Masalyache Bhende – Okra in Masala Gravy

Food is such an integral part of our daily life. I feel food often gets undermined in its role to bring together family and friends. It is about passing on values to the next generations through food.
As promised I am bringing you a family recipe that has been passed on by my Grandmom (Aai) to my Mom and mom has duly passed it down to me. It is called Masalyache Bhende or Okrain masala gravy. I am sure once you make this it will feature in your regular weekday menu to make.
We make this as part of a meal following a Pooja /veneration at home as this is a no garlic/ onion recipe. However feel free to add onion to the gravy. I have given both the options in recipe below. 

Masalyache Bhende - Okra in Masala Gravy
Masalyache Bhende – Okra in Masala Gravy

The ingredients you need are :

  • Oil -2.5 tablespoons
  • Peppercorns- 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon stick-1-2 inch piece
  • Coriander seeds – 1.5 teaspoons
  • Cloves- 3-4 in number
  • Asafoetida- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fresh Coconut- 4 tablespoons – finely grated 
  • Turmeric – 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Tamarind – golf ball size piece
  • Rice flour – 2 teaspoon (optional)
  • Onion- 1 small onion finely chopped (optional)
  • Lite Coconut Milk- 200 gms
  • Water – 1/2 cup – for grinding the masala and for soaking tamarind. 
  • Salt to taste
  • Okra- 250- 300 gms- cut in chunks
Toasted Coconut and onion mix
Toasted Coconut and onion mix

Lets start with Step 1 – Making the Masala

  • Take a wok and add 1 tablespoon of oil and keep it on a low-medium flame. Add the whole spices- peppercorns , cinnamon stick , cloves, coriander seeds and 1 teaspoon of turmeric and roast till fragrant. Be careful not to burn the spices. Now keep them aside.
  • In the same wok add the finely chopped onion (if using) and let it cook till it turns pink and then add the fresh grated coconut and roast it till golden brown along with the onion. Keep stirring to avoid it getting burnt. It is very important to keep the flame at a low-medium. 
  • Once it has cooled down grind the toasted coconut and onion mixture with the roasted whole spices. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and grind it to a fine paste. 
  • This is the Masala ready for the gravy.
Ground Masala
Ground Masala

Step 2- Prepping the Okra

  • Wash the okra/ bhindi/ bhenda well and wipe them with a paper towel. Next get rid of the top and tail end and cut it into two pieces. They should look like this in the picture below. 
  • This is your Step 2 of Prepping Okra done. 
Chunks of Okra
Chunks of Okra

Step 3 – Cooking the Okra in the Masala

  • In the same Wok add the remaining 1.5 tablespoon oil. Keep it on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and once they crackle add the okra to the wok. Stir fry them for a couple of minutes. This prevents them from getting slimy. 
  • Then add more than half of the Masala that we prepared along with salt and red chilli powder to it. Mix it well and then add 4-5 tablespoons of water and cover with a lid and reduce flame to low.
Adding the masala
Adding the masala
  • In the meanwhile take the tamarind and add it to the remaining water and let it soak.In about 10 mins you should have fresh tamarind pulp.
  •  Check on the okra in about 7-10 minutes they should be almost cooked. Now add the fresh tamarind pulp (be careful to strain the seeds) and the remaining masala to the wok. Mix it well.
  • Next add the lite coconut milk and cover with a lid and cook it for 5 more minutes. If you feel the gravy is too runny feel free to mix 2 tablespoons of water with rice flour and then add that to wok. This will thicken the gravy. This is an optional step
  • Your Masalyache Bhende or Okra in Masala Gravy is ready. Serve it with some Jeera Rice and Papad.

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Recipe and Styling by Sharvari P Mehan
Photography by Sharvari P Mehan and Ankit Mehan

Love to hear your feedback in the comments below. I hope you are enjoying Mumbai to Melbourne’s recipes. Do inbox us if you have any special recipe requests. Have an amazing weekend ahead.

4 Comments
    1. Thanks Aparna i am glad you like the recipe. No this recipe one cannot replace coconut milk… But u could use coconut powder if available with a bit of water to make coconut milk
      Hope that helps

  1. This is our family recipe & I am very happy that u r sharing this in yr blog.This is very tasty.Yr writing & photography is good

    1. Thanks Mom for duly passing it on from Aai to me… Its such heirloom recipes that need to be treasured and shared so everyone can enjoy them

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