BharwaBhindi is a popular Indian dish where the okra (bhindi) is stuffed with a spicy filling. This dish goes really well with flatbreads like roti, paratha or pooris.
Bhindi is one of my favourite vegetables. Whenever I go vegetable shopping, I make it a point to buy some fresh okra to cook at home. At my home, before marriage, bhindi was usually cooked in two ways: normally a very simple way with little spices.
Sometimes it would be made by stuffing it with spices aka bharwabhindi. Bharwa=stuffed and Bhindi=okra. In this recipe, the okra is stuffed with a spicy filling and then cooked in a pan. It’s a simple recipe with little to no prep work. The only prep work you have to do is to slit the okra and then stuff them with a spice mix. That’s pretty much it, there’s nothing else to chop or prep.
Whenever I make bhindi, I make it a point to let the bhindi air dry. This makes cutting the okra really easy, else it’s a slimy mess. You can do this few hours before you plan to cook it- wash the okra well and then place them on a paper towel and let them dry.
With the stuffed bhindi, obviously it’s all about the stuffing. People use different spices in different proportions. Some people use only few spices, some use besan (chickpea flour) and I used coconut! So my stuffing includes common Indian spices and also coconut.
While the recipe itself is simple, you have to take care while cooking the okra. First, you have to cook it on low heat. If you cook it on high heat, the okra will get brown quickly but it won’t get cooked. Second, you have to keep turning the okra carefully after every 2 minutes or so. This ensures even cooking. And thirdly, always place the stuffed okra in a single layer in a large pan. If your pan is small and the okras are all over each other, they won’t get cooked evenly. So it’s really important to cook them in a single layer in the pan.
So next time you have a bag of okra and you are not sure what to do with it, I suggest you try this bharwabhindi. It will make for a nice change!
Recipe( Serves 4)
450 grams okra/bhindi
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons desiccated coconut powder
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon dried mango powder/ amchur
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon fennel( saunf) powder
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil divided
- Wash the bhindi and let it dry. Then make a cut in each bhindi lengthwise without cutting through the entire length. They should still be joint at one end. Do this with every bhindi and then set them aside.
- To a large bowl add desiccated coconut powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, dried mango powder (amchur), red chili powder, garam masala, turmeric powder and salt.
- Mix all the spices together with a spoon. Then add 2 teaspoons of oil to the stuffing and mix it well with the spices. The stuffing for the bhindi is now ready.
- Take one bhindi and stuff it with the prepared masala. Repeat with the remaining bhindis. Make sure to stuff them well with a generous amount of masala. Set them aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan on medium heat. Place the stuffed bhindi in a single layer in the pan. After 2 minutes, lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pan.
- After 2 minutes, open the pan and carefully flip each bhindi. Cover the pan again and flip the bhindi again after 2 minutes.
- Keep tossing the bhindi after every 2-3 minutes or so until it’s tender and done. This will take around 15 minutes on low heat.
- Serve bharwabhindi hot with roti or paratha. You can squeeze some lemon juice on top before serving for extra tang or also garnish with coriander leaves.