Bhindi ki Sabzi or Spicy Pakistani Style Okra

At the age of 12 I remember telling a family friend that I knew how to cook. When she asked what I could make I rattled off a list of things and when I said “bhindi” (okra) she stopped me and asked how I cook my Okra. I remember being nervous and subsequently relieved that I could ‘remember’ the recipe. My adult self realizes just how funny that was given that this dish has a grand total of 5 ingredients and that’s including the Okra.

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This is one of my favorite ways to eat Okra and it is one of the things I make when I want to eat a dish that reminds me of home. It also cooks pretty quickly which is a huge plus in my book.

Cumin and red chilli flakes are besties and when this Okra is cooked in a wok/karhai on a medium high flame they toast up nicely and flavor the Okra without it over cooking. I prefer to use Pakistani or Indian Okra for this dish, the seeds tend to be more delicate that their heftier North American counterparts.

Bhindi ki Sabzi / Spicy Pakistani Okra
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

1 lb Okra
3-4 dried whole red chillies
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ rounded tsp red chilli flakes
½ rounded tsp salt
Oil for cooking (a little less than ¼ cup)

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Line up your okra and stack them into as large a pyramid as you can comfortably ‘hold’ while chopping. Slice off the tops and then slice them fairly thinly – approx ½ cm. I ended up with approximately 4 cups chopped.

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Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add the dried chillies and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to brown add the salt and red chilli flakes, stir. I like to add salt and spices straight into my oil because flavoured oil does a nice job of seasoning the vegetables.

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Add the Okra and move it around every few minutes gently so as to not mash it. If it starts to stick then add a teeny bit more oil. The okra should be cooked through in 15 minutes. Cooking time can vary though so just do a quick taste test for doneness. Cooked properly it should retain shape, but be slightly soft. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

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I love this with simple roti and dahi/yoghurt, but it is also yummy with some daal chawal.

19 thoughts on “Bhindi ki Sabzi or Spicy Pakistani Style Okra

  1. I always like finding new okra recipes. For years I’ve disliked it because of the sliminess and overall look, but just like eggplant, I think repurposing the vegetable will make it perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Bhindi is also one of my favorite things to whip up when I’m in a hurry. And you’re right, only a little seasoning is needed for these. Have you tried using frozen bhindi? After I discovered them there was no turning back lol.

    • I use it ALL the time! Except for this sabzi, I like this best with fresh bhindi – gives me the crisp chewy outer bits better than frozen

  3. Pingback: Top 5s of 2014 | Flour & Spice

  4. Sarah do you ever use frozen bhindi? I’ve got a ton stored in the freezer but I’m a bit nervous to cook with it because I have a sneeky feeling its going to become an ikky gooey mess (the question to follow might be: So then why the heck did you buy it?! Answer: Because it looked too convenient to not pick up!!) Any tips/changes to your recipe using frozen bhindi would be appreciated!

    • hahah I totally buy it – in fact when I am being my usual lazy self and making achari bhindi (in the archives, please dont judge me for the awful pic). For this kind of bhindi I use it too, but the texture isn’t as nice as fresh bhindi. it’s also a little less hardy so resist the urge to manhandle it (I am an incorrigible poker/prodder/stirrer), Good luck!

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