Achari Bhindi Dahiwali | Spicy Okra Curry with Yogurt [Video]

Pan fried okra cooked in a curry made with pickle spices and yogurt.

Pan fried okra cooked in a curry made with pickle spices and yogurt.

There are 2 kinds of people in the world, one who love Okra or Bhindi and one that wouldn't be caught dead eating it. I was a latter, I hated bhindi all through my childhood - I mean which kid really enjoys the slime? Until about 5 years ago, when I had run out of veggies to cook for the day, I picked up some fresh bhindi and decided I could try to convert the hate to at least a tolerable feeling. Frankly, all I needed to do that was learn how to cook the okra correctly. See my tips below.

I have the following tips to cook the okra, just right:

  • The first tip for cooking okra, if you don't like slime, is to never cover it while cooking. Cook the okra in an open pan, always.
  • Preferably use a flat pan and do not crowd it. A wok or a kadhai, ends up steaming a few pieces of okra at least, and when steamed, okra tends to get slimy.
  • Be liberal with the oil. If cooking on a stove, use sufficient oil. The oil helps make the okra crispy and stops it from steaming. If you want to use less oil, grill the okra in a pan in the oven. This recipe tastes equally delicious with grilled okra.
  • Cook okra on medium to high heat stirring regularly. Okra cooked in low heat, again, tends to get slimy.
  • Avoid adding water to the okra while cooking. Okra loves oil, let it cook in oil alone. Don't add any water or any ingredients that may leave their juices (like tomatoes) until the okra is almost cooked.
Once I had mastered the art of cooking okra, there was no turning back. I've made okra innumerable times since then, and loved it.

Pan fried okra cooked in a curry made with pickle spices and yogurt.

This Achari Bhindi Dahiwali translates simply into Pickled Okra in Yogurt. This curry uses the pickling spices used in North Indian pickles. While the okra is not pickled, it is cooked with a spice blend made inspired by the pickles. Pickle spices usually include - fennel seeds (saunf), carom seeds (ajwain), mustard seeds (rai), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), asafoetida (hing) and dried mango powder (amchur). I have reduced the quantity of fenugreek seeds as they are bitter in taste. 

To make this recipe vegan, use vegan yogurt like cashew yogurt or coconut yogurt.

To make Achari Bhindi Dahiwali, we first slice the okra lengthwise. You can chop it how you please, lengthwise just made it visually appealing to me. The okra is pan fried with oil. I've made it before by grilling the okra in the oven, the curry tastes the same and uses a lot less oil.

Then the gravy is made by cooking onions and tomatoes with the pickling spices and blending it. Whisked yogurt is added to the gravy to finish it off. Toss in the cooked okra and serve it hot with rotis.

Pan fried okra cooked in a curry made with pickle spices and yogurt.

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Achari Bhindi Dahiwali

Pan fried okra cooked in a curry made with pickle spices and yogurt.Okra cooked with Indian pickle spices and whisked yogurt. Bhindi curry made with North Indian achaar masala and dahi.

Recipe Type:  Main
Cuisine:          North Indian
Prep Time:     10 minutes
Cook time:     45 minutes
Yield:              2-3 Servings


25 small Okra (bhindi)
1 Onion
1 Tomato
1 cup Yogurt (dahi)
4 Tbsp Oil
1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
0.5 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
0.5 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Carom seeds (Ajwain)
4-5 Fenugreek Seeds (Methi dana)
1 tsp Dry Mango Powder (Amchur)
Pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
Handful of Coriander leaves
Salt to taste


1. Dry roast the fennel seeds, mustard seeds, carom seeds and fenugreek seeds.
2. Grind them to a fine powder along with the asafoetida and the dry mango powder. Keep aside.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp Oil in a flat pan and add the chopped bhindi to it. Saute until the bhindi are soft and cooked. Never cover the bhindi while cooking, it will tend to get slimy. Remove and keep aside.
4. Heat 1 Tbsp Oil in the same pan and add the ginger garlic paste.
5. Once the ginger-garlic is fragrant, add finely chopped onions and fry until translucent.
6. Add in chopped tomato and stir well.
7. Mix in the achari spice blend we made earlier along with salt and turmeric powder and cook until the tomatoes are soft.
8. Blend into a fine paste with little water once cooled slightly.
9. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds.
10. Once they brown slightly, add the blended paste and cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes.
11. Stir in whisked yogurt and red chilli powder. Adjust seasoning if required. Cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat.
12. Add the pan fried bhindi and mix well. Simmer for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis.

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