Air Fryer Bhindi Masala (Indian okra)

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You’ll love this air fryer version of Punjabi bhindi masala. It comes together in less than 30 minutes with very little hands-on time and yields perfect results every time!

A white bowl of bhindi masala, a dish made of okra and tomatoes

Okra (or bhindi as it is called in Hindi) is a food that people tend to either hate or love. As a kid, I couldn’t stand bhindi, but as I’ve learned new ways of preparing it, I soon learned to love okra, especially when paired with tomatoes and onion in a traditional bhindi masala recipe.

This air fryer bhindi recipe is an even easier version of my already simple bhindi masala recipe. Not only does the air fryer make this Indian okra dish easy to prepare, but it also cooks okra perfectly and is not the least bit slimy. This makes air fryer okra a popular dish even with kids, and especially when served with fresh roti or rice, accompanied by dal.

Bhindi Masala is a Punjabi recipe that is made with lady’s fingers (also known as bhindi, or okra in English), onion, tomato, and fragrant spices. While the classic dish requires the tempering of cumin or mustard seeds, this easy air fryer masala bhindi is much simpler to prepare.

Air fryer lady’s fingers require very little hands-on time and are easy to make even with frozen okra!

Reasons to love this recipe

  1. It’s ready in just 30 minutes, and requires no extra time to sauté the onions and tomatoes. Just dump it all onto the tray and add it to the air fryer.
  2. Air fried okra is not at all slimy. Instead it is flavorful, crisp, and perfectly cooked every time.
  3. You can even use frozen bhindi in your air fryer, no thawing needed! Cooking frozen okra in the air fryer is so simple. All you have to do is add the okra, onions, tomatoes, and spices and walk away.
  4. This is my favorite way to prepare frozen fried okra. Not only is it flavorful, but it is also easy to make with little preparation and almost completely hands-free.

Health benefits of okra

Okra is a great source of vitamins and minerals, in particular vitamins C and K. It is also packed with antioxidants, which help your body fight off harmful free radicals.

Read more: Nutrition and health benefits of okra.

Here’s what you need

Ingredient notes

  • Okra – also known as bhindi or lady’s fingers (both frozen and fresh will do)
  • Tomatoes – roma tomatoes are the best, since they have few seeds
  • Onions – peeled and finely chopped
  • Oil, carom seeds, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder, and kashmiri chili powder.
A plate of bhindi masala, served with roti and a lime wedge

Prep ahead tip: Using frozen okra

You can use frozen okra for this recipe too! Before freezing, make sure you rinse and completely dry them. Chop them to the desired size and transfer them to a freezer-safe container such as Zip Top.

Do not thaw before using!

Air Frying Tips

For best results, follow the guidelines below

  • No overcrowding – Always arrange food in a single layer and cook in batches if needed.
  • Spray oil on your food unless the protein already has oil in the marinade.
  • Use a parchment paper or grease your tray / basket to ensure food won’t stick.
  • Toss or flip the food halfway during cooking to make sure the food is cooked evenly.

Tools

You’ll need an air fryer to make this recipe. Here are the two that I recommend 

Cooking with okra

After rinsing okra, dry it completely. To avoid okra from getting slimy while cooking –

  • Rinse the okra under running water to remove any dirt or grime. I do it one by one to make sure every single one of them is dirt-free.
  • Use a clean cloth or paper towel and pat it dry. 
  • Spread it over a clean plate to air-dry them. For best results, air-dry them overnight.

Storage tips

Store the leftovers in the refrigerator. Consume within 3-4 days. Reheat the masala bhindi using a microwave.

Serve it with

Here are a few of the best dishes to serve with your Indian fried okra:

Pink circle with light bulb

FAQs about Air Fryer Roasted Okra

What’s the difference between bhindi and okra?

There is no difference! Bhindi is simply the Hindi word for okra. It is often also called lady’s fingers, since the shape is smooth and long with a tapered end, just like a lady’s finger. All three terms are referring to the same plant.

How do you clean okra for frying?

Rinse each okra very well under running water, and dry completely by patting with paper towels or a clean towel. Make sure your okra is completely dry to ensure you get the best results and no slimy texture.

Do you thaw frozen okra before air frying?

You do not need to thaw frozen okra before air frying. Just add the frozen sliced okra to the air fryer tray and cook directly from the frozen.

What temperature do you air fry frozen okra?

Air fry your frozen okra at 375F for 16 minutes, turning at the halfway point to ensure even cooking.

How do you fry okra without it being slimy?

If you frequently have slimy okra, the solution is very simple – after you rinse the okra, dry it completely. Rinse each okra to ensure it is completely dirt-free, then use a clean cloth or paper towel to pat it dry. Also, do not add water to your okra before or during frying.

Why is my bhindi sticky?

Your bhindi can become very sticky if they have not been properly rinsed and dried. It is very important that you dry your bhindi very well, patting each one dry with a paper towel or clean cloth.

How do you keep bhindi green while cooking?

Adding salt to your bhindi before cooking will help it retain its green color, as well as be careful not to overcook it. The longer you cook your bhindi, the more the color will fade.

How do you pick fresh okra?

Always pick okras that are bright green, crisp, and do not have blemishes. 

More side dish recipes

If you love this Indian-style okra, I know you will enjoy my other Indian side dishes. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Bhindi do pyaza – This caramelized onion and okra recipe takes all of 20 minutes to cook and goes well with rotis, rice, and dal.
  2. Bhindi masala – This flavorful bhindi masala recipe will capture your heart. Cooked in a tangy onion-tomato masala, this vegan and gluten-free okra dish tastes great with freshly made rotis. 
  3. Aloo methi – Aloo methi combines stir-fried potatoes (aloo) with freshly chopped fenugreek leaves (methi) to create an aromatic and flavorful side dish that is best savored with ghee laden rotis.
  4. Cabbage kootu – This delightful combination of cabbage and chana dal sabzi is a simple and delicious accompaniment to rice and sambar. Make this easy vegetable dish in about 30 minutes using your Instant Pot.
  5. Beans poriyal is traditionally made over the stovetop, but this Instant-Pot version will blow your mind – because it pressure cooks in zero minutes. Pair it with rice and your favorite curry for a complete meal.
A plate of bhindi masala with a fresh roti on the side, served with a lime wedge.

Air Fryer Bhindi Masala Recipe (Indian okra)

5 from 1 vote
You'll love this air fryer version of Punjabi bhindi masala. It comes together in less than 30 minutes with very little hands-on time and yields perfect results every time!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 31 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Dairy-free, Nut-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Course : Side Dish
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
  

For garnishing

  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Wash the bhindi/okra and pat dry them with a towel. Let it air-dry overnight, if possible.
  • Cut the bhindi to the desired size.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, add all the ingredients (except cilantro) and combine well.
  • Place parchment paper on the cooking tray. Add the okra mixture and spread them evenly. Place the cooking tray inside the air fryer.
  • Press Air Fry. Set temperature to 375°F and set time for 16 minutes [see note].
  • Around the halfway mark, rotate the tray and stir the bhindi for even cooking.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with warm rotis.

Notes

The cooking time can vary depending you are using fresh or frozen okra. For frozen okra, set the timer to 16 minutes and for fresh okra set it to 18 minutes. 

Pantry EssentialsGetting the right tools for your kitchen makes cooking more enjoyable and less frustrating. Here’s a list of kitchen essentials I own and recommend.

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 602mgPotassium: 524mgFiber: 6gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1342IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 115mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : Air fryer recipes, easy, frozen, Okra, Punjabi

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