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Bhindi masala is a delicious everyday Indian vegetable preparation. Bhindi is also known as Bhendi, Okra or Lady’s Finger. It is the most popular and nutritious vegetable prepared almost in every household across India. This is a diabetic-friendly, fiber-rich, vegan and gluten-free recipe.
Bhindi masala is made up of bhindi which is also known as lady’s finger or okra that is tossed with finely chopped onions and tomatoes along with some flavourful spices.
When I crave homecooked comfort food, the one vegetable that pops up is Bhindi / Okra that I like to have it along with hot steamed rice and dal (Maharashtrian Varan). This is what I call, a combo made in heaven 😄
Bhindi masala is often made at my place and served with roti, phulka or dal rice.
Bhindi masala / okra masala is very simple, easy and quick to make. The green nutritious bhindi/okra is tossed in onion tomato masala that is spiced up with fennel seeds that imparts a delicious sweet aroma to this dish.
Other spices such as red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala add a depth of spice and flavour in this recipe.
Many times due to its sticky nature, this vegetable is mostly avoided by many. But let me assure you that, if you use the below-mentioned tricks, you will have less sticky bhindi/okra on your plate.
This vegan okra masala / bhindi masala makes a perfect option for a lunch box for kids and elders along with roti, chapati or phulka. Kids love this bhendi masala / okra masala as it’s not too spicy.
Apart from being a delicious vegetable, this bhindi/okra is a powerhouse of nutrition. It is rich in folic acid, magnesium, antioxidants and vitamin C and A. Okra / Bhindi is high in fiber hence aids in weight loss and is diabetic friendly too.
Bhindi / Okra is a staple at my home. Apart from this bhindi masala, I make Maharashtrian style bhendi chi bhaji (stir fry okra) that is made using goda masala (A special blend of Maharashtrian masala), this is a no onion no garlic okra stir-fried recipe.
Then comes the takaatli bhendi, which is okra cooked in buttermilk. Not many are fans of this recipe but I absolutely love it. Again there is bharli bhendi, which is stuffed okra, wherein the okra is slit in the middle and filled with flavourful masala and shallow fried. This bharli bhendi / stuffed okra makes a nice side dish for meals.
Last but not the least, we have kurkuri bhindi that is crispy okra. These are made by cutting okra into thin julliens and coated with flavourful masala along with gram flour or rice flour and then deep-fried. This kurkuri bhendi is super addictive. Once you start eating, believe me, its really really hard to stop 😅
I would share all these recipes with you all soon. Till that time, let’s see how to make this flavourful, delicious, tantalizing Bhindi Masala / Okra Masala today!
For making all these variations of bhindi/okra recipes I prefer to use Kokam instead of amchur powder (raw mango powder) whenever needed. Now kokam is not available worldwide and I often get asked about this tangy fruit.
What is Kokam?
Kokam is a tropical tree from India also known as Garcinia indica, that produces a dark purple fruit. It is sour in taste and is typically sun-dried and used in many Indian curries and vegetables. This kokam gives a nice taste and tangy-ness to the dish.
Kokam is mostly used in Southern parts of India unlike in the North where raw mango powder is used extensively.
To make Bhindi Masala / Okra Masala, I have used:
Bhindi / Okra: I have used 500 gms of okra here that I washed and completely pat dried using a kitchen towel. I cut off the top and tail part and cut into 1-inch pieces which I further slit in between not all way through though.
Onion & Tomato: The base of this vegetable is made with onions and tomatoes which gives this bhindi masala a nice texture and flavour.
Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds impart a nice sweet aroma to this dish.
Kitchen King Masala: I have used kitchen king masala here which is available at any Indian grocery store. If you can’t get this use garam masala powder or any spice powder it will still taste delicious.
Salt & Sugar: I have used 1 teaspoon of sugar to balance the tartness of tomatoes. It is optional but I would highly recommend you add sugar. Salt is used for taste.
Kokam: To make bhindi/okra less sticky a souring agent is always required. I have used kokam here, but if that is not available, use raw mango powder also known as Amchur Powder
Spices: I have used a handful of staple spices such as turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
Oil: For cooking.
To make bhindi/okra less sticky – Steps to remove stickiness from Okra/Bhindi:
- Always make sure to dry bhindi/okra properly with a kitchen towel after washing.
- Use a souring agent like kokam, amchur powder (Dry Mango Powder), lemon juice or tamarind pulp. The souring agent is a real key in making these okra less sticky.
- Never add water while cooking okra/bhindi and never cover and cook. If covered while cooking, it looses its green colour and makes the bhindi/okra soggy.
Serves: 3 Persons
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cooking level: Easy
Taste: Mild Spicy
- 1/2 kg Bhindi (Okra)
- 1 Onion finely chopped
- 1 Tomato finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- 2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 2 teaspoon Kitchen King Masala OR Garam Masala Powder
- 1 teaspoon Amchur Powder (Raw Mango Powder) OR 3 Kokum Petals
- 1teaspoon Sugar
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon Oil
- Wash and pat dry okra / bhindi. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
- Now in a thick bottom kadhai / pan heat 2 tablespoon oil. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle.
- Add fennel seeds and let them sizzle for 5 seconds. Add turmeric powder along with finely chopped onion and tomatoes, stir well.
- Cook this mixture till tomatoes are tender.
- Now its time to add the okra / bhindi. Mix okra well in the onion tomato masala.
- Now without covering the vegetable, cook bhindi / okra on low to medium flame for about 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add spices and seasoning. Red chilli powder, kitchen king masala or garam masala, sugar and salt. If you are using kokam petals, then add the kokam now.
- Cook bhindi masala / okra masala on a low to medium flame till okra is cooked perfectly. Now if you are using raw mango powder or lemon juice add it right now just before switching off the flame and mix well.
- Flavouful vegan bhindi masala / okra masala is ready.
- Serve with flatbread of your choice or along with dal rice.
- If you do not have kitchen king masala use Garam masala or any curry masala instead.
- If kokam is not available, use amchur powder (dry mango powder) or lemon juice instead.
- If using raw mango powder or lemon juice, then add these just before switching off the flame.
- Normally I like to make a shallow slit to okra which helps the masala get inside of it. But it’s optional.