Bhindi (okra) is a staple in Indian cuisine. This recipe for Bhindi Masala comes from Slate Magazine. If you were scarred by stewed okra as a child, you might be wary of overcooking your okra here. Don’t be. Counterintuitively, you want to cook it so long it’s just shy of burning. A long frying session will give the okra time to dry out as its liquid evaporates, and that dried out texture is what you want if you’re trying to avoid slime. Your okra’s not done until it looks wilted and deeply browned.
½ cup grapeseed or canola oil
1 pound okra, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 Tablespoon chickpea flour (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (or 1 inch fresh ginger and 3 garlic cloves, minced)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large tomato, chopped (or 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes)
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
¼ teaspoon ground garam masala
Juice of ¼ lemon
Cooked basmati rice for serving (optional)
Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Put the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the okra dry with a paper towel, and toss the okra with the chickpea flour, if you’re using it. When the oil is hot, add the okra and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender and deeply browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, and season with salt.
- Add the onion to the skillet and season it with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s soft and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste, then add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, amchoor powder, and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and jalapeños and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir in the garam masala and cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and stir in the okra and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot, over basmati rice and garnished with cilantro, if desired. (Leftover bhindi masala can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several days.)