Okra lovers will enjoy these Indian-style okra fries (kurkuri bhindi) that provide a satisfying crunchy snack without breading or frying needed. They taste great with Mint Yogurt Chutney.
Bhindi is the Hindi word for okra or lady’s finger, and kurkuri is the Hindi word for crunchy.
Traditionally, you make these by deep frying, but I like to make air fryer kurkuri bhindi for a quick version that uses less oil. Other tasty Indian air fryer recipes include Gobi Manchurian and Sabudana Vada.
Key to Indian Okra Fries – Air Fried, Baked, or Deep Fried
The keys to perfectly crispy air-fried kurkuri bhindi (Indian okra fries) are:
- Well-dried okra – minimal added moisture to avoid slimy okra.
- A mix of flours – for a combination of flavor and crispiness.
- Cutting the okra – uniform, thin slices make a big difference.
More tips below!
You just need simple pantry items for this. If you cook Indian food, I’m sure you’ll have them on hand!
- Okra (Bhindi): I use fresh okra only. When you buy them, make sure they are firm. I’ve never used frozen okra; if I do, I’ll update the results here.
- Oil: I like to use olive oil for baked or air fryer okra fries. I recommend using a neutral oil like canola or avocado if you are deep frying.
- Red Chili Powder: Add a little spice and heat to the dish. Adjust quantity based on personal preference.
- Turmeric powder: Adds a subtle earthy flavor and is good for you!
- Besan (Gram Flour, often called chickpea flour): Absorbs moisture, adds a nutty flavor, and coats the okra, creating a crispy outer layer.
- Rice Flour: Enhances the crispiness of the bhindi.
- Lemon Juice: Adds balance to the dish.
- Chaat Masala: Gives a tangy and savory flavor. This is a crucial ingredient; you can make your own DIY Chaat Masala at home.
You can mix and match to make this dish in various ways. Get creative and create your own spice mix.
Other ingredients often used are:
- Amchur (dried mango powder) – I like using lemon juice instead, which is a little less sharp as a substitute for amchur powder, but you can use ½ teaspoon of it.
- Roasted cumin powder – For a bit of smokiness, add ¼ to ½ tsp of this spice. You can make roasted cumin powder at home or find it in stores.
- Coriander powder – ½ tsp of coriander powder adds deep, warm notes.
- Garam masala – ½ tsp of garam masala or a quick DIY Garam Masala will give more spice and depth of flavor.
- Tandoori masala – this spice blend is pretty flavorful on its own. I think it’d taste great with some garlic powder and salt.
Making Kurkuri Bhindi
You can make this in the Air Fryer, oven, and even deep fry. Instructions for all three methods are in the recipe card.
Wash and dry okra
Wash and dry okra very well with a dry kitchen towel.
How To Cut The Okra
Cut off the top and bottom. Slit in half. Then, cut each half into 3-4 thin slices. Aim for 2-3-inch long pieces approximately the same size so they cook evenly.
Seeds are ok to keep for air frying and baking (they taste a bit like popcorn once cooked!) If you are deep frying, remove the seeds so they don’t burn in the hot oil.
Mix the Ingredients
Place chopped okra in a deep mixing bowl. Add oil, salt, turmeric, red chili powder, besan flour, one tablespoon of rice flour, and lemon juice to the bowl and toss to mix well.
Before air frying, baking, or frying the okra, toss the remaining 1 tablespoon of rice flour as a coating.
Choose Your Method
Air Fryer Kurkuri Bhindi
Place in a preheated air fryer or oven. Depending on the size of your air fryer, it adjusts to a higher or lower temperature. I have an air fryer like this.
Don’t overcrowd the okra in the air fryer basket. The more space they have to breathe, the crispier they will be.
Air fry for 20 minutes, tossing in between. The okra fries will crisp up a bit more as they cool.
Bake for 15-20 minutes.
If deep frying, make sure the oil is hot before frying.
Give it a final tasty touch
For a final touch, toss the kurkuri bhindi in chaat masala while they are warm so the masala sticks to the okra fries.
Tips For Crispy Bhindi
- Thin Slices: Slice the okra thinly for a crispier texture. Thinner slices tend to get crunchier when fried.
- Rice Flour Coating: Mix it with rice flour instead of using only besan (gram flour). The combination of besan and rice flour gives the bhindi an extra crunch.
- Single Layer Frying: Fry the bhindi in small batches in a single layer. Overcrowding the pan can lead to uneven cooking and less crispy bhindi.
What To Serve With Indian Okra Fries
I like eating these on their own. They are so flavor-packed, and chaat masala has a pronounced taste that they don’t really need a dipping sauce, but if you want to explore, here are some ideas:
Tomato Ketchup: These are like fries, so naturally, some ketchup can work!
Mint Yogurt Chutney: A refreshing mint yogurt dip complements the crispy texture of the kurkuri bhindi.
Serve with Chutney: Prepare a tangy mint or tamarind chutney to serve alongside the kurkuri bhindi. The contrast of flavors enhances the overall experience.
You can serve these as a snack or a side dish.
Have you tried this recipe? If you have a minute, please leave a comment telling me how it was! If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creations. I genuinely love hearing from you. Thank you!
Quick Crispy Kurkuri Bhindi (Air Fryer, Baked)
- 1 Baking sheet
- 1 air fryer or oven
- 15 okra about 235-240g, I had medium to large sized bhindi
- 1½ tbsp oil I used olive oil. Any neutral oil can work such as canola.
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1½ tbsp besan flour
- 2 tbsp rice flour used in parts: 1 tbsp mixed in with other ingredients, 1 tbsp used to toss and give a final coating to the okra before air frying/frying/baking
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- Prep: Wash and dry okra very well with a towel. Cut off the top and bottom. Slit in half. Then, cut each half into 3-4 thin slices. Try to aim for 2-3 inch long pieces that are approximately the same size so they cook evenly.
- Preheat airfryer to 380F.
- Mix: Place chopped okra in a deep bowl. Add oil, salt, turmeric, red chili powder, besan flour, 1 tablespoon of the rice flour, and lemon juice to the bowl and toss to mix well.
- Just before air frying, baking, or frying the okra, toss in the remaining 1 tablespoon of rice flour as a coating.
- Air fry, bake or, deep fry: Air fry for 20 minutes, tossing in between. Bake for 15-20 minutes. If deep frying, make sure the oil is hot before frying.
- The okra fries will crispy up a bit more as they cool. For a final touch, toss the kurkuri bhindi in chaat masala.