Okra was in the news recently for being one of the most hated vegetables. Most people who hate it dislike its sticky texture when cooked. In some cultures, the stickiness is prized whereas in Indian cooking there are usually methods to make it un-sticky. Kurkuri Bhindi is a dish made out of okra that rids this vegetable of all stickiness and turns it into a wonderful crispy side for an Indian meal.
It is easy and what’s more is that you can prepare it in minutes unlike a lot of bhindi dishes. One of my friends says this is the only form of okra she will eat and when you try it, you will see why.
Serves: 4 Preparation Time: 30 minutes
You will need:
- 500 g tender okra (avoid mature pods because these tend to be fibrous)
- 1/2 cup gram flour (can be bought in any Asian shop)
- 1/2 tsp carom (“ajwain”) seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp dried mango powder (can be bought in Asian shops)
- Salt according to your preference – 1/2 tsp should be enough
- 1 cup oil for deep frying
Wash and dry the okra pods thoroughly. Remove the stalks and slit each one lengthways to form two halves. Sprinkle some salt on to these and rub in. Set aside for ten minutes so that the okra starts to release some moisture. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle this mixture on the okra, a spoon at a time while gently rubbing it in to coat the pieces. Sprinkle a few drops of water (no more than 2 tablespoons altogether) on the okra pieces so that all the flour can be incorporated on the pieces. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or Indian “karahi”. Test if it is hot by dropping a small piece of okra, if it rises to the surface immediately and sizzles, the oil is hot. Deep fry the okra pieces in small batches on medium heat until they turn a deep golden brown. They should be very crispy when taken off the heat. Serve immediately. They will lose their crispiness after a couple of hours so the sooner they are eaten, the better.