Okra, or bindhi, is cooked in many different ways in all sorts of Indian, Bangladeshi and Srilankan dishes. For best results it should be fried in a little oil until golden brown with a nutty taste, then added to other vegetables or covered with a sauce. Spicy fried okra is very simple and is eaten as a snack in many parts of South Asia.
Recipe serving: 4-6
Cook time: 15 minutes
2 tbsp yogurt
1. cups corn flour
21⁄4lb (1kg) fresh okra
1. cups vegetable oil, for deep frying
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the batter, spoon the yogurt into a large bowl. Sift in the corn flour, and whisk together to blend. Continue whisking while slowly adding cold water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the batter is the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thin, simply add a little extra yogurt. Season well with salt and pepper, then set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cut the okra in half lengthwise. Place in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Let drain for a few minutes, then give the colander a good shake to drain off any excess water. Turn the okra onto a clean towel, and pat dry to remove any moisture.
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. To test that the oil is hot enough, coat a piece of okra with the batter and drop into the oil. It should sizzle immediately; if it doesn’t, let the oil get hotter before adding any more okra. When the oil is ready, take a handful of okra and dip into the batter. Carefully drop the battered okra into the hot oil, scattering them across the surface of the oil so that they do not stick together. (It is important to cook the okra in batches; otherwise the temperature of the oil will drop and the okra will become soggy.) Move the okra around the pan as they are frying, separating them with a slotted spoon. Fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown all over. Remove from the oil and drain well on paper towels. Keep warm while you continue cooking in batches until all the okra is used.