Okra/Bhindi Masala is a restaurant style vegetarian main course dish. The gravy is tomato based, creamy & has a burst of flavors. Serve with roti or rice.
Cooking is so therapeutic!
Our Food and Nutrition teacher (back in college) used to say this, 'Eating is a necessity but cooking is an art.' This statement is so true and every time I cook something, I think of this quote. While most eat to live, there are people like me who not just live eat but cook as well. Cooking is therapeutic for me. being a creative person, I love all forms of art. Be it ingredients or paints, art can be created on a dining plate or a canvas. Poetic right?! Ya, I am in the mood. So indulge me. But yes, you can create different art forms with cooking by playing with different textures, cooking techniques and ingredients.
By that logic, you need not always have the same kind of food for lunch and dinner. There are so many ways in which you can cook a regular dish. I get bored with mundane recipes, they don't excite me anymore. I always have to give it some twist to make it little different to taste and also try to give it a new look. Nearly all my life I have had simple Indian Okra curry cooked in these styles - Vegan Kurkuri Masala Bhindi | Crispy Okra Fry Recipe or this Okra-pickled-in-yogurt recipe at home. However at an Indian restaurant, I have had Bhindi Masala. It is one of the popular items on the menu and if you haven't tried it, order it the next time you are in an Indian restaurant. Bhindi/Okra Masala is a creamy, tomato gravy based dish which can be served as main course.
How to make this dish!
This North Indian, gluten-free recipe is fairly simple. In a mixer grinder, add tomatoes, garlic, ginger and green chillies. Blitz them to a smooth paste. Then add yogurt, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Continue to blitz it till the whole spices are ground. Keep this aside for now. In a bowl, add garam masala, chilly powder, dhania jeera powder, kitchen king masala and turmeric powder, add milk to make a thick masala paste. Chop the okra and wash them thoroughly. Pat them dry and fry them in oil. Sprinkle garlic powder , amchur powder (dry mango powder) and salt while frying. The okra should turn light golden and have a crunch. Strain the oil and place on paper towels to soak the excess oil.
In the same pan, in the remaining oil, fry the onions and bay leaf. Once the onions are cooked, add the tomato paste along with salt and fry till the oil begins to leave its sides. Then add the masala paste and continue to fry it for 2 more minutes. Then crush kasoori methi and add to it along with garam masala. Lastly add the fried okra to it and mix it lightly.
Do not over cook the okra at this stage else it will get mushy. Take it off the flame and serve hot. Garnish with cilantro and serve it with any Indian bread or steamed rice.
You can use fresh Okra or frozen Okra for this dish.
Eating this dish for lunch took me down the memory lane. While I hardly ordered this dish at a restaurant since I had something else in my mind, my mom would always order this. That way I did get to taste it because you know moms! I have tried and created that restaurant style dish today for you which I know you will love. Some other Indian main course dishes that you can try are Simple Potato Fenugreek Curry/Aloo Methi, Chickpea & Black Rice Dumplings in Spinach Sauce Gravy, Veg Kolhapuri Gravy, and Shahi Parwal/Royal Ivy Gourd Curry.
Top recipe tips
How to remove the slime from okra?
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To make the tomato paste
To make the masala paste
To fry the okra
- Chop the okra and wash them thoroughly. Pat them dry.
- Fry them in oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, and amchur powder while frying.
- Keep sautéing to cook them evenly. The okra should turn light golden, non sticky, and turn crisp. This could take 5-6 minutes.
- Transfer to a plate with paper towels to soak the excess oil.
To make the tomato paste
- In a mixer grinder, add tomatoes, garlic, ginger, yogurt, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and green chillies.
- Blitz them to a smooth paste. Keep this aside for now.
To make the masala paste
- In a bowl, add garam masala, chilly powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric powder.
- Add milk to make a thick masala paste. Keep it aside for now.
To make the curry
- In the same pan, in the remaining oil, fry the onions and bay leaf. Once the onions turn translucent.
- Then add the tomato paste along with salt and fry till the oil begins to leave its sides. That could take around 8 minutes.
- Then add the masala paste and continue to fry it for 5 more minutes.
- Lastly add the fried okra to it and mix it lightly. Then crush Kasoori methi and add to it along with cilantro. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Do not overcook the okra at this stage else it will get mushy. Take it off the flame and serve hot.