Aloo Bhindi Tawa Masala is a restaurant-style vegetarian curry of stuffed okra and baby potatoes cooked in a spicy tomato and yoghurt masala. It’s a little bit spicy but beautifully balanced with fragrant spices and fabulous textures from the vegetables.
What is a Tawa?
An Indian tawa is, for want of a better description, a flat-top griddle. It can be made from iron, steel or aluminium. This style of cookware has multiple uses in Indian cookery, from cooking flatbreads and dosa, to street-style specialities like Pau Bhaji, tawa pulao (rice), curries and this Aloo Bhindi Tawa Masala.
I personally have both cast iron and steel tawas and use them interchangeably depending on the dish I’m cooking. I prefer cast iron for dosas and steel for pau bhaji, burgers and rice.
If you haven’t already tried my Spicy Bean Tawa Burgers, I implore you to give them a go. They’re a fantastic meal-in-one!
What if I don’t have a tawa?
Fear not! You can still make this dish in any heavy-based frying pan (skillet), casserole dish or even in a paella dish. It’s very forgiving.
Where to buy an Indian tawa
There are so many factors when it comes to choosing an Indian tawa that’s appropriate for your style of cooking. Here are some options you might find useful (affiliate links).
How to serve Aloo Bhindi Tawa Masala
It makes for an amazing standalone main dish, celebrating the wonderful textures of the vegetables, however this can also be the perfect side dish as part of a bigger meal.
Can I add other vegetables to this curry?
Absolutely! Feel free to play around with different combinations of veggies in this curry. I often make it with baby aubergines, pearl onions, fat chillies and tomatoes. Ultimately, it’s a choose your own adventure sort of meal. Use up fridge scraps or make it an extravaganza of many different vegetables. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish.
How to prepare stuffed okra
- Leaving the okra stem intact, trim just the very base of it, usually where it’s turned a little dark. Take a tiny amount off the tip of the okra.
- Use a small, sharp knife to make a slit down the length of the okra, but not cutting all the way through. Stuff with a small amount of the prepared masala.
- Repeat for all the okra and then carefully prize them apart to make enough room for stuffing.
How to prepare stuffed potatoes
- Make slits down the length of the baby potatoes, being careful not to cut all the way through.
- You should be able to prize them apart just enough to get the stuffing/masala paste in there. Don’t worry if some do split, since the paste will be hold them together quite effectively.
- Take care not to overstuff the potatoes.
Steaming the vegetables
I find the quickest and most effective way to cook the vegetables is to steam them. A pinch of baking soda in the stuffing masala will help them cook through evenly. Okra will take around 8 minutes to steam and potatoes, around 10 minutes (medium heat). Keep checking on them because cook times will depend on the intensity of the heat of the pan.
How to make the tawa masala (sauce for Aloo Bhindi Tawa Masala)
- Heat the tawa and temper the spices in oil. Add the aromatics like garlic and reserved stuffing mixture. Sauté this for a few moments before adding the dry spices. You’ll know it’s ready when oil begins to release from the masala.
- Add yoghurt, water and cinnamon. Cook until the sauce is glossy.
- Top the sauce with the cooked vegetables and slather some of the sauce on top of the veggies. Heat through and serve.
- Tawa or large frying pan. Cast iron works best but any flat pan will do.
- 400 g fresh okra
- 400 g baby potatoes
For the stuffing masala:
- 100 g raw peanuts coarsely ground
- 4 tbsp gram flour
- 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp ground cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp asafoetida
- 8 large cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 100 g fresh coriander roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 tbsp any cooking oil
For the tawa masala:
- 3 tbsp any cooking oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- 4 large cloves garlic crushed
- 200 g chopped tomatoes (fresh or tinned)
- 75 g yoghurt
- 100 ml water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, to serve
To make the stuffing masala:
- Place the following ingredients into a medium-sized bowl: ground peanuts, gram flour, ground coriander and cumin seeds, chilli powder, turmeric, salt, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, asafoetida, garlic, ginger, tomato ketchup and fresh coriander.100 g raw peanuts, 4 tbsp gram flour, 1 tbsp ground coriander seeds, 1 tbsp ground cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp asafoetida, 8 large cloves garlic, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 100 g fresh coriander, 2 tbsp tomato ketchup, 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan until it's smoking hot. Pour the hot oil over the ingredients in the bowl. Be careful, it will sizzle. Stir well to form a paste.4 tbsp any cooking oil
To prepare the vegetables:
- Wash the okra in plenty of running water and then completely dry them using a tea towel. Wash the potatoes.400 g fresh okra
- Leaving the okra stem intact, trim just the very base of it, usually where it's turned a little dark. Take a tiny amount off the tip of the okra. Use a small, sharp knife to make a slit down the length of the okra, but not cutting all the way through. Repeat for all the okra and then carefully prize them apart to make enough room for stuffing.
- Make similar slits down the length of the baby potatoes, being careful not to cut all the way through. You should be able to prize them apart just enough to get the stuffing/masala paste in there. Don't worry if some do split, since the paste will be hold them together quite effectively.400 g baby potatoes
- Use clean fingers to stuff both the okra and potatoes with the cooled stuffing masala. Reserve about two tablespoons of stuffing masala for the sauce.
To cook the stuffed vegetables:
- Bring a large pot of water with two steamer baskets to the boil. Place the baskets inside the steamer. Steam over a medium-high heat until tender. The okra will take around 8 minutes and the potatoes around 10 minutes but keep checking them. Once both are cooked, remove from the steamer and set aside.
To make the tawa masala:
- Place a tawa or any large, flat-heavy based pan like a frying pan or paella pan over a medium heat. Pour the oil into the pan and allow it to heat up.3 tbsp any cooking oil
- Add mustard seeds and wait for them to finish popping. Add the cumin seeds, asafoetida, garlic and reserved stuffing masala paste. Sauté for 90 seconds before adding the chilli powder, turmeric, salt, sugar and chopped tomatoes. Cook for a further 60 seconds, stirring all the time.1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp asafoetida, 4 large cloves garlic, 200 g chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar
- Add the yoghurt and immediately mix, cooking until oil begins to separate from the sides of the paste, about 4 minutes. Add the water and ground cinnamon. Cook for a further 5-6 minutes until the sauce thickens and looks glossy.75 g yoghurt, 100 ml water, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Arrange the steamed okra and potatoes on the tawa and brush all over with the masala. Cook on the tawa for 3-4 minutes until everything is heated through. Do not move them around too much. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve.2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, to serve
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