Bhindi Subzi Recipe (Spicy Okra)

Bhindi Subzi Recipe (Spicy Okra) Recipe

The taste and texture of okra differ drastically depending on the cooking method. I’m not a fan of the "slimier" preparations of okra, so I typically pan fry the veggie to keep it dry. In this recipe I used onion-flavored oil to cook the okra, then seasoned it with the usual Indian spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder and a touch of garam masala. Once the okra was softened, I drizzled it with lemon juice and added a bit of sugar to balance the flavors.

I usually serve this with dal (lentil dish), barbari bread (sesame-studded Persian flat bread) or basmati rice. My mother-in-law and the girls have all gone on vacation for the summer, so it's just Lulu, baby Aria, Daddy (my father-in-law) and me at home. Daddy really enjoys Indian spicy food, so I hope my cooking makes him miss his wife and girls a little less. 


Yields: 6 servings

½ cup vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste (see tips)
2½ teaspoons salt, to taste
1 teaspoon red chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 pounds fresh okra
juice of half a lemon
1 jalapeño pepper
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
4 dried red chiles


Trim the stems of the okra but don't remove them completely. Wash the okra, remove as much water as possible and drizzle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes, then slice them into ½"-pieces.

Stem the jalapeño pepper. Using a paring knife, create a 2-inch incision in the side of the whole pepper.

In a deep skillet, heat ¼ cup oil. Add the okra and pan-fry for 4 minutes until almost crispy. Transfer to a plate.

To the same skillet, add the onion, chili powder, turmeric, ground coriander, red chiles and ginger garlic paste. Mix well. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes until softened.  Add the okra and fresh green chile. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for 10 minutes. Add garam masala, the remaining lemon juice and sugar. Stir well. Add 2-3 tablespoons water, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add cilantro and let sit until ready to serve. Check the seasoning. Add more salt (if necessary) and black pepper.

Serve warm.

Bon appétit!


Indian cuisine almost always calls for ginger garlic paste. It tastes great and is very healthy for you as well. Just clean the ginger, peel with a paring knife, then finely chop it. Place the chopped ginger and 5 cloves of garlic in a blender and add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Transfer to a small jar and store in the refrigerator. You can keep this paste for at least a week in the refrigerator.

I buy okra at the Indian market. Choose small, bright green okra. For optimum freshness, remove as much moisture as possible by wrapping them in kitchen towels while storing them in the refrigerator. You could also roast them to remove the sliminess as mentioned above.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 12, 2013.


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