Bhindi Masala (Okra With Red Onion and Tomato)
Ready in less than 30 minutes, bhindi masala is a hot and spicy vegetarian main dish perfect for any weeknight. Okra often gets a bad rap, but in this recipe, searing it in ghee preserves its structure, adds texture and seals any potential stickiness. Onion, tomato, red chile powder, ginger and garlic come together to make this a zinger of a dish. Finishing with lime juice adds fresh tartness that balances the heat. If you can’t find fresh okra, frozen works just as well.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 3tablespoons ghee or neutral oil
- 1pound okra, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw), stemmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (see Tip)
- ½teaspoon grated ginger or ginger paste
- ½teaspoon grated garlic or garlic paste
- 1large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- ¾teaspoon kashmiri or other red chile powder
- ½teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1medium plum tomato, finely chopped
- 2 ¾teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2to 3 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼teaspoon garam masala
- Roti or pita (optional), for serving
Step 1In a medium (9-inch) frying pan or wok, heat 2 tablespoons ghee over medium-high for 30 to 45 seconds or until it has melted. Add okra and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes or until okra starts to brown around the edges. (Cooking okra undisturbed helps eliminate the gooeyness.) Stir once so the sides with less color can brown next, then cook for another 5 minutes or until all the okra is brown around the edges. (This may take slightly longer if using frozen okra.) Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Step 2Add the remaining 1 tablespoon ghee to the same frying pan and heat over medium-high until it melts. Add ginger and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, until the raw smell dissipates. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. (The onions should still have a little bite.)
Step 3Lower the heat to medium and add red chile, coriander and turmeric, and stir until the masalas are uniformly mixed with the onion, about 30 seconds. Add tomato and salt. Continue cooking on medium until tomatoes break down, about 5 minutes.
Step 4Add okra back to the pan and mix until incorporated. Sprinkle with lime juice and garam masala. Serve with roti, store-bought pita or by itself.