Punjabi Bhindi – A Summer Staple

Bhindi or Okra, also known as ladies’ fingers is widely used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean cuisines.  Packed with vitamins and minerals, these beautiful green pods can be cooked in different ways. Punjabi Bhindi is a simple North Indian recipe in which okra are stir-fried and cooked with onion and spices.  Delicious, healthy and easy to cook – this recipe is a summer staple in Punjabi households. 

In Punjab, two ways cooking okra are popular: katwan  – cut in roundels or bharwan – whole stuffed with spices. This is the katwan version. When picking okra, look for soft and tender pods. Okra that snaps easily when you bend the tip with your thumb is the best.

In Australia, we do not get the soft tender okra that you find in India. So, when I went back home last year, I asked my Mum to cook it and I clicked the pictures for the blog. Like most Indian Mums, my mother never uses a spoon to measure the ingredients.

Serves: 2-3 ppl
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 30 min


  • 500g okra
  • 2-3 medium onions sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp Corainder seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash and dry the okra in advance. If you are short of time, pat the okra with a kitchen towel to dry it. Wet okra will increase the sliminess and will not give a good texture to the finished dish.
  2. Cut the okra into 1/2 inch roundels, discarding the stem and pointed tip.
  3. Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in a wok/kadai. As we will not be covering or adding any water for cooking, you will need a little extra oil to saute the okra without burning it.
  4. Add cumin seeds and coriander seeds.IMG_9614IMG_9613
  5. Add the sliced onions and saute until translucent. Do not brown the onions.IMG_9615
  6. Stir-in all the dry spice powders. Cook for 2-3 minutes.IMG_9616 (2)IMG_9617 (2)
  7. Add the okra and gently mix. Over mixing can make the okra mushy.IMG_9618
  8. Lower the heat and continue to cook without covering. Stir regularly but gently to avoid sticking at the bottom. This is where the extra oil helps to avoid burning. Covering the okra will make it slimy.IMG_9621.JPG
  9. Once the okra is soft, continue to saute on low heat until it starts to get slightly golden.IMG_9620
  10. Once ready, pair it with Dal or Raita and serve with steaming hot phulkas.

Note: Okra reduces in quantity after cooking as the moisture evaporates. Keep this in mind while estimating the quantity required.





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