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Chai Time: Bhindi Masala

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Hate slimy okra? Us too. Here’s Meherwan Irani’s recipe for Slimy-Okra-Begone Bhindi Masala. It’s vegan, it’s gluten-free, and it’s all thanks to Chef Irani’s mom, Amriti, for passing along her secret for universally loved okra—make it crispy. This North Indian subzi (a.k.a. veggies cooked in gravy) is made with lightly fried okra (a.k.a. Bhindi, a.k.a. Ladyfingers) simmered with tomatoes and onions. Seasoned with ginger, green chillies, garlic, ginger-garlic paste, cumin, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, and Kashmiri chilli powder.

To watch the full IGTV on Instagram, click here. 

Bhindi Masala - Crispy Okra in a Spicy Tomato Gravy


3 cups fresh okra, cut into rings
2 cups safflower oil or other neutral oil with high smoke point
2 cups red onion, chopped
2 cups tomato puree
1 Tbsp green chillies, diced
1 Tbsp ginger, chopped into small chunks
3 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp Spicewalla Cumin Seed
1 tsp Spicewalla Coriander Seed
1 tsp Spicewalla Whole Black Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Spicewalla Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Spicewalla Kashmiri Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Spicewalla Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Spicewalla Cumin Powder
Hefty pinch of Spicewalla Sicilian Sea Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp brown sugar
Roti or tortillas, optional


1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, add okra to the oil and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all okra is fried.
2. Carefully strain the frying oil to remove any debris and then pour the okra flavored oil back into the pan. Add onions, cook until brown and soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with a paper towel.
3. Bring the remaining oil in the pan to a high heat. Add all of the whole spices: black pepper, cumin seed, and coriander seed. Seeds will wiggle when oil is hot enough.
4. Once the spices are wiggly, add in the chillies, ginger, garlic and ginger-garlic paste. Stir and let cook until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Add in your browned onions to finish with the spices, lower the heat to medium and cook for another 2 minutes, adding in powdered spices - turmeric, chili powder, coriander and cumin powder. Stir to incorporate.
5. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and add in tomato puree. Stir to incorporate, adding salt to taste. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently- oil will start to separate along the edges.
6. Once oil is separated and color has turned to a dark red, add in your crispy okra pieces. Stir in the brown sugar.
7. Turn the heat down to low, cover with a lid, and simmer to caramelize.
8. Serve with warm roti or tortillas and enjoy!

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