When it comes to certain types of fruits and vegetables my senses take me back to my childhood, those glorious years I spent in Mombasa. I’m nostalgic, allowing my imagination to go back to the days of warm sunny weather, hustle and bustle in the market areas, carts outside the houses with vendors selling various items, kids running around and my favourite was when the fruit and veg vendor would visit every day to deliver our order. Obviously it was always my mum and gran placing the order for the next day so for me it was like lucky dip, there was some veg that I wasn’t keen on and some that I would be highly excited to help prepare. My first encounter with Bhindi aka Okra or lady fingers was unfortunately not a great one it was the slime that got to me and since my first bite it took me months to trial it again. I remember my mum would try making bhindi in various ways but oh no I was so stubborn purely because the bad taste it left. Having said that, it was that one time when she made a fried bhindi and potato curry which my taste buds took a liking to, yes it was full of fat but atleast I was keen to try it again. From that moment onwards my love for this vegetable grew and it made regular appearances on the food menu.
So what’s your take on Bhindi? Do you like it or loathe it? If you have made it do you struggle with it’s sliminess? Well this recipe i’m sure will catch your attention and lure you to try it simply because there is no gallons of oil used and the blend of spices used complement this wonderful vegetable. Above all you taste no slime 😉 . The key to cooking bhindi is to make sure you fry it to prevent the stickiness from forming during the cooking process, here however, instead of frying, it has been baked and the results are healthy, tender and crispy cooked bhindi.
As it’s a Free from recipe you can enjoy this delicious curry either with rice or Gluten free Roti’s, For purpose of photography I have used wheat flour Roti
Bhindi Masala (Okra cooked in a rich tomato and coconut gravy)- Gluten free, Dairy free, Nut free,Egg free
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
350g Bhindi- washed and thoroughly dried
1.5 Tsp oil
1 Medium onion finely chopped
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tsp minced green chilli- can add more if required
1/2 Tsp garam masala
2 Tbsp ground cumin and coriander
250g crushed tomatoes
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp coconut milk- can use light if require
Chopped coriander to garnish
1. Pre heat the oven to 200 degree C or 180 for fan assisted.
2. Ensure Bhindi is thoroughly dry, discard the top and ends and chop into thick slices as shown in picture. Once all chopped, grease a baking tray with oil, spread the bhindi and lightly coat with spray oil and mix.
3. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Once baked remove and set aside.
4. In a pan heat 1.5 tsp oil on medium heat, add cumin seeds and temper, add the onions and sautee for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli, saute for another 2-3 minutes stirring continuously to prevent sticking.
5. Add the spices, stir and allow to cook for 1 minute. Pour in the tomatoes and add salt to taste. Stir and let this mixture cook for 3-5 minutes on low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent gravy from sticking.
6. Finally stir in the coconut milk and add the cooked bhindi. Let this cook for another 3-5 minutes.
7. When ready to serve, garnish with chopped coriander.
1. Purchase tender bhindi’s, to check if they are tender, slightly bend them and they should spring back. If they snap they are not tender.
2. Wash them and dry them thoroughly, any water that comes into contact with bhindi when chopped will release the sticky, slimy liquid.
3. You can quick fry bhindi before adding any spices or mixing them into a gravy.