Bharwan bhindi (okra stuffed with peanut spice) is a beautiful dish to make on leisurely days when you have tender, small-sized fresh okras on hand. The stuffing that goes into the okra can vary – this peanut spice is among my best-loved okra fillings.
Okra is prone to turning slimy at the slightest excuse – this dry spice stuffing helps to counter that perfectly.
This recipe calls for some investment of time – but if you have fun company in the kitchen, especially for parallel processing (as they say in the IT world) during Step 2: Slit and Fill, then even the longish prep time is halved.
- Okra – 300 grams
- Oil – 2 teaspoons
- Fresh coriander leaves – for garnishing
For the stuffing:
- Peanuts – 1 tablespoon
- Sesame seeds – 1/2 tablespoon
- Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Red chili flakes – 1/2 teaspoon (more if you want it hotter)
- Dry mango powder (amchoor powder) – 1/2 teaspoon
- Jaggery – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
1. Make the spice mix
If using unroasted peanuts, shell and dry roast them on low heat, till the skin turns brown. Let cool, then skin. [I do this by rubbing the roasted peanuts gently using both palms – this causes the skin to crumble and fall off.]
Dry roast sesame seeds on low heat, stirring them around, till the seeds turn golden. Keep aside to cool.
Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chili flakes till the coriander seeds become aromatic. Keep aside to cool.
Grind roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander and cumin seeds, red chili flakes. Mix well dry mango powder, salt and jaggery powder into the ground spices.
The peanut spice mix is now ready to fill.
2. Slit and fill
With each okra, cut off the top and make a vertical slit about 3/4th in, do not cut it through.
Make sure you’re using absolutely dry okra – no clinging water droplets. If you have to wash the okra, do it a couple of hours before slitting – and/or dab with tissue, place under the fan or out in the sun, whatever to speed up the drying process.
Spoon the spice mix generously into the slit okra. Press it in and press the mouth of the okra close. Some of the spice mix will fall out of the okra – that is all right.
Take care to do the filling over a wide clean container/plate so that you can scoop up all the falling spice mix and use it to fill another okra. Don’t let the spice mix go to waste! 
[If I’m cooking alone, I do all the slitting and cutting first, and then the stuffing in one go. If working with a partner, we go for the "assembly line manufacturing" mode – one person does the slitting and passes it on to the other to do the filling.]
3. On the fire!
Heat a wide non-stick pan with two teaspoons of oil spread evenly. Place the stuffed okra, slit side up, in a single layer in the pan. For even cooking, position the thicker/bigger pieces of okra towards the source of the heat, the smaller ones away from it.
Let the stuffed okra cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes, then gently nudge around. If the side facing down is getting crisp, shift the angle so that a raw surface faces down. Continue to move the okra around till cooked from all sides.
Bharwan bhindi (okra stuffed with peanut spice) is ready to bite into!
Serve bharwan bhindi garnished with fresh coriander leaves, along with chapatis.
 If you have spice mix to spare after all the okra is stuffed, use it as a final touch –when the okra is cooked, sprinkle the remaining spice mix, stir gently and cook for another minute.