The first sighting

Mallika Basu - The first sighting

Posted 19th February 2007

bhindi-masala.jpgI grew up loving bhindi or okra but it wasn’t one of those vegetables I could drop into my shopping trolley at the local supermarket.

Until recently.

When my mother was here last summer, she let out a high-pitched yelp on first sighting of okra or lady finger at the supermarket. My mother is prone to drama, as an Indian theatre actress. The skill I have sadly inherited is her drama queen antics and not her passion for the stage.

One evening I decided to try out my favourite home recipe for bhindi with the newly supermarket-acquired veggie. A quick search around the blogosphere warned me about the slime that pours out of them like superglue.

Chopping okra was a bit gooey, but it didn’t bother me. What’s a bit of edible glue when you’ve cried for onions and bled for garlic.

The recipe is very much quick and indian. We ate this with rice, as I had made dhal too. Eaten on its own, it’s dry and a better match with rotis, parathas or simply bread.

Bhindi shrivels up and softens when cooked and can be deceptive when raw. Always use more than you think you’ll need.

Serves four:

350 gm bhindi/okra/lady finger, topped and tailed and cut into 1 cm pieces

1 onion

1 tsp whole cumin

1 tsp coriander powder

Half tsp turmeric powder

Half tsp chilli powder

Pinch of mango powder or amchoor

1 tbsp oil

Salt to taste


Wash chopped bhindi well and leave to dry. Heat oil in a frying pan, and when hot add the whole cumin.

As the cumin sizzles up, add the onion and cook until translucent.

Add the chopped bhindi and all the spices apart from the amchoor. Stir gently until the okra turns dark green and softens.

Finally add salt to taste and sprinkle amchoor before serving.

25 responses to “The first sighting”

  1. asha says:

    I love Okra but most ppl hate it!!!It’s their loss!;P

    I always fry chopped Okra before adding them to any dish.Looks mouthwatering.Enjoy.

  2. Trupti says:

    Oh I Love this stuff….I just posted a recipe for Bhindi too…mine’s a bit different though!

    Amchoor is a nice twist….


  3. Sandeepa says:

    I love Bhindi in all forms and this one looks a killer !!! I even grew Bhindi in my backyard last summer

    A tip might help, wash the bhindi, dry and then chop. If you wash them after chopping there’s alot of those slimy stuff I feel

  4. nandita says:

    well thats the way I usually make okra, except that the washing process is reversed. Okras must be washed and wiped really dry before you attempt to cut them. You will hardly get any slime that way. Besides that the reason water is rarely added in any Indian Okra dish, before the okras are cooked.
    One of the best low carb high fibre veggies around…good post as usual

  5. CookingChat says:

    I might need to give okra another shot (not a favorite veggie of mine yet). My response to your question about pesto was getting long so turned into a new post!

  6. Nidhi says:

    Thats the way my mom makes it and I love it with paranthas, dahi and pickled onion. Evergreen recipe Mallika!

  7. Mallika says:

    Thanks so much for the tip ladies. My mother did ask me to wash and dry the okra first before cutting. But I didn’t see the logic in wiping the outside to get rid of internal slime! So I just ignored her.

    Basic lesson: always listen to your mother!!

  8. Derek says:

    Thank you very much for this delicious and easy to make recipe. I did exactly as you said but only added a bit of extra chilli powder to make it spicier. Yummmy

  9. randi says:

    can I use frozen okra ? How to handle this ?


  10. Mallika says:

    Hi randi – just use frozen okra. It won’t make a blind bit of difference. Only difference is that you will get the slime while you are pan frying it and also it’ll be quite wet. So you have to keep stir frying until both the slime and the moisture go away.

    My frozen okra packs come with “cook when defrosted” instructions. Worth checking yours just in case.

    Good luck!

  11. Deana says:

    Made this tonight…top scores from my hubby! It was so good!

  12. Payday Loan says:

    My supervisor and I thank you your brilliant viewpoint dealing with i Masala – Pan fried okra at Quick Indian Cooking. Your composition might be terribly important principally for voters of San Manuel-Linn !

  13. Jyoti says:

    In Bhindi, it is always adavisable to add Onions after putting the chopped Bhndi in the kardai.

  14. Maya says:

    so glad i found your recipe. I tried it and it was a hit. my only mistake was i think i added a little too much oil but other than that it was simple and yummy. Thank you for sharing the recipe

  15. Radhika says:

    question for jyoti….why is onion added only after adding bhindito the kadai?

  16. kc says:

    I know this is an old post, but I just had to leave a comment. I’m from the southern United States and fried okra is a staple here, too. Granted we usually dredge it in cornmeal before frying, it is very similar. Since I am now allergic to corn, I was looking for another recipe for fried okra that didn’t require my allergen (I don’t care for it battered with wheat flour or boiled which are other common southern preparation methods). This looks great and I have all the spices except amchoor (I’ll have to track this down). We can actually buy okra at all the farmers market around here, but rarely see it in grocery stores anywhere but the freezer section. Can’t wait to try this!

  17. V.RAMESH says:

    four to five cashew grind ed paste added will give a rich taste to it.

  18. Tarna says:

    I remember my neighbor cooking this vegetable and she told me that if you heat the oven and put this vegetable in for a few minutes before cooking it actually gets rid of the slime. I still have to make up my mind about this vegetable as I have seen people eat it and the slime is just all over their hands yuk

  19. Jairo Griggs says:

    Thanks-a-mundo for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  20. Dolores says:

    This was delicious. Years ago I had a similar dish at an Indian women’s house, and have been trying to duplicate the flavors. This was close! I added a few tablespoons of chick pea flour at the end and fried for a bit more. Yum! Thank you, Mallika

  21. Mallika says:

    So pleased to hear it came out well Dolores

  22. Dr Singh says:

    Okra is truly delicious. Add aamchoor (dried mango powder) to prevent it going slimey if you want to make it more saucy. You can then add water to the dish or more tomatoes.

  23. Steve M says:

    thanks…. been eating a delicious Okra dish at local Chaat restaurants here in the San Francisco Bay area. I am used to Okra in southern us dishes such as gumbo but have wondered how else it could be used… First problem is finding okra around here… solved by visiting an Indian Grocery store. Took it home and my wife, native from Oklahoma, yelled with delight probably as much as your mom…. We cooked it following your recipe with the addition of garlic along with the onion…. fantastic…

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