Simple Okra/Bhindi Masala
This is a simple dry side dish that comes together pretty quickly, and needs simple ingredients. This is inspired by the Bengali dish chorchori or churchuri which is made with a mix of vegetables such as pumpkin, eggplant, potatoes, and almost always spinach, but all I had was okra/bhindi, and I decided to make it with what I have. It turned out really good! The original Bengali dish uses the mix of whole spices called Paanch phoron/paanch puran which is readily available in Indian grocery stores (paanch meaning five in Hindi). The original recipe also uses the spices whole, but I modified it slightly by powdering them coarsely, and adding it at the end instead of in the initial tempering.
Servings Prep Time
4people 5minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Servings Prep Time
4people 5minutes
Cook Time
15minutes
Ingredients
  • 1lb okraapproximate; I typically buy 2 or 3 handfuls of okra for the two of us, and 5/6 handfuls if the kids are home – yes very scientific I know
  • 1medium onion
  • 2small or 1 large Tomatoes
  • 1tsp chili powder
  • 1/2tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2tsp Hing
  • 1tbsp paanch puran/phoron spices, whole
  • 1tbsp Salt
  • 2tbsp oil
Instructions
  1. Chop okra into roughly 2/3 inch pieces, typically cut each into two pieces
  2. Chop onions, tomatoes into small pieces
  3. Coarsely powder the paanch puran spices
  4. They’re a mix of kalonji (black onion seeds), fennel, yellow mustard seeds, cumin, and fenugreek seeds
  5. Heat oil in a kadai/pan/vaanali, and splutter the cumin seeds, and hing
  6. Add the onions, a pinch of salt, and saute until translucent
  7. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 tsp of salt, chili powder and cook until tomatoes are pulpy
  8. When tomatoes look like this, they are done
  9. Add the okra, remaining salt, and give everything a good stir so that the okra is lightly coated with the onion/tomato mix
  10. Stir fry for about 4 minutes, then cover and cook for about 8 minutes, checking every few minutes or so to make sure they are not drying up and sticking to the bottom; if they are, sprinkle a little bit of water; covering will help retain the moisture and cook the okra in the steam
  11. The okra is done when they’re uniformly dark like this; at this point, add the coarsely powdered spice mix, mix it gently, and turn the heat off
  12. Serve with rotis/parathas/pooris
Recipe Notes

The original chorchori recipe uses whole five spices in the beginning, and also whole red chilies; I have modified to use a little bit of chili powder instead, and the spice powder at the end; somehow, I feel the flavor is really delicate when done this way.
Also, the original recipe, if cooked by a Bengali, would be typically made with mustard oil; I am not a big fan of it,I think it’s an taste, so I use whatever cooking oil I use (avocado, typically)
You can get creative with the vegetables used, although typically pumpkin, eggplant (brinjal/aubergine), potatoes, spinach are used; I have made this recipe with Karela (bitter gourd/pagarkai), and it tastes amazing.
Panch Puran/Phoron is made up of cumin, kalonji (black onion seeds), fennel, yellow mustard, and fenugreek seeds
Have fun with it! This is a simple, delicate, quick and easy recipe!