Bhendi Masala (Spicy Okra) is one of my favorite recipes. I am aware that many people have a love/hate position when it comes to okra, but this delicious dish will turn even the most adamant "anti okra" person into an absolute okra lover!
In India, okra is sometimes known as "ladyfingers" because of their thin long shape. When purchasing okra, look for young okra pods with a bright green color and a length of 2-3 inches. These smaller okra pods tend to be typically more tender than the larger ones. Okra is readily available in most large grocery stores and supermarkets. Indian grocery stores will definitely carry okra.
As a time saver, feel free to use frozen okra for this dish. You will need to heat a large dry skillet on high heat, add a little frozen okra and stir fry to thaw it out. Keep stirring continuously and make sure that no water remains in the skillet; this must be done in a completely dry skillet on high heat. This is the key to preventing the “sliminess” that is often associated with okra. Do this in batches until all the okra has been thawed.
BHENDI MASALA (Spicy Okra Stir Fry)
1 lb tender okra, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1" piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp red chili powder, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
juice of 1/2 a lime
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil and then the onions. Sauté until slightly browned and then add the ginger and garlic. Sauté and add the spices (garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, salt & pepper). Sauté and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the okra and mix well to combine. Let cook 4-5 minutes until tender. If you are adding okra that was previously frozen, the cooking time may be less. If the okra looks too dry, add a little just a little oil. Add the lime juice and mix well to combine all of the ingredients. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with warm rotis and Basmati rice.
Try adding some toasted unsalted cashew pieces for texture contrast.