Gochujang kurkuri bhindi is all about crispy, spicy Korean inspired okra. Dunked in a spicy gochujang batter and fried till perfectly crisp.
Kurkuri bhindi is a pretty common okra dish that’s served as an appetiser in Indian restaurants. It can also be served as part of a meal/a side if desired.
The okra are battered in a light, crisp coating and then deep fried. The closest thing I can compare it to texturally would be tempura, but even then it’s still not close. It’s a popular dish as it incorporates a mouthful of flavours. It’s spicy, tangy, salty and very addictive.
Anything deep fried is a treat, and this is definitely one of them. This is limited to special occasions only, it’s not something I make regularly. It’s hugely addictive, almost dangerously if I’m honest – there’s just something about spicy crisp food that makes it so more-ish. This isn’t for the faint hearted either, it packs a punch because of the gochujang but the dipping sauce definitely cools it all down. I know most of you may be wondering what gochujang is, I’ll run through it below!
Gochujang is a Korean red pepper paste that’s spicy, salty and has a mild sweetness. It’s made from Korean red chilli powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. Gochujang is quite a thick and sticky paste and has an amazing vibrant red colour. It’s normally sold in tubs in East Asian supermarkets, but you may find it in the world food’s aisle in some regular supermarkets. I buy the Chung Jong One Sunchang gold gochujang which is my personal favourite and I get mine from my local East Asian shop in North London.
With gochujang, one thing to keep in mind is that it’s spicy. Hence a little can go a long way – if you add too much it will be very overpowering and potentially too hot. You also want to take into account the saltiness, so be cautious when adding any soy sauce, miso, or salt.
It’s a brilliant ingredient to add to sauces, marinades and broths as it adds a ton of flavour and a great shine – plus if you like spicy food then this will become a pantry essential for you. You could even mix some gochujang into some mayonnaise to make a spicy Korean mayo!
What you’ll need
- Okra – try and find these as fresh as you can. Frozen won’t work for this recipe. Fresh okra will feel firm to the touch but not hard. They will have a vibrant green colour – the greener it is, the fresher. There should be no bruising/browning on the main body of the okra but it’s fine if the stem is brown
- Gochujang – see above
- Light soy and rice vinegar – for seasoning. Substitute rice vinegar with lemon juice/white vinegar if required
- Chaat masala – provides a street food-esque flavour and just enhances the other elements in here!
- White pepper – provides an earthy flavour without the heat that black pepper has
- Gram flour (chickpea flour) – necessary for binding the batter together
- Rice flour/cornflour – binding and helps these crisp up really well!
- Water – you may need to add a touch of water to help to loosen the batter and help it stick
If you want to make the same dipping sauce that I did, it’s just a mix of mayo, tahini, honey (or syrup) and water. Full recipe for the gochujang kurkuri bhindi at the bottom of the page!
Gochujang Kurkuri Bhindi
- 175 g okra tops sliced off, and cut lengthways
- 3 tbsp gochujang paste
- 1 tsp light soy
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp chaat masala
- Pinch of white pepper
- 3 tbsp gram flour
- 1 tbsp rice/corn flour
- 1 tsp water if needed
- 1 tbsp oil if airfrying/baking
- Oil for deep frying
- 2 tbsp mayo I use a vegan mayo
- 1 tsp tahini
- 0.5 tsp honey
- 2 tsp water
- Mix your gochujang, soy, vinegar, salt, chaat masala, and white pepper together until combined. If air frying or baking, add your tbsp of oil as well
- Add this to your sliced okra and fold till it is evenly coated
- Allow this to sit for 5 mins, the okra will release some moisture and will start to become sticky, this will help to bind your flours
- Next, add in your flours and fold until all evenly coated. If your batter is very thick and “clumpy”, add 1-2tsp of water and continue to mix
- Deep fry for 2 mins, the okra should be gently bubbling throughout. It is not a quick fry- if your oil temp is too high, these will burn.
- Alternatively, bake in a preheated oven at 180’C for 12-15 mins, or air fry at 180’C for 7-8mins
- For the mayo, simply mix all ingredients together, the water is required to loosen the consistency
- Best served immediately.