Garam Masala Tuesdays: Okra “Bhindi” cooked in Onions

by Shumaila

Okra- you either love it or hate it.

There is no middle path with it.

It falls in the same category of foods as mushrooms.
You either hate mushrooms or you love them.
V doesn’t like mushrooms.
Thankfully, he loves okra.
So do I.

It’s one of my all time favorite vegetable.

Growing up, this was my daily serving of greens.

Considering my love for okra, its actually a wonder okra hasn’t come up on my blog sooner.

The main reason is that I have never been able to photograph okra well .
(Not that I am able to photograph other things well, but the others have still met my not so stringent criteria for passing the test).

For this post also, I did debate with myself and was almost about to not post anything at all (Yes, I am not happy with the pictures)

But then this blog is about food.
(not pictures, I reminded myself)

And this dish is absolutely delicious, that is if you are an okra fan. So I had to share this post with everyone.

Okra in India is called “Bhindi”.

We also refer it as “lady fingers” in India, as its considered best when it is the diameter of a woman’s ring finger.

There are tons of ways okra is cooked in India.

In south, you have a delicious okra dish that is cooked in coconut and yogurt.

Rajasthanis deep fry their okras to make a crispy and spicy dish.

Punjabis cook it with a lot of onions and green chilli.

This recipe is more inclined to the punjabi way (that’s what I have grown up eating)

You can add ginger, garlic and other spices, but I like to remain true to this vegetable and let its taste shine through the dish.


Most cooks are scared of okra, because of its slime. A tip to minimize the slime factor is to make sure the okra is dry before your start cooking it. I generally wash the okra in the morning and keep it in a colander lined with paper towels to dry it off for atleast 2 hours.

Okra becomes slimy when cooked in a watery environment—in a stew or a steamer basket, for example. Stir-frying or sauteing in hot oil, in contrast, keeps the slime within the okra pieces.

This is my go-to okra recipe. A note about covering the okra while cooking. My mom never covers it, and cooks the okra on high heat till the slime goes away, and only then reduces the heat. My mom-in-law, on the other hand, stir fries the okra for a minute on high heat and then covers it and lets it cook on lower heat. To appease both women, I used a combination of both.


  • 600 gms okra/”bhindi”
  • 340 gms petite whole onions
  • 150 gms red onions, chopped big (to resemble the petite whole onions- you could use all petite whole onions but I only had half a bag of them and did not find it enough)
  • 1 tomato
  • 6 green chillies (add more if you can handle the heat- this is the star of the dish)
  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 heaping tsp roasted cumin powder
  • A generous pinch of turmeric powder


  1. Finely chop the green chillies.
  2. Julienne the ginger.
  3. Dice the tomato into big pieces.
  4. Slice the okra into rounds (about 3/4 inch)
  5. In a large skillet heat oil. Add the onions.
  6. Fry till they are light brown.
  7. Add the green chillies and saute for a minute.
  8. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt, to taste. Mix it in with the onions.
  9. Add the okra and cook on high for a few minutes, occasionally stirring it to ensure that the okra/onions do not stick to the bottom.
  10. Add the tomatoes and ginger. Cook on medium-low, covered for 6-8 minutes more.
  11. Add the roasted cumin powder and garam masala and increase the speed to high, stirring occasionally again.
  12. The okra should be tender now. Add lemon juice and remove from heat.
  13. Garnish with some cilantro/coriander leaves and serve hot.