Bhindi is Hindi for okra. I apologize for the rhyme but it is impossible to avoid unless you use one of the other, mostly African names for the plant that have followed its peregrinations around the globe. The main alternative is gumbo, the U.S. Creole reflex of the Angolan Bantu kingombo, which led to quingombo in Portuguese or quimbombό in Cuban Spanish, * or gombo in French.†
Fried okra is an idea that belongs to the world. In India, the spice mixture naturalizes the recipe, just as “Southern-fried” okra belongs to the former centers of slave population in the Americas. The best fried okra I have tasted was at a large barbecue restaurant in Raleigh, N.C., where most patrons were black. It came out of the kitchen crisp outside, just barely cooked through inside, and not at all slimy.