Easy Bhindi Masala

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This flavorful bhindi masala recipe will capture your heart. Cooked in a tangy onion-tomato masala, this vegan and gluten-free okra dish tastes great with freshly made rotis. 

An overhead shot of bhindi masala served in a white bowl
Bhindi Masala Recipe

I know not everyone likes bhindi or okra as they call in English. There was something about this vegetable that I just couldn’t stand as a kid. My dislike for bhindi continued into adulthood until I had this version of bhindi masala fry that my mother-in-law made when she visited us.

The bhindi was cooked in a simple onion-tomato base with a few spice powders added for flavor. It was absolutely divine! If someone in your family is not a fan of okra, make this recipe and they might just change their mind.

How to make bhindi masala fry

This recipe is my mother-in-law’s take on Punjabi bhindi masala. The only difference is that instead of tempering with cumin seeds, she does a tempering with mustard seeds and curry leaves (kadipatta). You could do it either way – I love curry leaves, so I always use it. 

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of the recipe, let’s chat about a few frequently asked questions. This is because knowing how to pick, prep, and cook okra is important to make a dish that tastes and looks good. 

Are lady’s fingers and okra the same thing?

Yes, it is!. Okra is called lady’s fingers in Asia.

How do you pick fresh okra?

Always pick okras that are bright green, crisp, and do not have blemishes. 

How to keep okra from getting slimy?

The solution is simple – after rinsing the okra, dry it completely. Here are the steps to follow

  1. Rinse the okra under running water to remove any dirt or grime. I do it one by one to make sure every single one of them is dirt-free.
  2. Use a clean cloth or paper towel and pat it dry. 
  3. Spread it over a clean plate to air-dry them. For best results, air-dry them overnight. 
  4. Also, do not add water while cooking.

Recommended readingWhat makes okra slimy

 Can I use frozen cut okra?

Yes, you can. Okras taste best when they are fresh just like any other vegetable. If you don’t have the time to make this dish within 2-3 days of buying it, I would advise you to rinse, air-dry, and cut the okras and freeze them in a Ziploc. I do that very often and there is no impact on the taste of the cooked dish.

Note –To cook frozen okra, do not thaw. Just add the frozen okra to the masala and cook. 

A collage of images showing how to make bhindi masala step by step
Step by Step Bhindi Masala

Instructions

  1. Wash the bhindi/okra and pat dry them with a towel. Let it air-dry overnight, if possible.
  2. Cut the bhindi to the desired size.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium-sized kadhai or wok on medium heat and add mustard seeds to it.
  4. When they start spluttering add kadipatta to it. Let it fry for around 20 seconds and then add onions, garlic, salt, and turmeric powder and fry them till the onions are translucent.
  5. Add cumin and coriander powder to the onions and let it fry for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add tomatoes along with chili powder and fry them till they have softened a bit (approximately 5 minutes).
  7. Add the chopped bhindi and mix well.
  8. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover the wok.
  9. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and stir. Cover the lid again and cook for another 5 minutes. 
  10. [Optional step] Stir in freshly squeezed lemon juice and finely chopped cilantro.
  11. Serve with warm rotis or dal and rice.

Variations

  1. You can replace the lime juice with 1/2 a teaspoon of dry mango powder (amchur powder).
  2. Instead of using cumin, coriander, and chili powder, you can replace it with Kundapur masala. 
  3. To make Punjabi bhindi masala, skip the mustard seeds and kadipatta (curry leaves). Use a teaspoon of cumin seeds instead of mustard seeds for tempering.
Bhindi subzi served with rice and dal in a grey plate
Bhindi bhaji/sabzi

Looking for more vegetarian side dish recipes? Here are our favorites – 

  1. Bhindi do pyaza or stir-fried okra with onions combines okra with twice the amount of onions and a few spices to create a delectable dish that is a hot favorite with Indian food lovers. This caramelized onion and okra recipe takes all of 20 minutes to cook and goes well with rotis, rice, and dal.
  2. Aloo methi – Aloo methi combines stir-fried potatoes (aloo) with freshly chopped fenugreek leaves (methi) to create an aromatic and flavorful side dish that is best savored with ghee laden rotis.
  3. Cabbage kootu – This delightful combination of cabbage and chana dal sabzi is a simple and delicious accompaniment to rice and sambar. Make this easy vegetable dish in about 30 minutes using your Instant Pot.
  4. Beans poriyal is traditionally made over the stovetop, but this Instant-Pot version will blow your mind – because it pressure cooks in zero minutes. Pair it with rice and your favorite curry for a complete meal.
  5. Chickpeas with Tindora (kadle manoli) – This is a vegetarian side dish from Mangalore that combines white or brown chana (chickpeas) and tindora (ivy gourd) and finished with grated coconut mixed with Kundapur masala. The result is a simple yet flavorful dish that will delight your senses. Pair it with rice and piping hot sambar for a complete meal.


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
An overhead shot of bhindi masala served in a white bowl

Bhindi (Okra) Subzi

5 from 1 vote
This 30-minute recipe to make Okra is a keeper. It is delicious and easy to make and it goes well with roti or dal and rice.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Dairy-free, Nut-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Course : Side Dish
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 lb okra/bhindi/ lady’s fingers
  • 2 tablespoons oil, peanut, avocado, coconut or olive
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig of kadipatta, curry leaves
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely cut (~1.5 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, finely cut (~1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt to taste

Optional ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Wash the bhindi/okra and pat dry them with a towel. Let it air-dry overnight, if possible.[See note]
  • Cut the bhindi to the desired size.
  • Heat the oil in a medium-sized kadhai or wok on medium heat and add mustard seeds to it.
  • When they start spluttering add kadipatta to it. Let it fry for around 20 seconds and then add onions, garlic, salt, and turmeric powder and fry them till the onions are translucent.
  • Add cumin and coriander powder to the onions and let it fry for about 30 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes along with chili powder and fry them till they have softened a bit (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Add the chopped bhindi and mix well.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low and cover the wok.
  • After 5 minutes, open the lid and stir. Cover the lid again and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • [Optional step] Stir in freshly squeezed lime juice and finely chopped cilantro.
  • Serve with warm rotis or dal and rice.

Notes

Variations
  1. You can replace the lime juice with 1/2 a teaspoon of dry mango powder (amchur powder).
  2. Instead of using cumin, coriander, and chili powder, you can replace it with Kundapur masala. 
  3. To make Punjabi bhindi masala, skip the mustard seeds and kadipatta (curry leaves). Use a teaspoon of cumin seeds instead of mustard seeds for tempering.

Instructions to keep okra from getting slimy

After rinsing the okra, dry it completely. Here are the steps to follow
  1. Rinse the okra under running water to remove any dirt or grime. I do it one by one to make sure every single one of them is dirt-free.
  2. Use a clean cloth or paper towel and pat it dry. 
  3. Spread it over a clean plate to air-dry them. For best results, air-dry them overnight. 
  4. Also, do not add water while cooking.
  5. Last but not the least, when you uncover the lid during the cooking process, ensure that water droplets from the lid don't fall on the bhindi. 

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 126kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 21mgPotassium: 474mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1284IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 111mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : easy, Okra, Punjabi

This recipe was originally published on Dec 25, 2013, and the recipe and photos were updated on April 29, 2020.

Bhindi Sabzi

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