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Bhindi – Okra with tomatoes and onions

2008 January 25
by taiyyaba

This is one of my favorite Desi dishes to make and eat. It’s all about freshness. Fresh okra is fried and then sautéed with fresh onions and tomatoes and sprinkled with bright green cilantro at the end. The tomatoes and onions make the dish slightly sweet and frying the okra keeps the whole thing from becoming slimy and gooey. My usual shortcut of frozen, pureed onions and tomatoes will not work – the fresh onion/tomato mixture is what gives the whole thing the spicy, tangy flavor that makes this dish so delicious.

It’s really not that difficult and completely worth the effort – try it!

Click link below for recipe

Okra with tomatoes and onions

Preparing the okra
– Wash and cut the okra into pieces – about a 1/4 inch dice. With each piece of okra, cut off the stem and a tiny little bit from the pointy part, just to get the black tip off. Then, cut each piece into three or four pieces.
– Heat a layer of oil in a deep sauté pan – not enough to deep fry, but enough to pan fry. Fry the okra pieces on both cut sides so that they get golden brown. Don’t just throw it in there – make sure the cut ends are frying in the hot oil, then turn it over and do the other side. Take them out and drain on paper towels.
– This is an important step – it seals the gooeyness inside so that the entire dish isn’t a big bowl of goop. People (read: My husband) don’t like eating okra because it’s slimy – but because of the frying, there’s no sliminess here!
– For this recipe, I had already fried the okra and frozen it. All I had to do was pull it out of the freezer. Thus – I don’t know how much fresh okra I used – but already fried, it was about a cereal bowl full (so 2 cups?)

Preparing the masala
– 1 large onion or 1 1/2 medium onions, sliced very thinly
– 1 1/2 or 2 medium tomatoes, small dice
– Fresh cilantro, chopped
– 1 tsp. Tomato paste
– 1/2 tsp. powdered cumin [or more to taste]
– 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper [or more to taste]
– Half a jalapeno, quartered
– Salt to taste

– Clean out the oil from the sauté pan. Add a liiiiiitle bit more if necessary. Sweat the onions slowly so they get translucent but not brown and crispy.
– Add in a heaping teaspoon of tomato paste [this isn’t really necessary; it adds a nice color]
– Once the onions are soft, add in the tomatoes, let them cook and get soft a little
– Add in the powdered spices, let it stew together for a few minutes
– Add in the fried okra, let it stew together for a few minutes
– Add in the chopped cilantro [stems and leaves, always] and just let the whole thing come together and get yummy.

Bhindi doesn’t really go well with rice, so serve with naan, roti, or paratha.

One Response leave one →
  1. Fahad Rahman permalink
    January 27, 2008

    Assalaam alai kum,

    I haven’t decided what is more enticing reading your detailed play-by-play or those beautiful pictures. Just like I can’t decide are you a cook who also does photography or a photographer who also cooks! Life’s big questions. You should start photogallery of all your recipes!

    Keep it up maybe after you have a few more, I’ll print them into a book and give them to my wife as a wedding present ;).

    – Fahad.

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