep bhindi dry and gives it a great flavour
Is Frozen Bhindi Better or Fresh?
With the exception of this Achari Bhindi recipe, I strongly prefer fresh bhindi. It dries out better, runs less risk of falling apart, and takes on the flavour of the spices far better as well.
What to serve with this Bhindi Masala Recipe?
Made this recipe? Please comment and rate it below and tag me in your recreations on Instagram @flourandspiceblog - Happy cooking!
- 1 frying pan (small)
- 1 wok/ saucepan
- Heat about an inch and a half of oil in a small pot and fry the bhindi in batches until it is a dark forest-y green, drain well on paper towels to remove excess oil. (see notes!)
- Add a splash of the oil into a medium saucepan or wok and put the pan on medium high heat
- Now add the onions and fry them - if you like a softer more saucy bhindi then fry so the onion is translucent. I like it to have more depth and be a little drier so my preference is caramelized edges!
- Stir in the green chilies, ginger and garlic pastes, sauteeing for about a minute
- Add the tomatoes and spices and saute to create a masala. Tip: if you add a splash of water and cover the pan for 30 seconds the tomatoes break down much faster.
- Gently mix in your bhindi cook on low, covered for 5 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning (a squeeze of lemon juice is so nice), consistency with water, more chilies if needed, and enjoy!
- To save time (always my choice) this is the ideal sequence: Chop your bhindi and then start flash frying it in a separate pan while you make the masala. This makes this dish come together in under 20 minutes!
- The oil after it's been used for the bhindi remains virtually odorless, you can strain it and use it for cooking other desi favourites.
- Tips for how to cook the bhindi without flash frying are in the post!