Bhinda Nu Shaak /Stir Fried Okra
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RECIPE: BHINDA NU SHAAK/ STIR FRIED OKRA
Bhinda Nu Shaak/ Stir fried okra is a simple and yet very flavourful side dish which is usually enjoyed with some roti and dal (lentil curry). Generally, every day Gujarati style shaak or sabji tend to have simple spices and are easy to make.
What is Bhinda?
Bhinda is the Gujarati name for lady fingers, okra, or as more popularly known as bhindi in Hindi, Bendekayi in Kannada, Dhenras in Bengali, Vendai in Tamil. Popularly used in the Caribbean to make gumbo, its prepared in different ways in India. Bhinda or Okra is a very popular vegetable in India and surprisingly a favorite with many kids too. Open a number of tiffin or lunch boxes and you’re bound to find bhinda or okra with some roti. The origin of okra or bhinda is disputed as some claim it to be from West Africa, some say Ethiopia and others believe its from South Asia. The name Okra originates from a West African language. Did you know that Bhinda or Okra is actually a seed pod?
Did you know that besides the green bhinda/okra there are purple ones too? The first time I saw purple bhinda was at my sister in law’s farm in Kitengela. The purple ones were exported to Germany where they use it to prepare soups and stews. Bioligically, Okra is not a vegetable but a fruit. When you cut the pod it is slimy and on cooking it becomes even more slimier. That’s why is recommended that when you wash the okra, you should wipe it dry. Usually, overcrowding chopped okra or bhinda in a pan will make it more slimy. AN acidic ingredient like tomato, tamarind , lemon juice or yogurt tends to reduce the sliminess.
Bhinda/Okra on my table
Bhinda/Okra is available in Kenya practically throughout the year. There are days when I get so tired of bhinda/okra as the vegetable lady brings only that besides potatoes and cabbage. Thankfully, my family loves bhinda in any way that I prepare it. Hubby and my eldest son love bharela bhinda nu shaak (stuffed bhindi) which really goes well with dal of any kind. My all time favorite is bhinda ni kadhi (okra in yogurt gravy), daughter loves bhindi masala, bhinda/okra prepared with some onion, tomatoes, garlic and several spices. What I’d really love to try is Sujata’s Sarson Bhindi, made in a delicious mustard and poppy seed sauce. There are so many different ways to prepare bhinda.
Nutritional Facts about Bhinda/Okra
- Low in calories and carbs, it contains fibre and some protein.
- Its rich in Vitamins C and K.
- Rich in oxidants like polyphenols which improves heart health.
- The slimy substance is called mucilage which can bind cholesterol during digestion and is excreted with the stools.
- Contains a protein called lectin which inhibits the growth of human cancer cells. However, more tests are still in progress.
- Inclusion of okra/bhinda in ones diets helps to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
- Okra contains folate which is an important nutrient for pregnant women.
What is Bhinda nu Shaak?
Shaak is a Gujarati word for vegetable. Any vegetable prepared with or without gravy and is served with paratha, roti or rice is shaak. Bhinda nu Shaak is a simple vegetable or side dish with few spices. Its usually served with roti and a dal. When you buy bhinda or okra, make sure they are tender and green. To check for tenderness, snap the tail end with your thumb. If it snaps easily then the bhindo (singular for bhinda) is tender and fresh. This stir fried version of shaak is easy to prepare and we love it with plain yogurt on top.
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Growing up, I wasn’t too fond of bhindi as I didn’t like the sliminess. However, over time, have grown to love this vegetable or rather fruit.
First Published on 06/08/2012. Updated on 16/10/2021
- gluten free
Ingredients Required For Bhinda Nu Shaak/ Stir Fried Okra
- Okra – also known as lady fingers, bhindi. Wash and dry them well before slicing them. Snap the end of the okra with your thumb. If it snaps easily then the okra is tender. More mature okra does not cook well.
- Oil – any of your choice.
- Mustard Seeds – rai.
- Cumin Seeds – jeera, jiru
- Carom Seeds – ajwain, ajmo
- Turmeric Powder – haldi, hardar
- Red Chilli Powder – lal mirch
- Salt – add according to your taste. Add when the okra is nearly cooked. If you add at the beginning the okra will become very slimy.
- Asafetida – hing. Optional. If you are following a gluten free diet, don’t add asafetida as it contains wheat flour. The other option is to buy gluten free hing.
- Coriander Cumin Powder – I make this at home. Click here for the recipe.
- Fresh Coriander – washed and chopped
BHINDA NU SHAAK / STIR FRIED OKRA
- 500 g okra
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp carom seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ -1 tsp red chilli powder
- a generous pinch of asafetida
- 1 - 1½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp coriander cumin powder
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- Wash the okra and wipe them dry with a kitchen towel.
- Cut off both the ends.
- Slice the okra into rounds of about ½" thick.
- Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
- When it is hot add mustard seeds first. Then add cumin and carom seeds.
- Add asafetida and turmeric powder.
- Immediately add the sliced okra or bhinda.
- Mix well.
- Reduce the heat and cover the pan.
- Let the okra cook for 10 minutes. Occasionally lift the lid and stir the okra gently.
- Remove the lid and cook the okra for a further 7-10 minutes. Check to see if you're able to cut one piece easily with your spatula.
- If you can, then the okra is cooked.
- Add red chill powder, dhana jiru and mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat. Add salt and mix well.
- Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve with roti and dal
- I usually wash the okra at night and layer it on a newspaper sheet or a kitchen towel so that they dry overnight.
- Do not add salt at the beginning otherwise the okra will turn too slimy.
- If not serving bhinda nu shaak immediately then don't cover it. Leave it open till it cools down. Heat it up just before serving.
- This shaak needs dhana jiru which you can easily make at home, roast 1 part coriander seeds and ¼ part cumin seeds. Mix and grind in a blender. Store any leftover in an airtight jar to use for other shaaks.
- Enjoy it with a dollop of plain yogurt.
- If you wish you can add ginger and garlic paste. Stir fry for a few seconds before adding the turmeric powder.
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December 20, 2019 at 2:03 am
I like this dry version of bhinda nu shak, its really strange but my hubby prefers the bhindi cut in rounds where as I prefer strips. It actually makes a difference in the taste depending on which way you cut it .
December 20, 2019 at 5:33 pm
Nayna you’re like my brother, he prefers them cut into strips. Next time will cut into strips and see what hubby says. I like it either way as long as its bhinda 🙂
Mina Joshi (@GiveMeSomeSpice)
December 20, 2019 at 12:55 pm
I love your traditional Bhinda nu shak recipe with lots of dhana jeeru and no tomatoes! I still get surprised when I see recipes with tomatoes or even other vegetables like potatoes, onions, added to Bhinda nu shak. This is exactly how my mum used to make it. Making me feel nostalgic.
December 20, 2019 at 5:32 pm
Thanks Mina, I first came across bhinda nu shaak with tomato at a Shah friend’s home. Coming in touch with people from different parts of India, I’ve also now learnt how to make it with onion and tomatoes the way my daughter likes.
Renu Agrawal Dongre
December 20, 2019 at 3:44 pm
We too make it almost similar. I love bhindi and is one of my favourite food. I am loving this recipe of yours, perfect with some rotis or some dal and rice.
December 20, 2019 at 5:29 pm
Thanks Renu, thats great to know you make it in a similar way.
February 10, 2020 at 9:25 am
I purple okra is interesting. I heard of it but never cooked or tasted it. Bhinda nu shaak looks very tempting. Bhendi is favorite at my home and I make it kind of similar minus hing plus lot of garlic. I am sure even this shaak is very delicious.
February 10, 2020 at 3:02 pm
Thank you so much Usha. Purple okra tastes the same as the green ones. I too love bhindi with garlic.
February 10, 2020 at 8:58 pm
Such a simple yet delicious and addictive okra subzi. My daughter can eat it for every meal every single day 🙂 Beautiful post!!
February 10, 2020 at 9:29 pm
Thank you so much Pavani, my kids too use to and still love the sabji. I’m so glad your daughter loves bhindi that much, makes it easier to pack her lunch box 😉
February 11, 2020 at 5:51 pm
Love bhinda nu shaak with garam garam ghee wari rotli.Though I make many variations by adding onions, potatoes and tomatoes sometimes. But this one is classic and original recipe.
February 18, 2020 at 7:59 pm
Thank you so much Lata, its the most enjoyed version with my family besides the bharela bhinda.
February 11, 2020 at 6:43 pm
Bhindi is my most favourite since childhood & i love it to the core. Yours looking too much tempting and inviting.
February 18, 2020 at 7:57 pm
Thank you so much Shailender.
February 13, 2020 at 12:52 pm
Simple and delicious everyday meal!! my lil one’s only favorite subzi is bhindi, though he has started a liking for yam now, but bhindi is his first love! we almost make the similar way, but never added carom seeds, will try it next time!
February 17, 2020 at 10:58 pm
Thank you so much Priya, many kids love bhindi, my kids too loved it when they were toddlers.
February 13, 2020 at 9:19 pm
This is exactly how I make it but I don’t add carom seeds. That sounds like a brilliant idea and the flavor would have been so good. We all love bhindi in our house and especially my boys. We grow a lot of it just for them 🙂
February 17, 2020 at 10:55 pm
Thanks Sandhya, do try them with carom seeds.
February 14, 2020 at 4:39 am
Stir fried okra is big hit at our house. My kids enjoy this with steamed rice. you recipe sounds yummy!
February 17, 2020 at 10:54 pm
Thank you so much Uma, bhindi is a big hit in our family too.
February 14, 2020 at 5:04 am
Love the green color of your cooked bhindi or bhindi( new name for me!!). this one is my kids favourite Subzi with ghee ki chapatis.. I also add onions to it too. your no onion version is good for guests who avoid onions in their food,
February 17, 2020 at 10:54 pm
Thank you so much Swaty, its called bhinda in Gujarati and we usually make it without any onions.
Sasmita Sahoo Samanta
February 20, 2020 at 5:41 pm
I love this type of simple stir fried dish. This veggie is all time fav of mine so this bhinda nu shaak I love to have with some hot phulka 😉
February 20, 2020 at 8:26 pm
March 4, 2020 at 11:30 am
Oh, I love bhindi and often make this dry version to enjoy with some dal and chapati on the side. Your preparation looks absolutely perfect and delicious…
March 4, 2020 at 8:54 pm
Thank you so much Anshu, its a regular sabji in my home.
October 19, 2021 at 9:57 am
I make bhindi shaak more or less the same way .learnt from my mom all the nuance to avoid the sliminess . Perfect to have with hot fulkas and thick curd ..
October 19, 2021 at 3:00 pm
Ah yes, we too love it with dahi.. mums are the best teachers 🙂
October 19, 2021 at 11:44 pm
Wow! Purple bhindi! Never heard of it sounds interesting. Binda nu shaak looks delicious and I love this version more than any other one. The tips you have here are definitely what will help in keeping the slime out.
October 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm
Thanks Archana. Love the deep purple of the different okra. But they taste the same as the green ones.
October 20, 2021 at 3:26 pm
I look for ways and means to add bhindi all the time. We love it as a vegetable. This dry sabji version sounds a good one fir me to follow.
October 23, 2021 at 7:35 pm
Thanks Seema, like you I always look for different ways to make bhindi. Try this dry version, you will love it.
October 21, 2021 at 7:05 pm
I love bhindi. This bhinda nu shaak looks super tempting with perfect green colour. I add little amchur. One of my most favourite subzi with hot phulkas or curd rice.
October 23, 2021 at 7:33 pm
Thanks Preethi. Am sure with amchur too it tastes good. I usually add it when I prepare it with onion.
October 22, 2021 at 1:33 am
My family loves different versions of bhindi side dishes. This Gujarati style bhindi stir fry looks flavorful and would love to pair it with roti.
October 23, 2021 at 7:32 pm
Thank you so much Amrita. Please do try the simple but delicious recipe.