Indulge in a culinary journey to North India by exploring Bhindi Masala, a staple dish that features the unique okra, or bhindi, as its main ingredient.
A Glimpse Into Bhindi Masala
Originating from the North Indian region, specifically in Punjabi-style cuisine, Bhindi Masala is cherished for its semi-dry texture. A common sight in many North Indian restaurants, it showcases an exotic fusion of flavors that bring rich Indian spices to life.
The Okra Component
Also known as Gombo, Okra is the star of the dish. It is often used in a variety of cuisines including Asian, Cajun, Creole, and African, not only for its unique taste and texture but also for its impressive health benefits, notably its anti-inflammatory properties. To achieve the best taste, Okra is usually harvested after it blossoms, between July to October, when its fruit length reaches about 6-7 cm.
The Art of Bhindi Masala Prep
The preparation of Bhindi Masala includes an array of essentials such as sautéed onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes. To add the distinct Indian taste, a variety of Indian spices and herbs are used.
Preventing Okra Stickiness
One of the challenges in cooking Okra is its tendency to become sticky. To prevent this, a few steps must be followed:
- Rinse the Okra thoroughly and remove all water.
- Dry each Okra pod using a clean cloth or cotton towel.
- Cut the Okra into 1 or 2-inch pieces only when it is completely dry.
Cooking Bhindi Masala
Start by heating oil in a thick-bottomed pan, then add the chopped Okra. Sauté it on medium heat until it becomes tender and well-cooked. Once done, remove the Okra and set it aside. In the same pan, sauté the onions, tomatoes, and green chilies. The crushed ginger and garlic paste is added next, followed by an array of spices such as turmeric powder, garam masala, Kashmiri red chilli powder, coriander powder, and optional fennel powder and dried mango powder.
Serving Bhindi Masala
Bhindi Masala is best served hot or warm. It's a great addition to a vegan or gluten-free diet, making it not just a dish with a rich flavor profile, but also a healthy choice.