Okra (Bhindi in Hindi) and I have a strange relationship, growing up it was possibly one of my favorite vegetables. I have memories of going over to my mom’s friends place, she cooked the best fried crispy okra, sprinkled with dried mango powder, paprika and salt, YUM! Ever since moving to the States, in the last decade or so I haven’t eaten too much of it. Also I don’t particularly fancy the oil dunked ‘bhindi masala’ served in India restaurants here.
When I was pretty much bored of everything during my last Whole30 in September this year, I re-discovered my love for Okra. It’s high in dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C and low in calories, which makes it a great addition to any meal plan.
These are variations of Okra I’ve eaten from different parts of the world:
Indian – Bhindi fry, potato-bhindi, bhindi masala (cooked with onions and bhindi), bharwan (stuffed) bhindi, bhindi raita (yogurt)
Ethiopian – Bamya Alicha (okra stew), red lentil and okra in spicy tomato sauce
Middle Eastern – Bamieh (okra stew in tomato sauce)
American – Used mostly in Southern cooking, pickled okra, okra fritters
So the Indian grocery stores here have two kinds of Okra, the regular one which is thicker and takes longer to cook. Then there’s this Indian Okra which is what I used for this recipe, its thinner, slender and the texture feels similar to what we get in India.
For the filling, I made a paste in a food processor using a small red onion, cilantro, green chillies, garlic, tamarind, turmeric, coriander powder and salt.
This paste is super versatile and can be used in so many different ways – stir fried vegetables, chicken, marinate fish with this paste and steam it, potatoes, the options are endless.
For this recipe, I stir fried the paste in some oil and cooked it for a few minutes so it doesn’t taste raw and pungent.
I chose to roast this okra in the oven but you can also stir fry it in a pan until cooked. This goes very well as a side with white rice, some soup or roll them up in a tortilla. So YUM!
- 1 Lbs Okra
- 1 Medium size red onion
- 6-7 Hot green chillies
- 6-7 Lobes of garlic
- 1 Cup cilantro (cut)
- 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Powder
- 1 Tbsp Tamarind Juice
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Ghee or coconut oil
- Wash and pat dry the okra
- Cut the top of the okra and vertically slit the okra without cutting it all the way
- In a food processor, add the onion, green chillies, garlic, cilantro, turmeric powder, coriander powder, tamarind juice and salt. Grind to make a paste.
- Add 1 Tbsp oil to a pan on medium heat and cook the paste for 5 minutes or until dry.
- Stuff the okra with the paste.
- Drizzle 1 Tbsp of oil on the stuffed okra.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 325F.
- The stuffed okra can also be pan roasted for 10-15 minutes.