Punjabi Bhindi Masala (Okra sautéed with Onions and Tomatoes)

bhindi masala

My husband has been working late this entire week and I barely spent any time with him. While he was away working, I surely wasn't about to cook dinner for just 1 person, I was eating my mom's delicious parathas every night instead. I must admit though, I missed cooking this week and I finally had my chance today. I knew he'd be home early today so I thought of making him one of his favorite subzis, bhindi (okra).  Bhindi also happens to be my second favorite subzi, after Baingan Ka Bharta. :-)   Keep in mind that bhindi is one of those dishes you can never have enough of, so by adding tomatoes to this dish, the quantity increases, just a tip :-) 

bhindi masalaThis version of Bhindi Masala is cooked in typical Punjabi style.  I decided to experiment a little and added kalonji (nigella) seeds to this dish... don't think it made a difference.

In general, when making okra, wash and dry it completely else the okra becomes sticky and stringy. To avoid this I washed the okra in the morning and cooked it in evening.  According to my hubby, this dish was, "excellent." Verdict, you decide!

NUTRITION: Okra is rich in Vitamins A, B6, C, and Fiber. It is also a good source of Folic Acid, which is an important nutrient for women who are pregnant.

  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Nigella (kalonji) Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chilies - 2 (chopped)
  • Garlic - 2 cloves (chopped)
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece (chopped)
  • Red Onions - 2 medium (sliced)
  • Plum Tomatoes - 3 (sliced)
  • Okra - 6 handfuls (wash, dry, trim ends, slice)
  • salt to taste
  • Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
  • Mango (Amchoor) Powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp (optional... I skipped this, didn't really need it)
  • Fresh Cilantro Leaves - 1/2 handful (chopped)

1. Here is the amount of okra I used... 6 handfuls (I have small hands).
2. Wash and let it dry.
3. Here is what you need.
4. Chop/Mince the green chilies, garlic, and ginger.  I just used my Magic Bullet... it's a great gadget in the kitchen!
5. Slice the onions.
6. Heat a wok on medium heat, when hot, add oil.  Add the cumin and nigella seeds. 
7. Once the seeds begin to sizzle, add the turmeric powder.  Sauté for 5 seconds or so.
8. Now add the chopped green chilies, ginger, and garlic.  Sauté for 30 seconds or so.
9. Add the sliced onions.  Lower heat to dial #3 and allow the onions to caramelize, this will take about 10 minutes.
10. In the meantime, trim off the okra ends, and slice each piece as follows:
11. After 10 minutes, this is how the onions should look.
12. Add the okra to the sautéed onions.  Combine.  Increase the heat to dial #5 (medium heat).  Allow the okra to cook for 5 minutes.
13. After 5 minutes, add the red chili powder, coriander powder, and salt.  Combine.
14. Cover with a lid.  Lower the heat to dial #3.  Allow this to cook for 15-20 minutes.  Keep checking in between and stir to avoid burning.  The steam will cook the okra down.
  15. Now slice the tomatoes.
16. This is how the okra should look.
17. Now add the tomatoes and season with salt.  Combine.
18. Cover with a lid.  Cook for another 15 minutes.  Keep checking in between and stir. 
19. Now chop some fresh cilantro.
20. Back to the okra, this is what you should have. You may have to smash the tomatoes a bit. Combine.
21. Add mango powder.  Optional: If you want to add garam masala, add it now. 
22. Add cilantro and turn off the stove.  Combine.
23. Serve with roti with raita/yogurt on the side.  YUM!


  1. I love all the flavors in this dish! I never ate okra! Thanks for showing us how to make this.

  2. Lovely okra dish...tempting

    Pushpa @ simplehomefood.com

  3. Hi,
    I tried the bhindi masala and loved it...I've put a photo in my blog

  4. when ever I had Bhindi masala at a restaurant I would repent on ordering the item. But after going hrough the blog my appetite for the dish has grown.I'm gonna make this for dinner today.Thanks.


  5. I important thing to take care while cooking bhendi is that.....never cook it covered. If u cook it covered it tends to be sticky . So while cooking, once u add ur okra don't cover it. jst cook uncovered. it works good for me.

  6. Loved it! Thank you for the recipe. I enjoyed how you had pictures at each step to accompany the descriptions. I have never used mango powder before. As a person from south east asia, I have tamarind paste and thought that mayyyybe (hopefully) I can use it as a substitute. And it worked =). I'll try it with mango powder next time. I just don't know where to find it. Thanks again.

  7. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I've just finished making it and it came out GREAT! I cannot wait until lunch-time to have a bowl-full of it!

    Question: could you add eggplant to this? If so, what modifications would you make to the dish as a whole?


  8. @Bird Cage - yes, you can add eggplant to this. Keep everything the same. You can use eggplant or brinjals. If you go with the brinjals, go for 8 to 10 (sliced). here is a similar recipe so you get an idea without tomatoes (http://www.honeywhatscooking.com/2010/04/quick-delicious-brinjal-fry.html). If you don't have brinjals, use 1 eggplant and cube the eggplants into 1/2 inch pieces. everything else should be the same. Let me know!

  9. Amazing! First Bhindi recipe I loved without wanting to change anything. *well OK, i used 1 1/2 onion but i think that is because 'medium' is up for interpretation.* The taste was perfect, tangy and mouthwatering. My husband was only disappointed he could not have more :)
    Thank you! Thank you!

  10. Came out excellent. Thanks so much for the recipe

  11. It was amazing :) loved it to the core..!! thank u

  12. I prepared it today...exactly one year after you published it - I liked your method of presentation - photos step by step -so someone who is terrible cook has all the visual guidance - otherwise I keep wondering how long to saute the onions and what is pinch of cumin seeds :). Thanks a lot for the recipe!

  13. Thanks for the tip about Magic Bullet, always thought of getting one but never did having read some negative reviews about it. Now I think I will. As for the recipe, well its almost the same as what I make. You made it clear n easy to follow with all the pics. Keep up the excellent work.

  14. Thanks a lot for the recipe.I pleased my mother with its help. :)

  15. This was an awesome recipe...Thanks so much. I followed all the steps except I stir fried the sliced bhindi prior to adding to the onions and also I added half a teaspoon of Kitchen King masala. Needless to say, the dish was so much better than I had expected!
    I am starting my own recipe blog and would love to add this recipe along with your website.

  16. Wifey resisted me on this forever. After tonight she's planning space for okra in next year's garden!

  17. At first I was a bit hesitant to put garlic and ginger in bhindi but I did everything by your recipe and it was amazing! Thank you very much :)

  18. superrrr.... tried and enjoying

  19. I love this bhindi curry.. its full of flavor.. Thank you

  20. It is just delicious! My kids went gaga for this. Thanks for the recipe

  21. This dish looks awesome. I just found your site and it's great,the recipes are interesting.I love this type of food.The trouble is getting the ingrediants and the correct spices.They should have more like this on menus.
    Kind Regards
    David Head

  22. As a guju, the normal bhindi shaak gets Boring! This recipe however changes all that! The Kalonji in the recipe adds an awesome twist to it!

  23. Much much nicer than the usual plain bhindi i was making for years....Going to impress my husband tonite wid this recipe!! ...thanks :)

  24. Deep frying or roasting the okra reduces the moist slimy characteristics.

    Nutritionally, okra is a super source of soluble fiber so don't rinse it all away, thus the option of roasting or prefrying it.

    Soluble fiber [also found in oatmeal and in liquid in canned beans] protects the good cholesterol and reduces the overall cholesterol.

  25. Thank you for this recipe, made it last night and it was wonderful! I love bhindi masala and had never tried making it at home. The only thing I did not have was the nigella, but will pick those up at a local Indian market for next time. Excellent recipe and the photos made it so easy to replicate your dish. Thanks again!

  26. @Anonymous - so glad that worked out for you. You really don't need the nigella.. I'm sure it adds a little flavor, but you can skip it. :-)

  27. This is an excellent recipe. Works every single time. :) Thank you!


  28. Very good recipe . Watch out not to burn everything during the first 5 minutes the okrah is in.. Make sure to stir!

  29. thanks for posting this. Finally I was able to make a good sabji :)

  30. Nice Punjabi style recipe. To enhance flavor, I added a pinch of whole Fenugreek seeds, asafoetida (hing) powder and mustard seeds.

  31. @Rajesh - that's so great, I'm sure the seeds and hing would enhance the flavor. Nice!

  32. Awesome!!!Truly enjoyed the receipe

  33. @Anonymous - thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed it.

  34. Oh, yum yum yum. I love this dish, order it whenever I go out for Indian food. Now I don't have to go out. Thanks for this!

  35. @Anonymous - glad you have an option to make this at home. :-)

  36. Made this tonight and was very happy! Thank you for the step-by-step pictures :) I skipped the garam masala, mango powder (didn't have it at home) and didn't add any salt until I added the tomatoes. Was still very satisfied with the result..may try adding tamarind or mango powder next time since I've always liked that taste with bhindi


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