Kurkuri Bhindi / Crispy Okra

Bhindi, also known as okra or lady’s finger has always been one of my favourite vegetables. Cooked with lots of sautéed onions , it is meant to be eaten mostly with a roti. Even the most fussy eaters that I know like bhindi with roti or paratha.

Even though I love bhindi, cooking it always has been a nightmare. Anyone who has cooked okra, knows the slimy mess they have to deal with while trimming the ends off, or chopping or even while cooking. It always turns mushy and slimy at some point in the process of cooking 😓.

Adding something sour during cooking, helps cut down the sliminess, but personally I have never been able to achieve the crispy bhindi, till now!

Since the beginning of pandemic, I have been storing a lot of frozen vegetables just to cut down on my trips to the grocery store. Frozen okra is one of those vegetables. I usually prefer to cook whole okra, whether fresh or frozen, because it is less slimy. That being said, this crispy bhindi is achievable with both whole as well as chopped bhindi.

Lazy Day Bhindi

I call it my lazy day bhindi, because it is super easy to cook and I don’t have to stand by the side stove, carefully stirring the bhindi, so as not to make it fall apart or turn to get rid of slime. It goes straight from freezer to a bowl, tossed with seasonings and spices of your choice, a generous measure of cooking oil, onto an aluminum lined baking sheet and into a non preheated oven for 45-50 min! Stir it around at mid way mark and again after 10-12 min. Its done when it reaches the desired crispiness! Serve right away with hot rotis or naan.

Spices

For bhindi I like to keep the spices to very basic and simple. MDH Tawa Fry is my go to spice blend for bhindi! If you like to add your own spices, I would recommend, ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, dried mango powder and salt. If you want, you can also add some turmeric powder, but it is not something I normally add to my bhindi ki sabzi.

Once the bhindi is done, you can add a tempering of curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, thin sliced onions and some dried red chillies in mustard oil. This tempering is totally optional as the bhindi tastes amazing without it too.

Ingredients:

1 kg Fresh or frozen Bhindi/Okra

1 Tbsp MDH Tawa Fry Masala or spice blend of your choice.

1/3 cup cooking Oil

Tempering (Optional):

1 tbsp Mustard Oil

5-6 Curry leaves

3-4 Dried whole red chillies

1 Tsp Mustard seeds

1Tsp Cumin seeds

1/2 Onion thinly sliced.

Method:

  1. Wash , dry and trim the ends off, if using fresh bhindi. If you prefer chopped chindi, chop it into slices of desired thickness. I would recommend 1/2″ thick slices . If you prefer thinner slices, adjust cooking time acordingly. For Frozen bhindi, just toss the bhindi in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add spices, and cooking oil. Toss everything very well.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Lay out bhindi almost flat on the baking sheet. a little overlapping is okay.
  4. Bake at 400F oven( no need to preheat) for 45- 50 min for frozen bhindi, stirring at about 20 minute mark and then as needed, till it is crispy. For fresh bhindi, stir at 15 minute and again as needed. It should be crispy and done by 30 minutes or so.
  5. While the bhindi is baking, you can make the tempering, if using. Heat 1 tbsp mustard oil in a pan at medium heat. When the oil smokes, add dried red chillies, curry leaves, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once the seeds start sputtering, add sliced onion. Cook till onions are translucent, or crispy and caramelized , whichever way you prefer.
  6. Once bhindi is done, plate it out on a serving platter, garnish with tempering and serve hot with rotis or parathas!

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