Bhindi Masala, Stir-Fried Indian Okra with Spices
Bhindi Masala is a popular Indian restaurant dish of tender okra in a deliciously spiced tomato-onion sauce. Serve it with roti or dal and rice for a meal to remember. A vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free recipe.
Servings: 4 servings
- 1 pound okra (washed, thoroughly dried, then trimmed into 1 ½-inch pieces lengthwise)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (divided)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- 2 medium tomatoes (finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ inch ginger (minced or julienned)
- 1 green chili pepper (like jalapeno or serrano, minced, optional)
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp paprika (or cayenne for more heat. You can adjust this quantity up or down per your taste)
- 1 tsp amchoor (or amchur, a dry mango powder. This adds lovely tanginess, but if you absolutely have to, sub with juice of a lemon)
- ½ tsp garam masala
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp cilantro (finely minced, for garnish)
Toss the okra with ½ tsp of oil and place in an air fryer basket. Air fry at 375 degrees for 8 minutes, tossing halfway through, or until the okra is almost tender. The okra should still look green, and should have a slight bite when your teeth dig into it. Set aside.(If you don't have an air-fryer, spread the okra on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until almost cooked. A third option, the more traditional one, is to stir-fry the okra in 2 tbsp of oil until almost done.)
Heat the remaining oil in a kadhai or wok or skillet. Add the cumin seeds and when they darken slightly, add the onions with a pinch of salt. Saute until the onions are translucent and begin to brown. Add the ginger and garlic and green chili peppers if using and continue to saute for a couple more minutes.
Add the tomatoes, mix, then add the powdered spices -- coriander powder, turmeric, paprika or cayenne, amchoor and garam masala. You want to saute the tomatoes only until they are very mushy and have let go of all their liquid, making a nice sauce. If you overcook your tomatoes to the point where they have lost most of their moisture, they will also lose their sweetness, so don't overdo it. You want a hint of sweetness in this recipe to balance out the spicy, salty and tangy flavors. If your tomatoes aren't too sweet, add a teaspoon of sugar -- it'll do the trick.
Add a cup of water to the tomatoes and onions and bring to a boil. Season with salt and add the prepped okra to the sauce. Stir to mix and continue cooking 3-4 minutes until the flavors meld together and the okra is cooked to your liking. I like my okra with just a little bite to it. Keep in mind that the longer you cook the okra, the more discolored it will get, losing that bright green color. It will still taste awesome, though.
Sprinkle on the cilantro and serve hot.
If making it with the basic tomato onion sauce:
Prep the okra in the air fryer or oven or stove top. Heat two cups of the tomato onion sauce in the wok or skillet, then add the coriander powder, amchur and garam masala. Add a teaspoon of sugar. Add a cup of water, and when everything comes to a boil, add the okra and cook for 3-4 minutes until the flavors meld. Garnish with coriander and serve.
Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Potassium: 550mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1461IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 2mg