Bhendi Masala Maharashtrian Style

Bhendi Masala is a traditional Maharashtrian style spicy bhindi masala made with okra that is deep fried and added to a spicy and tangy spice mix powder that makes the okra delicious, flavourful and mouth-watering. The fried cashew nuts added to this dish enhances the flavours and gives crunchiness to the dish.

Bhindi is an excellent vegetable and bhendi masala is a popular main course dish made with bhindi cooked with spices and served with chapatti or roti. The name of the dish itself gets juices flowing in the mouth as bhindi is one of the favourite vegetable among many especially kids.  Dry, shallow fried, spicy masala filled bhindi is a heavenly experience in every bit and it’s a choice food during special occasions and festivals.

Bhindi or Okra is a wonderful vegetable which is found in several parts of the world and called by various other names such as Lady’s finger, Okra, Bamia, Gumbo, Bendakaya, Vendakkai or bendai etc.  It is said that the name ‘Okra’ is of West African origin. Bhindi or Okra is popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisines. They are either stir-fried with spices, pickled, salted or added to gravy based preparation such as Bhindi gosht, add in sambar (in southern India), stuffed with masala (gutti bendakaya kura), made into a spicy chutney (bendakaya pachadi), added to stews etc.  Other very popular recipes of bhendi are Bhindi – Prawn pulusu, Bhindi Jaipuri, Bharvan bhindi etc. In Middle Eastern countries and other parts of the eastern Mediterranean regions, Okra is widely used in thick stews made with vegetables and meat.

Okra has a unique flavour and thickening properties makes this vegetable a suitable addition for soups and stews. To prepare this bhendi masala, it is best to choose for tender and small variety of okras. Wipe them with a damp cloth and allow it to dry completely before cutting.  For this preparation, you just need to slit one side along the length to create a pocket for the filling. Be sure to use tender okra and add enough stuffing in each okra. The highlight of this dish is all in its stuffing. The combinations of ingredients that go into the stuffing are extremely flavourful hence do not skimp of the quantity of stuffing used in for each okra.

For preparing this appetizing and mouth-watering Bhendi Masala, firstly just slit on one side of the small okras and keep aside. Heat oil in a kadai to deep fry the okras, when the oil is enough, deep fry the okra pieces until crisp. Remove, drain the oil and shift into a bowl and keep aside. Take some cashew nuts and deep fry until slightly golden in colour. Remove and add this to the okra.

In another pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and add sesame seeds, sauté and when they sizzle, switch off the flame and add red chilli powder, roasted peanut powder, coriander powder, jeera powder, amchur powder, pinch of turmeric and garam masala, goda masala, salt to taste, sugar, freshly grated coconut and chopped coriander. Mix all these ingredients well. Add in the fried okra and cashew nuts to this spice masala and mix well (add little oil if required). Serve hot. Best serve with phulkas, parathas, or rotis and any kind of thick dal on the side.

Tips: Add half fried onion pieces and mix with the okra and spices. This enhances the taste and flavour of the Bhendi masala.

Choose small and tender okras for fast cooking and better taste. Do not choose those with hard seeds.

Never add water while cooking bhindi otherwise curry will turn sticky. Use wide bottomed non-stick pan (kadai) to make it crispy and cook faster.

Add 2 teaspoon sugar while preparing stuffing for balanced sweet, sour and salty taste. You can also prepare stuffing in advance and store it in airtight container in refrigerator and use it for up to 7 days.

There are several health benefits of eating Okra. Okra is a popular health food as its high in fibre, vitamin C and folate content. Okra is also known for being high in antioxidants and is also often eaten as part of a weight loss diet since it is both fat-free and cholesterol-free. Okra is also a good source of calcium and potassium. . It is also a good source of Protein and Dietary Fiber. It contains Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Copper, Calcium, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese etc.

Okra is high in nutritional value and must be included in our daily diet.  Do try this recipe and gain the benefits from this humble vegetable. Click on the below link to watch the making of this recipe:

Enjoy Cooking!