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. I 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.

Cooking (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.

  • 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
  • 1/2 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


  • There is no substitute for amchoor or mango powder in this recipe. You can buy it from local ethnic stores or online here.
  • 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.

25 thoughts on “Bharwan Bhindi – Indian Stuffed Okra

  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. 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 🙂

    • Vegetables are more sought after in our household after heavy winter eating. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. leafandlemon – – Hi: My name is Sonali. I live in the NYC area and I love eating and creating clean and nutrient dense recipes. Visit me at my new blog instagram: leafnlemon twitter: cafesonali
    leafandlemon on said:

    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!

  5. 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.

    • 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?

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