Bhindi Bhaji – Um, Translation, Desi Okra


  • 1 Lb okra – washed, trimmed, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (whole, not ground – that comes later)
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped (tsp of garlic powder works just as well)
  • 2 large tomatoes finely chopped (four heaping tbs of crushed tomatoes from a box instead of a can [Pomi is my fave] works just as well)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (or a bit less if fresh – see, told ya!)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 3/4 tsp salt


1. Prep the ingredients in advance – makes it much easier later; start with prepping the okra and onions and then while the onions are browning, you can measure out the rest

2. Heat the oil in a large (preferably non-stick) pan over medium-high heat.  When hot, add cumin seeds.  Let them sizzle for a few seconds.

3. Add the onion and garlic, stir, and fry until they start to brown.

4. Add the okra, stir, and fry until lightly brown.

5. Add the tomatoes, stir, and cook until the tomatoes are soft and amalgamated.

6. Add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt, stir, and toss for about a minute.

7.  If you like them dry, stop right there and just let the ingredients meld for a short while before taking it off the heat.  If you like them soupy, then add 2/3 cup water, simmer, cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes  until you are happy.

8. Call me over when it’s ready.

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe which apparently was taken from Rita Themudo’s recipe for Bhindi Bhaji in Flavors of India.


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