Aachari Masala Bhindi: Spicy Okra

Aachari Bhindi

Pickled okra

Discussing the logic and usability of the swinging doors installed in restaurants to divide the seating area and the kitchen, I was amazed to see that people always entered from their left. Whether this is a code devised to ensure one does on bump into the other or not is a mystery but it was fun to watch the people serving go in and out from these doors. It looked as if they were robots programmed to act in a certain way.

My discussion took a totally different turn when a chef stepped out of the kitchen. My calling him a chef started a debate that he is cook and not a chef. Both confused and curious, I wanted to know how my friend interpreted the word ‘chef’ and why this person did not qualify to be one.

Chef is more of a creator who invents new dishes, not a person who is just cooking… my friend said. Taking the dictionary as my bible, I googled Webster and here is what I found. Chef is a skilled cook who manages the kitchen (as of a restaurant)…

We all love our okra and the vegetable can be prepared in so many ways: Masala, aachari, bharwa, tawa fry. No matter how you cook it, it turns out amazing and is always a hit. My personal favourite is the masala/ aachari version. Okra is actually a simple recipe to make. Here’s my take on it:

Spicy Okra


  • 1/5 kg Okra, washed and cleaned, chopped lengthwise
  • 3 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Onion, julienned
  • 1 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Ajwain (Carom seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 2 tbsp Curd
  • 1/4 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp Dhania powder, 1/2 tsp Saunf
  • Salt to taste


Heat 1 tbsp mustard oil in a heavy based pan and add the ajwain and hing to let is splutter. Add the green chillies and the red chilli powder, dhania and saunf.

Next add the onions and sauté followed by the chopped tomatoes. Mix in salt (approx 1 tsp), cover and let it cook on a medium/low flame for 5 mins till the tomatoes are soft. Using a potato masher, crush the tomatoes so that they let out water.

Now add the okra and the vegetable oil. Let the okra get coated with the oil so that they look all shiny. Check for seasoning, cover and cook on a low flame. Check frequently and toss else your vegetable might burn.

When the okra is almost done (it should look crispy), add the curd on one side and let it cook for 30 seconds- minute. Now  mix it well with the okra. This gives okra a soft and creamy texture. Add the garam masala,cover and cook for 5 more minutes.

Okra is a versatile vegetable and goes well with almost anything: Chapati, Paratha, Puri. Add to your plate a soothing boondi raita and you’re bound to food heaven after this meal.



  1. Looks amazing, but what I’m not sure what Saunf and Carom seeds are.
    We can get most stuff here in UK… maybe there’s different names for these?
    Great blog!
    Will add you to my links ..(swap?) 🙂

    1. I’m glad you like the recipe Gorman. Saunf is also know as fennel and Carom is called Ajwain. Hope this link helps you out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajwain

      These spices are a staple part of Indian cooking and can be easily bought from an Indian store in UK.

      Thanks for adding me to your blog roll. I’ll be updating my blogroll as well.

      Have a great day!


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