A spin on Classic Southern Fried Okra done with Indian flavors.
Think about this. An Indian guy from Mumbai living in the Deep South here in the United States puts out a recipe for fried okra on his blog. Crazy idea… RIGHT!!! But stay with me on this. Taste just one of these crispy deep-fried nuggets of deliciousness and your life will never be the same.
I came to the US in 2005 for my post-graduate studies and have lived down here in the south since then, first in South Carolina & then in Tennessee. I am in no way calling myself a true southerner but I have taken quiet a liking to the way of life here, especially the famous southern hospitality and the food. I have pretty much feasted on things like biscuits and gravy to barbecue to the pecan pies.
In addition to the hospitality and food a close friend of mine once said that a prerequisite to being branded as a true southerner is learning to fry and it has to be a southern staple like fried chicken or fried okra. But hey we Indians are no slouches in this either and can fry with the best of them.
Like any other Indian I grew up eating a lot of fried food myself with my favorites being the different types of vegetable fritters or “PAKORAS” as they are locally called. The veggies are dipped in seasoned gram flour and then deep-fried. Onion and Potato fritters are so popular that food carts selling these goodies are found in every nook and cranny of Mumbai. These fritters are usually served with ketchup or some tangy tamarind chutney and pair very well with a cup of tea. In fact chai-pakoras (tea & fritters) is something which always bails you out in case of emergencies like guests dropping by unannounced or you needing a quick meal on the go.
For me these pakoras always remind me of the monsoons in India. One thing that I always did in these rainy days and my mom always hated (sorry mom) is to play soccer when it was pouring cats & dogs outside. Usually I came back home in a mess and had to face the wrath of an angry mother. It did not take long for all that anger to melt away after which she always served me a bowl of steaming hot pakoras. Eating those piping hot fritters at that time always gave me a comforting feeling and warmed the cockles of my heart instantly.
It was on one such rainy day here in Nashville that I decided to fry up some pakoras. I went in the kitchen looking for some veggies and the first thing I saw was the bag of okra that I had bought the previous day from the farmer’s market. That was when I decided to combine two of my favorite things, my love for southern food & Indian spices. The result was my version of this much loved southern staple “FRIED OKRA”.
This recipe is simple and easy to make. Wash okra under running water and dry it completely. Slice off the tops & cut each in 1” long pieces.
Dry roast the cumin seeds. Set aside to cool. In a bowl combine gram flour, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and the roasted cumin seeds. Add water to make a smooth batter.
Heat oil in a pan. Dip the okra in the batter to get an even coating and add it to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.
Serve hot with Mint chutney or Ketchup.
- 1 cup Gram Flour/ Besan
- ½ lb Okra/ Bhindi
- 1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Roasted Cumin Seeds
- Salt to taste
- Water as needed
- Oil for Frying
- Wash okra under running water and dry them completely.
- Slice off the tops & cut each in 1” long pieces.
- Dry roast the cumin seeds. Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl combine gram flour, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and the roasted cumin seeds. Add water to make a smooth batter.
- Heat oil in a pan. Dip the okra in the batter to get an even coating and add it to the hot oil.
- Fry until golden brown.
- Drain on absorbent paper.
- Serve hot with Mint chutney or Ketchup.