No matter how you refer to it, okra/ ladies finger, or to go completely desi (Indian), bhindi, has lovers in all walks and stages of life. Having grown up on a substantial diet of the vegetable, we’ve come to love it in sabzis and kadhis, sambar and raita, but what takes the cake is this crispy, crunchy version in which the darling okra not only lends itself to the spice rub and oil, but also to the grinding of the teeth, which isn’t half as telling with respect to its favorableness. Try it and you’ll know why we’re short of words – and let it also be said that we’ve had our plates (and mouths) full for a while now..
- ½ Kg or about a pound of small/medium fresh Okra/Bhindi/Ladiesfinger
- 1/3 Cup besan/chickpea flour plus 2 tablespoons rice flour, stirred together
- ½ Teaspoon red chilli powder/cayenne or to taste
- ½ Teaspoon coriander powder
- Oil for deep frying
- Salt, powdered rock salt or chaat masala to taste
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Wash the vegetable and pat dry with a kitchen napkin. Spread it out in a single layer on a dry towel and set aside until the okra is completely dry. If pressed for time use a paper towel to individually wipe down each pod and remove the wetness.
- Trim the tops of the okra and discard them. Slice each piece into two along its length.
- Sprinkle the flours all over the okra and add the chilli and coriander powder. Toss lightly and set aside. You can also do this step a few hours ahead and keep the okra in the refrigerator in a closed container until its time to fry. Do not add any salt.
- Heat about 2.5-3″ of oil in a deep frying pan or kadhai. Place the okra in a colander and tap lightly to remove any excess flour. Deep fry about a handful at a time, on medium-high heat until the okra is crisp and browned. Drain well and place it on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Immediately sprinkle the rock salt or chaat masala liberally over the crisps. Serve right away, with lemon wedges on the side.
This dish works well as a starter (make sure that you fry more than you think you will need) or as a scrumptious side to jazz up a regular dal-rice meal.
And if you have a little okra hater in the family, just plonk a platter of these crispy goodies on the table and watch them get gobbled away.
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