Kurkuri Bhindi/Okra

Kurkuri Bhindi/Okra

Kurkuri Bhindi/Okra

Kurkuri bhindi or Indian crispy okra is definitely one of my favourite dishes to eat. ‘kurkuri’ in Hindi means ‘crispy’.  Okra is also called ‘lady finger’ in some countries. In Hindi Okra is called ‘bhindi’. For this recipe, the bhindi/okra is battered in gram flour with Indian spices and shallow fried.

Bhindi is a significant part of Indian cuisine. Bhindi is cooked in variety of ways in India from simply cooking in a pan with spices to simmering in a curry to coating in seasoned flour and deep-frying, as in this dish. I always think bhindi is like ‘marmite’ either people love it or hate it. I definitely fall in the ‘love it’ category!

I am a huge fan of bhindi! Growing up my mum would cook it with spices and sometimes with onions or karonda or even raw mango. These crispy bhindi’s are so delicious that once you start munching on them there is no stopping. We often have arguments at home as to who will eat the last few. My daughter who is not a very keen vegetable lover cannot have enough of these crispy spicy morsels.  

These crispy masala bhindi/okra makes a great side or you can even serve them as an appetizer or snack.

Ingredients

250 grams bhindi
3 tablespoons gram flour(besan)
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chaat masala

Directions

Step-1

Wash the bhindi/okra under running water and dry thoroughly using a cloth.

Once dried, remove the head and tail of the bhindi/okra and then cut each bhindi/okra into 4-5 pieces lengthwise in thin pieces. If your bhindi/okra is small, you may cut them into 2-3 pieces.

Step-2

Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and gram flour and toss the bhindi/okra pieces.

Gram flour and the spices will make a light coating on the bhindi/okra pieces. Leave it aside for about one hour.

Step-3

Heat the oil in a pan. Add 10-12 slices of bhindi/okra and shallow fry them on medium heat. When they become crisp, turn over each bhindi/okra and fry them on the other side. This should take 4-5 minutes.

Once the bhindi/okra is fried from all sides and is crisp, remove them on an absorbent paper towel to remove excess oil.

Repeat the same with the other bhindi/okra in small batches.

While serving, sprinkle chaat masala and serve hot.

Tips & Variations

  1. The bhindi/okra should be completely dry before you start marinating it with spices otherwise it will become wet and soggy mixture. Also, if the bhindi/okra is wet when placed in the hot oil, it will take longer to cook.
  2. Bhindi/okra is filled with a gel similar to what is inside the aloe plant and when cooked slowly the gel releases. Hence, always fry them uncovered on medium to high heat.
  3. The gram flour must evenly coat the bhindi as that will give a crispy coating to the bhindi/okra when we shallow fry.
  4. You may remove the seeds from the bhindi/okra, I keep them as such.
  5. You can bake or deep fry the bhindi/Okra if you wish.
    To Bake- Add a tablespoon of oil to the gram flour while coating the bhindi/okra. Then arrange all the coated bhindi/okra slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake at preheated oven at 200C/400 F/Gas 6 for 20- 25 minutes until brown and crisp. Make sure to turn them over midway.
    To deep fry- Heat oil for deep frying and deep fry small batches of bhindi/okra until crispy on medium heat (approximately 3-4 minutes). When deep-frying, it is important to maintain the temperature of the oil. Do not heat the oil too much as okra burns quickly when deep fried. Also, don’t crowd the pan when frying or the temperature of the oil will drop, and the bhindi/okra won’t get properly crisped.
  6. Before serving, you can also sprinkle black salt and Kashmiri red chilli powder on these crispy bhindi/okra.
  7. You can also squeeze lime juice on bhindi/okra before serving to add some tanginess.
  8. The fried bhindi/okra will stay crunchy for 15 to 20 minutes after being cooked, so they are best eaten fresh.
  9. You can vary the flavour of the kurkuri bhindi/okra by using half rice flour and half gram flour.
  10. For the kurkuri bhindi the long and slender bhindi/okra works best.
  11. Choose fresh and tender okra, you can test the freshness of your okra by bending the tip of it, if it snaps it is fresh.
  12. Make sure you cut each bhindi/okra into thin pieces. I usually cut each them into 4-5 thin slices. If the slices are too thick, it will not crisp up that well.
  13. To shallow fry use a non-stick pan as the bhindi/okra will not stick to the pan and will be quicker to shallow fry.

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