Okra, or Ladyfingers, are best when cooked fresh. They can be stuffed with a tangy masala, deepfried to crisp (great with peanuts), made into raita, cooked in coconut milk or a spicy gravy, or batter-fried as pakoras. They are even great when dried and served with spices as a snack. Okra pairs well with sour tastes – for example, lemon juice or amchur, dry mango powder. Always buy young, bright green, crisp pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and definitely not if they are wilting. There are a range of varieties – long and thin, short and fat, even red and orange varieties.
Kurkuri means crisp and Bhindi (or Bindi) is Okra. This recipe is very common in parts of North India, especially in Rajasthan from Jaipur to Udaipur and beyond. They are definitely a great snack served with drinks, and are also served as an accompaniment to rice and curries. The spices used with the okra are varied – here we have used chilli powder, cumin, chaat masala and amchur – but more complex, or simpler combinations can be used.
The okra can be cooked on its own, as we do here. But you can also tart them up somewhat by including slivers of onion (yum), ginger (tangy) and red peppers.
Kurkuri Bhindi | Crispy Okra with Chaat Masala | Crispy Ladyfingers
500g fresh okra
1 tspn sea salt
0.5 – 1 tspn chilli powder, according to taste
0.5 tspn chaat masala
0.5 tspn amchur
0.5 tspn cumin powder
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
3 Tblspn besan (chickpea flour)
1 Tblspn rice flour
2 cups vegetable oil or ghee for frying
0.5 tspn chaat masala
chopped coriander leaves (optional)
julienned ginger (optional)
chopped green chilli (optional)
lemon juice (optional – in place of chaat masala)
Wash the bindi and dry thoroughly. If you have the time, allow them to air dry for 1 or 2 hours, otherwise, dry each one with a towel.
Halve each bindi crosswise and then again, lengthwise. Remove most of the seeds (easiest with a small knife), and then slice thinly lengthwise.
In a bowl, mix all the spices except the salt with the bindi ensuring even coverage.
Put the oil on to heat. The oil needs to be very hot – a little flour sprinkled onto the oil will sizzle.
Just before frying, add the salt, rice flour and besan flour to the bindi and mix through well. This ensures the okra slices are crisp and not limp when they are fried.
Fry the okra in batches, and drain them on paper towel.
Sprinkle with Chaat Masala and add any garnishes.
Serve and enjoy!
recipe notes and alternatives
Works very well as a snack and appetiser. Or serve as a side dish with dal and rice, sambar rice, curd rice, or just with chapatis, roti or parathas and a bowl of yoghurt.
The seeds can be left in the okra – many people really enjoy the seeds. Also, I have sliced them very thin, but they will also work well if sliced a little thicker.
Bindi can be sliced cross wise, thinly, instead of in long strips.
Reduce the amount of bindi to 25og and add 0.5 red or white onion, 0.5 small – medium red pepper and a little mild, young ginger – all sliced to form long thin strips.