Kukuri Bhindi, called Kurmure Bhendi Bhaja in Bengali, is sliced okra coated in spices and fried until crunchy. This crispy fried okra is so good, you cannot stop eating it. Make this crispy okra by deep frying or in the air fryer. Enjoy as an appetizer or side dish to your meal!
Reprinted with permission from Taste of Eastern India Cookbook by Kankana Saxena, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018.
This recipe is from my friend Kankana Saxena, creator of the blog playfulcooking.com. In her first cookbook Taste of Eastern India, she shares the tastes of her Bengali roots in Eastern India. The book is absolutely gorgeous, and includes a variety of Bengali favorites starting with hearty lentils paired with deep-fried fritters, followed by vegetarian and meat/fish curries, dips and delicious Bengali desserts! The best part, each recipe has a photo with it. Do check out the wonderful book!
Okra is a favorite vegetable to enjoy in my family, especially when it is so crunchy! As a kid, my mom made okra in multiple ways – Bhindi Masala, Bharwan Bhindi and Fried Bhindi. Here is a different version of fried bhindi. The main difference from the Punjabi bhindi masala is the use of rice flour and semolina to make it crunchy. In Punjabi kurkuri bhindi, chickpea flour or besan is added to make it crunchy. You will love the variety of Indian Okra recipes!
In Bengali cuisine, this dish is enjoyed as the first course of the meal paired with a light lentil stew. We did as suggested and totally fell in love with this favorite Bengali Kurmure Bhendi Bhaja.
How to make Crispy Fried Okra?
Let’s see the step by step recipe to make Kurkuri Bhindi.
Prepare the batter
Start with getting the ingredients ready. These are mostly simple everyday ingredients that you might have in your pantry.
Wash and pat dry the okra. Slit it into half or quarters depending on the size.
Mix the ingredients for the batter. I loved the addition of semolina for the crunch and nigella seeds.
Add sliced okra to the batter
Add the sliced okra to the batter and mix with a spoon so it is covered all through. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Deep fry the okra
Get the oil ready for deep frying the okra in a heavy bottom pan on medium-high heat. Carefully add the slices of okra to the hot oil. Fry the okra for about 5 minutes, turning frequently. Remove using a slotted spoon on a plate lined with a kitchen towel.
Doesn’t it look amazing? I really don’t have to mention serve immediately, as you will start eating it immediately 🙂
Oh…and don’t forget to sprinkle some lime juice before devouring the okra!
Tips to make Perfect Crispy Okra
- Pat dry the okra before slicing.
- If the seeds in the okra are too big, remove the seeds.
- Let the batter rest for 15 minutes, as the okra releases water and helps bind the batter.
- If you are not serving immediately, then lightly fry the okra and keep aside. Fry again on high heat just before serving.
- To make crispy okra without frying, follow the below air fryer recipe. You can also make okra in the oven.
How to make Kurkuri Bhindi in the Air Fryer?
To make this more interesting, I tried this same bhindi in the air fryer, and it worked perfectly. So here is air fryer crispy okra for you!
I used my Philips Original air fryer for this Kurkuri Bhindi. Place half of the battered okra slices in the air fryer basket, spreading them out as much as possible (if you have a large air fryer, you could do all at once).
Cook at 330˚F for 10 mins. Remove and shake the okra, then cook at 350˚F for about 2-5 mins until crispy. Sprinkle some lime juice and serve immediately.
Check out my other Air fryer Indian recipes –
Punjabi Kurkuri Bhindi
Let me suggest a variation for this Crispy Okra. In place of semolina, add 1/4 cup of chickpea flour (besan) and reduce the rice flour to 2 tablespoons. Skip the nigella seeds and add ajwain (carom seeds). Then follow the recipe to get a different taste of the crispy fried okra!
I hope you try this recipe and check out the wonderful book Taste of Eastern India by Kankana Saxena.
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Kurkuri Bhindi / Crispy Fried Okra Recipe
- 10.5 oz Okra
- 1/2 cup Rice flour
- 1/4 cup Semolina (Sooji/Rava) fine
- 1 tbsp Nigella seeds (Kalonji)
- 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
- 1 tsp Salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder adjust to taste
- 1 cup Water
- Oil for deep-frying (1 tbsp for air fryer)
- Lime wedges
- Wash okra and then pat dry with a kitchen towel. Using a sharp knife, slice the okra lengthwise in half or quarters depending on their size.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, semolina, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, salt, turmeric and chili powder. Whisk to combine and then pour in the water to make a thick batter.
- Add the sliced okra to the batter and toss it around to coat all the slides. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- When ready to deep-fry, place a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil to a depth of about 1 inch. Have a plate layered with a kitchen towel ready.
- Depending on how big your pan is, add the okra slices carefully, without overcrowding the pan. Tossing and turning, fry the okra for about 5 minutes or until golden brown in color. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on the kitchen towel. The okra tastes best when served immediately.
For Air Fryer:
- Place half of the okra slices in the air fryer basket, spreading them out as much as possible (if you have a large air fryer, you could do all at once). Spray some oil on the spread okra slices.
- Cook at 330˚F for 10 mins. Remove and shake the okra, then cook at 350˚F for about 2-5 mins until crispy. Serve immediately.