Bharwan Bhindi – Indian Stuffed Okra

Sinfully Spicy - Bharwan Bhindi , Stuffed Spicy OkraIt has been a couple of weeks since we went meatless in the house.Not even eggs.No we are not turning vegetarian but it was a good break.Nothing forced or intentional, just a choice. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years during my teens but other than that its been a lot of years since I did it again.To tell you the truth it was both exciting and difficult.I severely missed my morning eggs and those runny yolks I soak toasted bread with. I skipped eating out at my favorite Thai restaurant which makes the most awesome shrimp rolls and cashew chicken in the area.Once or twice, I longed for chicken & fish curry too. Sinfully Spicy - Bharwan Bhindi , Stuffed Spicy OkraI admit that I rediscovered my love for certain vegetables – particularly asparagus and red cabbage. I don’t want to sound pointless but when you have meat options, your creativity is slightly adulterated by the temptation to combine it with vegetables (or its just me).That said, I could have never imagined that I could love crunchy asparagus & pea stir fry spooned over a bowl ghee rice. Or a ripe,split avocado filled with beans and drizzled with lots of yogurt & salted nuts. Infact, these few weeks gave me a chance to explore tofu recipes.Till now tofu always struggles in comparison to paneer in our kitchen but for now, it has found a little niche on our table in this salad. I guess it’s all about giving a chance & a little bit of creativity to let those vegetables feed you in a nice, clean way. Sinfully Spicy - Bharwan Bhindi , Stuffed Spicy Okra

Sinfully Spicy - Bharwan Bhindi , Stuffed Spicy OkraCooking (and eating) okra did not come difficult though. It’s a summer staple and I have a small list of recipes from my family & a (yet to be tried) long one from far-fetched relatives to put okra to a tasty treat. In fact, before coming to the States I could never imagine someone not liking okra.It is just so delicious in the ways it’s cooked in indian cuisine.

Though slightly time consuming if making a big batch,but bharwaan (stuffed) bhindi (okra) is worth all the effort. A spicy, semi-wet masala base made with onions, garlic and chickpeas flour is filled into tender, pierced pods and then they are lightly stir fried with a spoon or so of thick yogurt. This is something which tastes better even the next day when the flavors develop a lot more. The key to keep away the slime and retain the color is to cook it uncovered on low heat for most of the time. It’s best served alongside skillet fried flatbreads (paratha) or soft roti and naan.

Sinfully Spicy - Bharwan Bhindi , Stuffed Spicy OkraPrintable Recipe Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1 lb okra
  • 3 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with olive/vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup red onions, very finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5-2 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup thick sliced onions (optional)
  • 1 tbsp thick plain yogurt
  • pinch of sugar

Note – 

  1. There is no substitute for amchoor or mango powder in this recipe. You can buy it from local ethnic stores or online here.
  2. If you want to make a vegan version of this recipe, replace yogurt with 1-2 tbsp of water and squirt lemon juice at the end of cooking.


Thoroughly wash okra under running water. Spread the washed okra over a kitchen towel for at least 1 hour to completely dry out. If you are in a hurry, use paper towel to remove all moisture from it. If the okra is not dry, it will be slimy.

Using a sharp knife, cut out the bottom of each pod and make an incision (lengthwise) in the centre of the pod but not all the way through. Set the pods aside.

In a skillet ( I used my 12 inch) or a wide kadhai, lightly dry roast the besan on medium low heat till you smell a nice aroma. About 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Add 3 tbsp of oil to the skillet and heat it up.If using mustard oil you will need to heat it just before it starts smoking to do away the raw smell. Add the chopped onions and garlic to it and sauté for 5-7 minutes or till they start turning brownish. Reduce heat to low and add the coriander, chili, cumin powder, fennel seeds, turmeric and amchoor to the onions and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the roasted besan and salt to taste to the skillet and mix well. Turn the heat off. Let this spice paste (masala) cool down for 8-10 minutes or till comfortable to touch.

Stuff each pod with a teaspoon or so of the masala and place them on a plate. You will have leftover masala,we will use it up. Heat up a table spoon on oil in the skillet again on very low heat and add the leftover masala to it. Add the yogurt too, sauté for a minute and so and place all the stuffed okra and thick cut onion on the skillet. Try to place them in a single layer if possible. Gently toss them so that they are lightly covered in the yogurt.  Now on medium low heat, cover the skillet with a lid and let cook for 3-5 minutes until you see the green color getting rich and the okra becoming shiny.

Remove the lid, sprinkle the sugar and continue to cook uncovered for another 8-12 minutes or till tender and soft. You can gently toss them in between.Once they are soft,crank up the heat to high & sauté for about a minute or two.Check the salt at the end of cooking and adjust. Serve immediately with hot flatbreads.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!


  1. This sounds so yummy and different! I haven’t experimented with okra much but I’ve always loved it pickled:) I’ve been vegan for a little bit and I love how adventurous it makes me with vegetables! Enjoy your meatless days!

  2. Yes, not eating meat does force you to become more creative. I think everyone should go meatless at least a few days of the week. Oh, and that asparagus and pea stir-fry you mentioned sounds delicious.

    The bhindi looks great. Gorgeous, gorgeous photographs! You’re a really amazing photographer, your work recently has been blowing me away!

  3. Preiyanka says:

    I have been more into vegetarian food off late and have fresh okra in the kitchen too.

    Will try today!

  4. This dish looks ever so good! A fabulous way of serving okra.

    Gorgeous pics as always.



  5. Gorgeous! I have to admit that I only cook stir fry and bharwan bhindi! Would love you to share all the recipes :)

  6. This looks delicious! Great pictures too.

  7. This looks delicious. Its been ages, I had the stuffed okras. Got to try it!!

  8. I love okra, and while we stuff lots of veggies (belle peppers, zucchini, tomato) I never even thought of stuffing okra, what a wonderful recipe! After months of heavy winter eating, I just want to enjoy some lighter veggie recipes thanks for sharing :-)

  9. Deepa says:

    simply delicious and fulfilling to look at stuffed Okra. Wonderfully prepared.

  10. leafandlemon says:

    Great recipe and photos!! Okra is my favorite vegetable. I make it with mustard seeds, turmeric and chili powder. It is so simple yet tasty. Never gets old!

  11. Oh yum! I am craving this right now!

  12. Im a recent bhindi convert. Never ate it growing up but I only make a quick stir fry with onions and tomatoes. I especially love besan stuffed veggies – I have bhindi in the fridge and amchoor in my pantry so this recipe is happening this weekend.
    gorgeous photos – so appetizing.

  13. Okra is made very often at my house as it’s my little one’s favorite. Going to try your recipe. Looks fabulous!!

  14. Hi, I tried this recipe in the oven..turned out great.thanks

    • Thanks a lot for trying out & your feedback. For the convenience of other readers could you indicate a short description of how you did it in the oven?

  15. dassana says:

    i prepare a similar variation minus the yogurt. will try this version tanvi. i have bookmarked this recipe.

  16. I can never get enough of bhindi, especially bharwan bhindi as gorgeous and appetizing :)


  1. […] we were vegetarian for a while, I cooked it again and spooned it over ghee rice – what a fantastic lunch it […]

  2. […] looking, slender beauties pair with earthly flavor of starchy potatoes so well. On the lines of stuffed okra, I always add fennel seeds to my okra recipes and you will need to do that to know how deliciously […]

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