Tonight’s Dinner. It’s also my favorite dish to order at pretty much any Indian restaurant I end up at. I love the variations I’ve had of this dish, which simply translates to spiced okra. Although, I’m admitting right now, this doesn’t taste exactly like authentic Indian cuisine–because, ya know, I’m much better at Polish/German/Irish/American cooking.
But! It’s delicious, and pretty spicy in a mild kinda way. Feel free to add more chili powder to jazz it up. Before attempting to make my own Bhindi Masala, I learned some important tips from Manjula about okra cooking that I never knew the hundred other times I’ve made it. First, after you rinse your okra, be sure to pat them very dry, lest your okra get slimy while cooking. Also, you don’t have to cut your okra into cute little ferris wheels to make this dish. Hers looked pretty kickin’ with the pods cut lengthwise.
Bhindi Masala ~ Vegan & Gluten Free
Inspired from bellyfuls of Indian Cuisine and Manjula’s Bhindi
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium sized sweet onion, diced
- 1 medium sized tomato, diced
- sea salt
- 20-30 pieces small to medium sized okra pods
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (or powder)
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing) powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander powder
- dash or two cardamom powder
- 1 tsp rasam masala
- 1-2 tsp red chili powder (Indian, not chili [the stew] seasoning)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp sorghum flour
- 1 small squeeze agave
- 1/2 tsp mango powder
- salt to taste, optional
First, saute your onions, red and orange bell peppers, and tomato along with a dash of sea salt in a little canola or coconut oil until golden brown on edges and onions are translucent.
Next, rinse and pat dry your okra. Slice off both ends and then cut into equal sized rings (about 1/4 inch thick). If you are cutting the okra and get to one that seems very fibrous (or like you are cutting through a screen door), then discard the pod–because it will taste like you are eating a screen door if your pods are too fibrous. The seeds in the bad pods are also usually darker.
In a separate frying pan, heat up about 1- 2 tbsp canola oil just until hot. Test heat by tossing in cumin seeds and asafoetida; the seeds will begin to sizzle when the oil is ready. Toss in okra pods, stir in the remaining spices, and let cook on medium high until slightly tender, about 1-2 minutes.
Stir in sorghum flour, agave, and mango powder to coat the okra. Continue to cook on medium to medium high heat until okra become tender, about 6-7 minutes. Salt to taste.
Stir together with onions and peppers and warm slightly if needed. Serve hot over basmati rice. I garnished mine with some garam masala also, mostly for color, but I really enjoyed the flavor of it as well.