Bharwa bhindi is a delicious Indian-style stuffed okra recipe that's very easy to make and gets ready in less than 30 minutes. It's a vegan dish that can be served in any Indian meal of the day, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Though winter is my favorite season, there are a few things that make summer tolerable for me. These reasons are mangoes, fresh okra, jackfruit, and my memories of school's summer break when we used to visit our grandparent's house.
In India, the market gets filled with fresh okra and mangoes as soon as summer starts. These two things are loved by almost every Indian.
There are a lot of different ways in which okra is cooked in India and today I am sharing a North Indian-style okra recipe called Bharwa bhindi.
Bharwa means stuffed in Hindi and bhindi means okra. So Bharwa bhindi is Indian-style stuffed okra.
This simple dish is also made in different ways as people stuff okra with different ingredients. I am sharing the most basic way of making stuffed bhindi where only a handful of very basic Indian spices are used in the filling.
- What goes in bharwa bhindi?
- Ingredient notes and substitute suggestions
- How to make (step-by-step instructions)?
- Serving tips
- How to store?
- Can stuffed bhindi be frozen?
- Re-heating tips
- Recipe tips and tricks
- Frequently asked questions
- More, easy Indian okra recipes
- More recipes for Indian-style vegetables
What goes in bharwa bhindi?
To make this bharwa bhindi fry, you will need the ingredients shown below:
Ingredient notes and substitute suggestions
- Okra: Use fresh tender okra of medium or small size.
- Coriander powder: It's the powdered form of dried coriander seeds.
- Asafoetida: Also known as hing, it's the gum resin obtained from the roots of ferula plant. It is used as a spice in many Indian dishes. Hing has a very strong and pungent acquired taste and aroma. If you can't find it, skip it. Bharwa Bhindi is not one of those dishes in which asafoetida can not be skipped.
- Dried mango powder: It's the powdered form of dried raw green mangoes. Also known as amchoor powder, it's used to give a sour taste to a lot of Indian dishes.
- Cooking oil: I prefer mustard oil for making this dish. Feel free to use any cooking oil of your choice.
How to make (step-by-step instructions)?
Step 1: Wash and pat dry okra. Remove the head and tip of okra and make a vertical slit on them.
Step 2: In a bowl, mix salt, coriander powder, crushed fennel seeds, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, garam masala, dried mango powder, and asafoetida.
Step 3: Slightly open the slit of okra and evenly stuff around ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of spice mix inside, depending upon the size of okra.
Step 4: Keep the spice stuffed okra aside.
Step 5: Heat oil in a pan or cooking pot with a heavy flat base. If using mustard oil, heat till it reaches the smoking point and then switch off the stove. Allow the oil reaching room temperature and then switch on the gas again.
Step 6: Evenly spread the stuffed okras in single layer in the pot.
Step 7: Pour around 2-3 tablespoons of water from the corners.
Step 8: Cover the cooking pot with a lid.
Step 9: Cook covered for around 10-12 minutes on a medium flame.
Step 10: Once the okra gets cooked from one side, gently flip them over.
Step 11: Cover the pot again and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Step 12: Remove the lid and gently stir. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the okra gets cooked from all the sides.
Your delicious stuffed bhindi is ready to be served.
Bharwa bhindi is served with Indian flat bread like roti, paratha, or naan.
You can also serve it as a side dish with rice and dal.
How to store?
Since no onion or tomato is used to make this stuffed okra, it has a longer shelf life. You can refrigerate it in airtight containers for around 5 days.
Can stuffed bhindi be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze stuffed bhindi.
To freeze, spread on a baking tray in a single layer and then freeze for 3-4 hours. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container and then store them in the freezer for 3-4 months.
It's easy to break okra if stirred too much so the most convenient way to reheat bharwa bhindi is to microwave it for a few minutes.
To reheat on stove top either add some oil or a few teaspoons of water then cover the pot and cook covered for a few minutes on a low flame. Avoid stirring too much.
Recipe tips and tricks
- Use tender okra of medium or small size to make this dish.
- Sometimes okra also has small black-colored worms in them, especially the ones which come during or after the monsoon season. So, while sliting okras, make sure to check the worms and discard the okra with worms in it.
- Always use a heavy-bottomed pan to make stuffed okra.
- Stir okra gently and less frequently otherwise, it will break.
- You can also add a few tablespoons of roasted chickpea flour (roasted besan) to the filling for more flavor.
- Minced or powdered garlic can be added to the stuffing for making it more flavorful.
- Though generally it's recommended not to add water to any okra dish if you want to make it slime-free, this dish is an exception. I have added 2-3 tablespoons of water to cook it and also cooked it covered but that won't turn bhindi slimy. I learned this tip from a friend and was not convinced initially but after trying it once I follow it every time I make bharwa bhindi. Adding a little water also helps in making this dish with less oil.
Frequently asked questions
Naturally asafoetida is gluten-free but some brands add flour to it while processing. So, if you are on a gluten-free diet, make sure to buy gluten-free asafoetida.
No, to make bharwa bhindi you will need fresh okra.
More recipes for Indian-style vegetables
Seasonal vegetables are an important part of Indian food. If you are looking for ideas to cook vegetables in Indian style then the following Indian vegetable recipes are worth trying:
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Bharwan bhindi-stuffed okra
- Cooking pot/ pan with heavy flat base
- 400 grams okra small or medium-sized
- 1.5 tablespoons coriander powder
- ½ tablespoon roughly crushed fennel seeds or fennel powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchoor powder)
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
- Salt to taste
- 2.5 tablespoons mustard oil or any other cooking oil of choice
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- Wash and pat dry okra. You can keep them folded in a kitchen paper towel for an hour.
- Remove the head and pointed tips of okra and make a vertical slit on them.
- In a bowl mix all the spices and salt.
- Slightly open the slit of every okra and fill around ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of spice mix inside them, depending upon the size of okra.
- Heat oil in a pan or cooking pot with a flat base. Place all the stuffed okras in a single layer on top of the hot oil.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of water from the corners and cover the pot. Cook covered on a medium flame for around 10-12 minutes or until okra get cooked from one side.
- Remove the lid and gently flip the okra.
- Cover again and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the lid and gently stir fry for another 1-2 minutes or until evenly cooked from all the sides.
- Use small or medium-sized okra in this recipe. Don't take large ones.
- Stir okras gently otherwise they will break.
- You may also add minced garlic or garlic powder to the filling for more flavor.
- Don't add a lot of water, 2-3 tablespoons will be more than enough. The only purpose of adding water is to let the okra get cooked in moisture without getting burned.
- More recipe tips and tricks are given within the post above, please follow them to make this recipe.