Bhindi Sabzi Punjabi Style (Bhindi Masala)

bhindi sabzi punjabi styleThere are very few Indian recipes that I just know by heart. You know the ones where you can move through the  motions and never have to think about how much coriander powder or onions to add – somewhere between your hands, mind, and taste buds, it just comes together. For me, bhindi sabzi, baingan bhartha, and masran di dal are my classic ‘by heart’ recipes.

A few months ago I posted a picture of bhindi prep to my Instagram feed which prompted a conversation with my friend Taslim where she mentioned that she was looking for bhindi (okra) recipes. I thought, that’s easy; I can whip up a recipe for you next week! Fast forward three months and I finally have it. For some reason, every time I’ve made this sabzi since that conversation (which is every other week), it’s been on a busy night and I’ve just gone through all the motions before realizing – I didn’t write down the amounts of ingredients I used!

I often get upset at my mom when I’m trying to break down a recipe she makes and she just gives me ‘andaza’ about how much of a spice to use. Sometimes it feels like she’s being difficult, but I realize now how hard it is to translate a recipe that you know by heart into tablespoons and measurements.

{Andaza = best guess, rough idea, or cooking intuition maybe? It’s that sense of just knowing how much salt the okra needs today compared to last time!}

Thank you Taslim for requesting okra – in a strange way, it gave me a better understanding of my mom’s cooking style, and probably bettered our relationship a little. Isn’t it interesting how food can do that for people? This one is for you my sweetest, kindest friend. bhindi sabzi punjabi style recipe, bhindi masala

Bhindi Sabzi Punjabi Style Recipe:

There are a lot of different ways to cook bhindi, but this is a traditional Punjabi sabzi (I think some people call it bhindi masala also). I use mustard oil in this recipe, and that is very common in Punjab, however, in Canada, many people argue that mustard oil shouldn’t be ingested. I’m not a medical doctor so I’ll leave the choice up to you, but personally I feel there are a lot of benefits to adding a little mustard oil to your diet. 

Ingredients:

2 cups of chopped bhindi (please read notes on cleaning and prepping bhindi below before you chop!)
1 chopped red onion
2 finely chopped Roma tomatoes
3 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 inch piece of ginger chopped finely
1 green chili sliced finely (optional)
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Amchur (dried mango) powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1/8 tsp as a finishing spice
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Mustard oil (or any cooking oil) – 1 tbsp
Ghee or cooking oil – 1 tbsp

Fresh cilantro leaves – for garnish (optional)

Method:bhindi sabzi punjabi style recipe, bhindi masala

Start by cleaning and chopping the bhindi. Never wash bhindi directly in water – this will make it a slimy icky mess. Use a wet towel to wipe it down, chop it into whatever size pieces you like, and then let it sit for 15-20 minutes before cooking so it dries out a little on the inside. 

I have to tell you, I cut the bhindi into small circles because I find it easier to scoop up with a roti, but my mom recently told me it doesn’t look authentic that way and I should be chopping it into 1 inch pieces. Your call, you can do it the Pink Chai way, or the Pink Chai Mama way!bhindi sabzi punjabi style recipe, bhindi masalaFry the chopped bhindi in mustard oil, or the oil of your choice on medium to high heat, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes. If you decide to use mustard oil, make sure it’s ‘smoked’ before you add the bhindi. (Heat the oil in the pan with no other ingredients until it reaches a temperature where the first wisps of smoke appear. Take it off the flame and allow it to cool a little before adding the food you are cooking.)bhindi sabzi punjabi style recipe, bhindi masalabhindi sabzi punjabi style recipe, bhindi masalaNext add ghee or cooking oil to the pan, once it’s hot add cumin seeds. Let them sputter for a minute and add the onions. Cook the onions down for 2-3 minutes and then add the green chillies, garlic, and ginger. Cook everything together for another 4-5 minutes on medium high heat and then add in turmeric, coriander powder, amchur (dried mango powder) and  red chill powder if you are using it. Mix everything together well. bhindi sabzi punjabi style recipe, bhindi masalaAdd the chopped tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes on a medium heat. It’s really important that you don’t rush this part of the process, raw tomato taste is not what you are going for. bhindi sabzi punjabi style recipe, bhindi masalaOnce the tomatoes are cooked down, add the okra, salt, and garam masala. Cook everything together on  medium heat for another 10 minutes, or until the bhindi is nice and tender. Do not put a lid on the pot at this point or the bhindi will turn into mush. bhindi sabzi punjabi style recipe, bhindi masalaFinally, plate it up, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with hot roti {tutorial coming soon} and enjoy!

Images by: Aziz Dhamani Photography

 PS: A few of my other favourite recipes; jeera rice, masra di dal, makki di roti

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10 Comments

  1. May 20, 2015 / 1:00 pm

    Thanks for this Raj! I am definitely going to find it once I figure out where to get all the spices in London – I don’t usually have garam masala or amchar masala in my cupboard, for example. Question – why both mustard seed oil and ghee? Can I substitute coconut oil do you think?

    • May 20, 2015 / 1:34 pm

      Hey Serena! The mustard oil seals the moisture in the okra, and the ghee is for cooking the onions. I’ve never tried cooking an Indian sabzi with coconut oil so I can’t help you there, but you can definitely skip amchur and garam masala and you’ll still get a tasty dish. 🙂

  2. salmadinani
    May 20, 2015 / 9:59 pm

    My mom used to make an Indian Okra when we were growing up. Your recipe looks delicious!

  3. gurpreet
    May 21, 2015 / 9:15 am

    I lived off of this sabji when I moved out of my house.

  4. May 22, 2015 / 1:05 am

    Haha, I agree with Pink Chai mama only because it means less chopping!!! I do prefer it smaller though! Didn’t know one was more authentic. Bhindi is one of my favourites too!

  5. May 22, 2015 / 5:59 pm

    andaza is my nemesis. lol. love that you wrote this down and I will try it soon 🙂

  6. May 25, 2015 / 5:58 pm

    I love your pictures they look so yummy. I make Bhindi masala often and this recipe is similar to the one I use. Thanks for the tip on cleaning okra it’s great.

  7. October 1, 2015 / 10:39 am

    So ironic, my neighbor from Kerela was making bhindi as well last night and towards the end added water and coconut milk and let it simmer; making a south Indian bhindi curry.

  8. Aman
    April 22, 2017 / 9:21 pm

    HI raj….love your website and recipes. Im just having a hard time finding a full list of all your Indian recipes. I click Indian recipes but only a couple come up..not the full list.
    I’ve made dal a couple of times and it’s been a huge hit. 🙂

    • April 23, 2017 / 8:47 am

      Hi Aman, Thank you so much! We just switched the website theme over and it’s a bit of a work in progress. I hope to have all the categories fixed up by the end of the week though. That dal is a weekly staple at my house too!

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