Mama’s Punjabi Recipes – Bharvi Bhindi (Spices Stuffed Okra)

Bharvi Bhindi (Spice Stuffed Okra)


While bhindi (okra) may be a favorite in the Punjab, the ever tasteloving Punjabis have found a way to make this vegetable even tastier, especially those pods that have become too big but still do not have the hard ridge stalks in them. This dish is different from the other cut bhindi one in that you actually put salt into the bhindi in order to give it a good taste but the est of the spices should not overpower the taste of the vegetable. The preparation process does ot allow the moisture produced by the salt to accumulate and so the bhindis remain dry. Many Punjabis actually prefer this style of bhindi as each pod has a nice,
spicy taste as do the whole onions. Remember that the secret to good bhindi sabzi (okra dish) is to make sure that the vegetable is completely dry and it is cooked uncovered so that the steam from the vegetable does not ooze into the dish and make it sticky.

• 250 gm bhindi (mediumthickness okra)
• 2 tablespoon tael (veg etable or olive oil)
• 5 small pyaaz (onion) – peeled and slit into fours
• Spices for the masala: 1 tspn namak (salt), 1 tspn mirch (red pepper), 2 tspn dhania powder (ground coriander),
1 tspn amchoor (mango pow der),
1/2 tspn garam masala,
1/2 tspn haldi powder (ground turmeric)


1. Wash the bhindi and leave it to drain in a sieve. Spread out each pod on a soft cloth and pat dry. If you are in a hurry, then instead of washing the bhindi, clean each pod with a slightly damp soft cloth.

2. As with the cut bhindi dish, it is very important NOT to have any water enter the dish before cutting and while cooking otherwise the dish will come out soft, mushy and sticky.

3. Again as with the cut bhindi dish, cut off the stems and the pointy bottoms (the “sar aur poonch” or head and tail!) then cut a slit length wise into the pod. Be careful not to cut the bhindi all the way through. Place the slit pods to the side.

4. Now prepare the masala for the bhindi in a small bowl. Mix all the spices together well and then take a small pinch and stuff it into the slit of each of the pods one by one. Do the same with the onions. Keep the stuffed bhindi and onions to the side. (If small onions aren’t available, you can use sliced onions in their place)

5. In a kadai (wok) or skillet, heat the oil well; throw in the bhindi and the onions. Stir well for five minutes over high heat.

6. Turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes while stirring gently. If the bhindi and onions are still not tender, then halfway cover the kadai and cook for a few more minutes. Do NOT cover the kadai all the way as the steam must be allowed to escape.

7. When the onions and bhindi are tender to the touch, turn the heat off and let the dish stay uncovered to let it cool down.  This will reduce the chance of steamy water settling on the bhindi.

 MAMA'S 2Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her
ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admiredher cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.