Bhendi Masala

However infamous they are for being slippery, but slime has seen my daughter play satisfactorily and the sensory stimulation it offered was evident enough even before she could get it on her fingers. Now come to think of the real-life slimy fingers in the kitchen, The Okra.

Bhendi or Bhindi, famously known as Ladies-fingers in India, is a real challenge to cook if one is not well informed to deal with the slimy mucilage content of them. These tiny, tenderly green-fingers are all flavours and not just all slime. I am very mindful when I’m preparing this dish and have most of the time managed to cook to the right flavour of my family’s preference -Bhendi Masala.

To prepare Bhendi Masala, we often go with onion-tomato as the basic gravy and we also like to include some fresh ground coconut at the end to add a creamy texture to this dish.

Here are a few notes to help you know what to expect from these slimy fingers.


 Always briefly rinse them in cold running water and wipe them dry with a cotton towel or kitchen towel and allow it to air dry until ready to slice.

Keeping the okra dry helps with further release of the mucilage as moisture content tends to increase the slime release making it difficult while slicing them.

Trim their tails and slice them into 2 cm pieces or according to your desired length.

Keep a kitchen towel smeared with some cooking oil handy to wipe the slime off from the knife and aim to use a dry chopping board and a dry kitchen knife for the same reasons.

Pan roast them or pan-fry them with no-oil or little oil before using them in the main recipe.

Using a souring agent breaks down the mucilage and helps the slime to integrate with the other ingredients in the recipe.

We mostly prefer tomatoes, or even a dash of dry mango powder does the job.


Bhendi Masala
      Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Makes: 4 servings

500 gms  bhindi/okra (tender )rinsed, dried, trimmed and sliced
3 tbsp cooking oil
1 large onion (1/4 chopped and 3/4 for mincing)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
1” fresh ginger minced
250 gms well-ripened tomatoes, diced and blend
1 tsp of cumin seeds
½ tsp of red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
Salt- as per taste
2 tsp of dry ground coriander powder
½ tsp of turmeric powder
 2 tbsp of fresh coconut paste/milk (optional)
A handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped roughly, to blend and to garnish

  1. First, dice the okra as per the notes are given and then heat a heavy-bottomed pan with a tsp of cooking oil and saute the okra until the the light green colour of the okra changes and transfer them onto a tray until ready to use. 

  2. Then, using a blender or a food chopper or a processor blend ¾ of the onion, garlic, ginger with half the coriander into a smooth green onion paste.

  3. Now, bring the pan onto the heat and add the remaining oil and once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and allow them to splatter. Add the chopped onion and saute until pink and after reducing the heat, stir in the onion paste that we just made and gently allow the paste to cook until the the raw smell of the onion evaporates on a very low flame.

  4. While the onion is cooking, in the same blender, make the coconut paste if using fresh coconut or blend the tomatoes taking care not to splash around the mixture.

  5. Next, back to the pan, add the tomatoes and allow them to come to a boil with the onion paste. Cook covered and when you see the gravy boiling, lower the flame, and add all the dry ingredients and mix them to infuse their aroma into the gravy. Take care of the splatterings.

  6. If needed, you can add hot water to thin the gravy to your desired consistency. Once all the ingredients have come together. Add the pan-fried okra into the pan and coat the gravy onto them thoroughly avoiding over mixing the okra. For the first few mins cook the okra without the lid and later cook covered until the okra looks done or cooked to your desire.

Finally, spruce up the dish by adding the coconut cream or paste and after a stir, cover the lid and turn the flame off.

Serving Suggestions: Bhendi Masala is ready to be served with the leftover coriander leaves garnished on a bed of rice or with any flatbreads of your choice.



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  1. The tip about using a souring agent, well, made my life easy! Thank you!

    1. Hi Sushma
      Yes,souring agent handles the slime in the okra very well. You can use anyone and it all works the same.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I also appreciate that tip to dry them out a bit because they can be so slippery!

    1. Drying them before cutting them help Christie. Try it.


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