Bhindi Masala with Paneer, Naan & Cucumber Raita

Bhindi Masala

with Paneer, Naan & Cucumber Raita

Group Created with Sketch. 40 min
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  • icon-servings Created with Sketch.
    2 Servings
  • icon-nutrition Created with Sketch. Est. 800 Cals/serving

Okra (or “bhindi” in Hindi) is a favorite ingredient in the cuisine of north India, where the vegetable flourishes. Tonight, we’re making bhindi masala, a regional classic that features okra cooked until tender in a spiced tomato and onion sauce. We’re giving the dish another layer of satisfying texture with the addition of pan-crisped paneer, a mild, fresh variety of pressed cheese. With traditional sides of soft basmati rice, warm pieces of naan and raita (a cooling condiment of yogurt and cucumber) for dipping, this recipe is an easy way to capture the vibrant flavors of Indian cooking.

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Prepare the ingredients & make the raita:
1 Prepare the ingredients & make the raita:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Medium dice the cheese. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and small dice the onion. Core and medium dice the tomato. Cut off and discard the stem ends of the okra; slice into 1-inch-thick rounds. Pick the cilantro and mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Grate the cucumber and place in a bowl with the yogurt; stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the rice:
2 Cook the rice:

In a small pot, combine the rice, a big pinch of salt and 1½ cups of water; heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork.

Brown the cheese:
3 Brown the cheese:

While the rice cooks, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. (Be careful, as the cheese might pop as it cooks.)

Add the vegetables:
4 Add the vegetables:

While the rice continues to cook, add the garlic, onion and spice blend to the pan of cheese; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato and ¾ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and slightly thickened.

Finish the bhindi masala:
5 Finish the bhindi masala:

Add the okra to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the okra is slightly softened. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the cooked rice between 2 bowls; top with the finished bhindi masala. Wipe out the pan.

Warm the naan & serve your dish:
6 Warm the naan & serve your dish:

Heat the same, dry pan on medium-high until hot. Working 1 piece at a time, add the naan and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, or until lightly browned and warmed through. Transfer to a cutting board; cut each piece of warmed naan into 6 wedges. Garnish the bowls of finished bhindi masala and cooked rice with the cilantro and mint. Serve with the naan wedges and raita on the side. Enjoy!

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1 Prepare the ingredients & make the raita:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Medium dice the cheese. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and small dice the onion. Core and medium dice the tomato. Cut off and discard the stem ends of the okra; slice into 1-inch-thick rounds. Pick the cilantro and mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Grate the cucumber and place in a bowl with the yogurt; stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

2 Cook the rice:

In a small pot, combine the rice, a big pinch of salt and 1½ cups of water; heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork.

Cook the rice:
Brown the cheese:
3 Brown the cheese:

While the rice cooks, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. (Be careful, as the cheese might pop as it cooks.)

4 Add the vegetables:

While the rice continues to cook, add the garlic, onion and spice blend to the pan of cheese; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato and ¾ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and slightly thickened.

Add the vegetables:
Finish the bhindi masala:
5 Finish the bhindi masala:

Add the okra to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and the okra is slightly softened. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the cooked rice between 2 bowls; top with the finished bhindi masala. Wipe out the pan.

6 Warm the naan & serve your dish:

Heat the same, dry pan on medium-high until hot. Working 1 piece at a time, add the naan and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, or until lightly browned and warmed through. Transfer to a cutting board; cut each piece of warmed naan into 6 wedges. Garnish the bowls of finished bhindi masala and cooked rice with the cilantro and mint. Serve with the naan wedges and raita on the side. Enjoy!

Warm the naan & serve your dish: