If you ask my husband, he will tell you I hardly eat any vegetables. I am super picky. I feel I eat enough (potatoes count right? ) but it is true that I don’t eat too many green vegetables. The one green veggie that I LOVE is Bhindi (Ladyfinger/Okra). I used to end up making bhindi for dinner once a week without fail. That much love. However, now the boy has asked me to make it less often, I think he has kinda overdosed on bhindi 🙂
Growing up, we used to have a simple Bhindi fry at home. Just some cumin seeds and chilli powder pretty much. No onions, no tomatoes, no major spice quotient. My sister really loves that simple version. However, I was never a big fan, it was a little bland for me. So when our help at home made this masala version once, I was hooked! This is major comfort food levels for me. When I want a simple meal, rice+dal+vegetable type, this is what I go for. Honestly, I don’t even need the rice. I have been known to just mix the bhindi and the dal in a bowl, squeeze some lemon juice on top and eat it just like that. Happiness.
The spices are inspired from panch phoron (the bengali spice mix), but adapted to punjabi masala tastes with the onions and tomatoes. Cooking the onions and tomatoes till they are soft and caramelized makes a big difference to the dish. To finish it off, a little tang in the form of amchur and chat masala go a long way.
I have made this for quick weekday dinners and also for friends when they have been craving some simple home cooking. It is a super tasty recipe and I really think you will like it too 🙂
1 kg Bhindi (Ladyfinger/Okra)
2 big onions – chopped finely
4 medium tomatoes – chopped finely
1/2 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds
1 tsp coriander (dhania) seeds
1 tsp cumin (jeera seeds)
1/2 tsp nigella (kalonji) seeds
2 dried red chillies
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi) poweder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1.5 tsp coriander (dhania) powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp dried mango (amchur) poweder
1/4 tsp chaat masala
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp lemon juice
- Wash and dry the bhindi. Trim the top and bottom of each one and cut into thirds.
- In a wok/kadhai, heat oil. Add the cumin, coriander, fennel, nigella seeds and red chillies. Saute on low heat till the seeds begin to splutter
- Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes till soft and golden brown
- Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for a minute or so till the raw smell goes away
- Add the turmeric and chilli powder, mix and cook for 30 seconds.
- Now add the tomatoes with a pinch of salt, mix well and cook till the tomatoes become soft and start releasing oil (about 5-7 minutes).
- Add the coriander powder, mix and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir every now and then to ensure nothing sticks to the pan
- Transfer the bhindi to the pan and mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add salt to taste, garam masala and dried mango powder, mix well and cook until done (another 15 minutes). The bhindi will be dark green and soft, but not collapsing in texture.
- Add the lemon juice and chaat masala. Mix once and serve with dal and rice or with chapatis.