Besanwali Bhindi


How to Cook Indian

Published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Baby okra is tender and cooks rather quickly. In this recipe, I love the sweetness of the shallots and the crispness that the besan imparts to the dish. I recommend serving this with dal and roti for a perfect everyday Indian meal.

NotesGround Roasted Cumin

This is an excellent topping for raitas (yogurt sauces; page 65) or chaats (page 81).

Makes 6 tablespoons (30 grams).

4½ tablespoons cumin seeds

1. Place a small nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cumin and dry-roast until lightly colored. Set aside to cool completely.

2. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

3. Store in an airtight container.


Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 1 hour

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Courseside dish, vegetable

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian


Taste and Texturecrisp, savory, spiced


  • 14 ounces (400 grams) small okra
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1½ teaspoons ground roasted cumin(see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)
  • ½ teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon kalonji (nigella)
  • 20 small shallots, sliced
  • ¼ cup (25 grams) besan (chickpea/gram flour)


  1. Trim off the ends of the okra and make a slit in one side of each okra pod without cutting through. Set aside in a bowl.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the salt, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, amchur, fennel, chile powder, and coriander. Stuff the spice mixture into the slits in the okra. Sprinkle the remaining mixture (if any) over the okra and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Stir and set aside.

  3. Place a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons (50 ml) oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the kalonji and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

  4. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stuffed okra and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the besan and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.

  5. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the okra is tender.

  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot as a side dish.


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