After trying several Bhindi Masala recipes, we decided most were too bland and didn't highlight the Okra (Bhindi) well enough. So after some experimentation, we came up with this recipe in which the Bhindi is roasted in the oven. This really seems to do the trick. We get a great spicy Bhindi flavor coming through without much slime. —Dan
4 - 6
3 - 4 cups
Okra chopped in 1/2" - 3/4" chunks
Yellow Onion (medium - large size) diced
Canned Diced Tomatoes (1/2 can)
1 1/2 tablespoons
Fresh ground or finely chopped ginger
Madras Curry Powder
Roasted New Mexico Hot Green Chiles *
Kashmiri or Indian Red Chile Powder *
New Mexico X-Hot Red Chile Powder *
Mustard Oil (if you have it, or sub Olive Oil)
Olive Oil (you can use more but we try to keep it light)
* First a quick discussion about the Chiles. We are big fans of New Mexico style Chile peppers. For the green chiles, you could substitute a wide variety depending on your tastes. The heat of 5 Hot NM Chiles is about the same as 2 Jalapenos. You can go up or down in heat and use Poblanos, Thai Chiles, Jalapenos, or even Bell Peppers if you really want to cool it down. Same goes for the various red powders. You could substitute cayennne, crushed red peppers, liquid hot sauces, paprika, all kinds of things for your specific tastes.
Preheat oven to 425 at low altitude, 450 at high altitude.
Toss the following dry spices into a large mixing bowl and blend them together with a fork: both red chile powders, madras curry powder, garam masala, corriander powder, turmeric powder.
Toss the chopped okra into the spice bowl and mix around to get every piece lightly coated in the spices.
You're going to need a cookie sheet big enough to spread all of this okra out on. You might need to use two smaller ones. I suggest using parchment paper on the cookie sheets as it seems to help keep veggies from burning and makes clean up easier. Spread your okra pieces out on the parchmented cookie sheet(s) evenly. You don't want them crammed together too much but a little touching probably won't hurt.
The roasting time seems to vary with a lot of factors including your own tastes and your oven. Use convection setting if you have it. Go for about 20 minutes but keep an eye on it until you get a feel for how long it takes in your oven. I pull it out when it's softened but still about half crunchy if that makes sense. You're going to cook it to completion on the stove-top so better to take it out of the oven sooner than to burn it. If you're just really unsure, then go 20 minutes and call it good.
While the okra is roasting, heat your mustard oil and olive oil together in a large skillet, large enough to hold all the okra and other ingredients with room to stir. You can just use olive oil if you don't have mustard oil or you can go with all mustard oil if you really like it. It gives a nice kick.
At about medium heat, toss the cumin seeds into the oil and mix around for about a minute and then add the diced onions. Cook until softened.
Once the onions are softened, toss in the fresh ginger and green chiles. Mix this all up good. If the okra needs more time, reduce the heat to simmer while waiting on it.
Once the okra is done roasting in the oven dump it directly into the stove-top pan and add the tomatoes. Note that we tried fresh tomatoes but the flavor just seems to get lost, canned held up better. Turn up the heat to high until you get it back up to boiling and then turn it back down to simmer. Stir, taste, simmer, repeat until it reaches the level of done-ness that your like. At this point, you can add a little salt to taste if you must but don't salt it earlier because supposedly that causes the okra to get more slimy.
Don't forget to turn the oven off !
You can check my other recipes for how I make my Madras Curry Powder and Garam Masala for this dish.