Since moving back home, my mom and I have developed a special tradition of reserving Sunday afternoons for cooking. We make anything from 3-5 Indian dishes, something that she used to do alone (she’s a rockstar)! One of my long-time favourite Indian dishes was also one of the first ones I learnt how to make- Bhindi Masala.This dish utilizes okra, a serious underdog who doesn’t get nearly enough love from other cuisines, in a classic Indian subjee/subzi/sabji (so many different spelling options I just got overwhelmed and am using them all). Here’s what you’ll need to make Bhindi:
~30 okra, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp each of mustard seeds, jeera and kalongi
1 tsp each of turmeric, jeera powder, coriander powder, amchur (spiced mango powder)
1+ tsp cayenne, to taste
a handful of cilantro
Once the vegetables have all been prepped, heat a glug of canola oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the mustard seeds, jeera and kalongi- the spices should pop away happily if the oil is heated properly. In the picture below, jeera is at 12 o’clock, mustard seeds at 4 o’clock and kalongi is right in the middle.
Next add two of the tomatoes and all of the bhindi. Bhindi is a vegetable that requires minimal stirring- move it around to much and you’re left with a broken down, slimy mess. Once you add the bhindi and tomatoes, cover the pan and let them sit for about five minutes. Then lift lid, and flip (instead of stir) the bhindi- leave the lid off for the remainder of cooking time. Continue to do this for about 15 minutes- the bhindi should have softened but not lost it’s vibrant colour completely.
At this stage add the remaining spices- turmeric, jeera powder, coriander powder, amchur and plenty of cayenne. Stir the bhindi briefly so that the spices are allowed to mix throughout, and then let cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat and top with a handful of freshly chopped cilantro.
Serve alongside other Indian dishes- chicken curry, gobi masala, whatever you like- and plenty of rotis or naans! A delicious, vibrant dish that showcases okra in all of it’s (non-slimy) glory!