A dainty spiced stir fry of bhindi(okra) & pea onions rolled up inside a paratha (flatbread) or alongside dal chawal (lentils & rice) is as easy as a comforting meal.
Many put it off due to the unassuming slime but I have always found the humble okra delicious. It reminds me of school days, when mom packed it in our lunch boxes with flaky ghee laden parathas and mango pickle. Somehow bhindi sabzi tasted better out of a tiffin box than just served on a plate. I did not like sharing lunch on those days.
I think Indian cooking tames the slime of okra in the best way. Stir fried with few spices, the flavor of the vegetables comes through than putting it in stews or deep-frying. You got to trust me that this stir fry might just convert you, if you are not a fan.
I like to use pearl onions in my recipe coz that’s what mom uses, she especially gets them for it. However, you can replace with equivalent amount of onion chunks and that will be just fine. Don’t skip the fennel seeds in the recipe – it makes a lot of difference.
I think that the stir fry tastes a lot better if it is allowed to sit for half and hour or so, the spices are absorbed better as with any indian dish.
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
- 1 lb bhindi (okra)
- 1/4 cup mustard oil (substitute with vegetable/olive oil)
- 3/4 cup thin sliced red onions
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp (heaped) fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 3/4 tsp red chilli powder (or cayenne, adjust to tolerance)
- 3/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp amchoor ( dry mango powder, substitute with fresh lemon juice, adjust to taste)
- 12-15 pearl onions (substitute with about 1/4 cup thick cut onion chunks)
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- pinch of sugar (optional)
- Salt to taste
Wash okra thoroughly under running water. After washing spread them on a kitchen towel and let air dry for at least 2 hours. If you are in a hurry, thoroughly wipe out the okra with paper towels so that they are completely dry.
Halve or quarter the okra lengthwise or cut as you like them. Discard the bottoms and tips.
Heat up the oil on medium in a wok or pan. Add the sliced onions and garlic ,fry for 3-4 minutes till they start to soften. Add the cumin & fennel seeds. Fry for another 2-4 minutes till the onion starts turning brown on the edges.
Add the okra, pearl onions, powdered spices (except sugar & garam masala) and salt to the wok and mix well. Cover the lid and let cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. The okra will soften and turn deep green .
Remove the lid, reduce heat to low and cook the okra for another 8-10 minutes till its cooked. Stir at intervals to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Once the okra & onions are soft, turn the heat to high, sprinkle the sugar and garam masala and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.
Serve bhindi do pyaza as a side dish.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!