Bendakaya Ullikharam (Bhindi Onion Masala)

Bendakaya Ullikharam (Bhindi Onion Masala)

The past few days have been incredibly stressful at home. Though the first long weekend in this year has already come and gone, we didn’t do the chores we were supposed to do and we have a pile more stuff to do. First, my PMS came in which were incredibly tiring and then VJ got sick, over Arlo being a handful. Today was the point where we decided that to have our dinner in five minutes of peace, we should give in and turn on the TV for Arlo. VJ and I both had this incredibly guilty looking faces the whole time the rhymes were playing on TV. He just doesn’t play with the kitchen spoons anymore, he has been dropping them in the sink, getting onto the couch and pulling the everything, searching every inch of the carpet to stuff his mouth with the piece of roti that he threw down a week ago that had escaped my eye, and much more. So this evening, I just wanted to cook, because it has been an outlet for me for the past few months. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and VJ loved it. He thought it was incredibly tasty. He asked me when I would make it again. So since I have fresh Okra I decided to make them again and this time document it.

I do not remember how I made it the last time since I wasn’t really paying attention. I just dumped all the ingredients and got it done. This time I added a few more ingredients and actually perfected it. VJ liked this one better since it was spicier. I paired it with coriander roti. Arlo is getting another set of teeth and he hasn’t been eating much for the past few days. He likes colorful food and since I didn’t have spinach I substituted it with coriander leaves to make it green. I stuffed it with some cheddar and it comes out crisp, and he loves it (he thinks its a chip). VJ loved the roti too and I liked it too, it wasn’t very coriander tasting but it smelled really fresh. And also who doesn’t like Bhindi (Okra or Lady’s Fingers). It’s my absolute favorite but I hate cooking it because of all the stickiness. I don’t think this is the traditional ullikharam. I’m sure I have modified it a lot beyond the original recipe. These days I’ve been experimenting with new recipes and asking VJ to be ready to order takeout if it doesn’t turn out good. But despite my apprehensions, this recipe turned out amazingly well. This recipe serves four and took around an hour to make (including preparations).


Bendakaya (Bhindi or Okra or Lady’s Finger) – 1 pound

Onion – 3 medium sized

Green Chili – 4

Garlic – 5 or 6 pods

Ginger – 1 inch piece

Tomato – 1 small

Coriander Powder – 1 tablespoon

Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon

Kashmiri Red Chili Powder – 1 tablespoon

Salt – As required

Garam Masala – 1 teaspoon

Tomato Paste – 1 tablespoon

Water – 2 cups

Cilantro – a few tablespoons for garnish

Oil – 2 tablespoons

Cumin Seeds – 1 tablespoon

Asafoetida – 1/4 teaspoon

How to Make

Step 1: Chop the bhindi into 2-inch pieces and shallow fry them, once semi-fried take them out set them aside. I didn’t want to use oil so I baked them at 375F for 35 minutes (add some salt and spray with some oil before baking the bhindi).

Step 2: While the bhindi is baking, in a food processor jar, add chopped onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, ginger and green chilies. Puree it until it’s a smooth paste.

Step 3: In a pan once hot, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. As the cumin seeds start crackling add the puree.

Step 4: Keep frying the puree until all the water has evaporated and the oil starts to ooze out (this took approximately 20 minutes). To this add the coriander powder, salt, turmeric, kashmiri red chili powder and garam masala, and mix it well.

Step 5: Add the tomato paste and the water and mix it well. Add the bhindi and place a lid to let it cook. Cook until the oil oozes out or until the gravy starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Drizzile with cilantro and mix it.

Step 6: Serve it with roti or rice.



  1. You can substitute bhindi with potato or brinjal or tindora.
  2. While baking I used a bit of salt on the bhindi’s so adjust it accordingly in the gravy.


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