Okra|Bhindi in Oyster Sauce

By Published On: 16 Jul '22Last Updated: 29 Jul '22

Quick and easy Okra|Bhindi in Oyster Sauce is a perfect brunch, lunch or a weekday veggie dinner option–serve on its own or with dhal and toasted crusty cobb. So healthy!

Okra|Bhindi in Oyster Sauce

For a quick easy brunch, lunch or veggie dish, try this Okra|Bhindi in Oyster Sauce. It's simple, filling, budget friendly and utterly delicious - the best part is, it only takes 15 minutes to make plus it makes a great sharing dish where everyone can help themselves!!

Growing up in the South of India, summer meant bucket loads of fresh vegetables from our very own garden. It was a natural and beautiful part of summer, growing and sharing fruits, vegetables and coconuts with neighbours and friends.

My mum used to grow okra/bhenda in our front compound in two or three rows. The Mangalorean variety is light green in colour, approximately 16cm to 17cm long, and absolutely flavoursome. The Sydney variety is a shorter variety and usually not longer than 7cm to 8cm long.

This vegetable was usually prepared for eating as a side dish with paez (conji) for breakfast. Most common ways of cooking were bhendan thel piyav (with oil and onions) and bhendan Miriapito (with pepper). It was used widely in curries such as Bhendan and Prawn Curry, Bhendan Huli (a runny curry with tamarind and roasted spices). There are several tasty North Indian preparations which I learnt after coming to Australia as these preparations were not heard of in South India.

what is okra

Okra/Bhindi/Bhenda is a green vegetable generally regarded as a native to Africa. Okra itself is an African name, as is the alternative name 'gumbo'. It does not taste like any vegetable at all. It has an inherently slimy texture or mucilage and is slippery unless deep fried!

Okra pods range from 5cm to 20cm long. They may be dark or light green or bright red (less common variety). The pods may be ridged or smooth. Their gummy texture also varies, and the gummy variety is preferred particularly in the creole cookery and Cajun food. Creole cookery is a blend of the various cultures of New Orleans including native American, Caribbean, African, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

Some love it, some hate it, much like eggplant (aubergine) but I do believe that it all depends on the way it is cooked. Some of the favourite Indian style okra preparations are in curries, fritters and stir-fries. My most loved okra dishes are Bhindi Masala (okra cooked in a mix of spices), Bendekai (Bhindi) Puliya (okra cooked in a tamarind based curry sauce with roasted spices), Bhenda Sasam (a coconut based side dish from Konkani cuisine with deep fried okra) and crispy masala bhindi.

In addition, I have recently been experimenting to cook this unique vegetable with one of my favourite Chinese sauces ie Oyster Sauce. The results were surprisingly amazing and I cannot wait to share this special new Chinese fusion recipe with all of you.


Did you know some interesting facts about okra?

  • Fact 1: Well, okra is called as "Ladies Finger" due to its uncanny resemblance to a finger;
  • Fact 2: It is recorded as growing beside the Nile, as early as in the 13th century; and
  • Fact 3: It is also one of the vegetables that is talented at multitasking, in a way like no other vegetable does!! Just how does okra multitask is not a mystery at all. When okra is cooked, the sliced pods produce a glutinous liquid (some call slime) which acts as a natural thickener to the curries, broths, stews, soups and especially gumbo.
  • Fact 4: Okra itself can be dried and powdered and used as a thickening agent.

nutritional benefits of okra

Although an odd vegetable to many, it is a healthy green staple in Ghana and several African countries. It is a common vegetable throughout India. It is a popular vegetable in the Middle East and some parts of the Caribbean. It is also common in vegetarian dishes worldwide including Japanese, Italian, Lebanese and Armenian food.

Nutritionally, raw okra is negligible in fat, 90% water, 2% protein and 7% carbohydrates. A great source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K.

As summarized by Kumar et al. [14] include the following:

  • Okra contains special fibres which could be used to manage blood glucose levels;
  • Mucilage in okra mop bad cholesterol and toxic substances in the body;
  • Purgative properties of the polysaccharide are useful in bowel purification;
  • The fibre contains valuable nutrients for intestinal microorganisms;
  • Okra is an effective remedy for ulcers, it is used to counteract the acids;
  • Okra is applied as treatment for pulmonary inflammations and bowel irritation.

With all the benefits, okra deserves a spot in your menu rotation. Go for it and enjoy it but this time, with a taste of umami from the slightly sweet, rich, earthy and salty taste of the oyster sauce. Believe me you, this dish does not taste fishy at all!!!

EASY STEP-by-step instructions

This dish is so easy to make and involves very little planning. Just make sure you purchase okra when you visit your green grocer next and while you are there, do pop into the nearby Asian grocery store and pick up a small bottle of Oyster Sauce. My favourite brand is Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce (510g). You can also buy smaller bottles in other brands. If you have a favourite brand, then please use it by all means.


500g okra

oil, onion, Salt

Brown sugar

Vegetable stock cube


Oyster sauce

1 Birds Eye Red Chilli

Gather your ingredients before you start cooking, as they have to be added in quick succession

Trim the tops and the ends of okra.

I like to trim my top but keep the ends as shown in the below right image

In the image on the right, I have not trimmed the ends as I love the look of the okra with the ends untrimmed. Aesthetically pleasing and decreases the glutinous liquid produced!!

Heat oil in a heavy based non-stick frying pan with a lid, on medium

Add onions and fry till translucent

Add salt, sugar, vegetable stock cube and water

Add okra and stir to combine

Close lid and cook for 4 minutes or until okra is cooked to your liking.

Add oyster sauce and sliced red chilli. Stir well to combine. Cook for a further minute

Remove immediately straight to a serving platter along with the juices. Serve hot on its own as a vegetarian brunch option. Serve with dhal and toasted crusty cob for a vegetarian lunch, brunch or dinner option. Great as a share platter, only if your friends like okra!!

I ate these stir-fried okras with a big smile on my face, without any accompaniments!

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback. Please be sure to rate the recipe and/or leave a comment below. If you want to see more recipe inspirations, you can follow me on Instagram @lavina_mendonsa.

Okra|Bhindi in Oyster Sauce

Bhindi/Okra in Oyster Sauce

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
This quick and easy vegetarian dish is a perfect brunch, lunch or even a weekday dinner option – serve on its own or with dhal and toasted crusty cobb.  So satisfying and healthy!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Course Accompaniment, Brunch, Light meal, Mid-day meal, Sharing platter, Side Dish
Cuisine Fusion, Indo-Chinese
Servings 4


  • 500 g fresh okra
  • 4 tbsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped 120g
  • ¼ tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar or to taste
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • ½-¾ cup water
  • 1½ - 2 tbsp. oyster sauce or to taste
  • 1 Birds Eye Chilli sliced into thin long strips


  • Wash the okra and dry well with a tea towel. Trim the tops. Trim the ends or keep them (I like my ends untrimmed). Trimming only the top reduces the slimy liquid called mucilage. Leave the okra whole.
  • Heat oil in a medium to large non-stick frying pan with a lid, on medium. Add onions and fry till translucent (approximately 4-5 minutes).
  • Add salt (only if required, as oyster sauce contains salt), sugar, vegetable stock cube and water. Stir until the stock cube has dissolved. Taste and season, if required.
  • Add okra and combine well with other ingredients. Close lid and cook for 4 minutes or until okra is cooked to your liking. Some like the okra crispy, some like it slightly softer.
  • Add oyster sauce and red chilli and stir till well combined. Cook for a further minute.
  • Remove from heat. Pour into a serving platter along with all the juices. Eat them on their own as brunch, lunch or serve them as a side dish for dinner. I served mine with ‘Dhal’ and toasted ‘Crusty Cobb’ and it was delicious.


  1. Use fresh shorter variety okra for this recipe. They should be firm to touch, bright green in colour without any blemishes and black spots.
  2. To check if okra is tender, do the snap test!  Using your index finger and thumb, pinch the tip of the okra and bend gently. If it snaps, then it is fresh and tender. If they are hard when you pinch, then they are old and do not cook well.
  3. You may prefer not to add salt as the stock cube and oyster sauce both have salt.  
Keyword Bhindi, Indo-Chinese fusion, Ladies Finger, Okra, Oyster Sauce, Vegetarian
Lavina with Deliciously Indian

Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

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