Local Chef & Instructor Vinod Lohtia shares recipes for two delicious dishes after arriving home from his culinary tour of India. First Lohtia makes Boondi Payas; a snack food made from sweetened fried chick-pea flour. Then he offers up his tips for making Kurkuri Bhindi; deep-fried okra smeared with spices.

Boondi Payas

Yield: 4-6 Servings


  • 6 oz. Sweet boondi-bought
  • 4 cups milk full fat or half and half cream
  •  3 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch saffron
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp pistachios, sliced


Heat the milk in a pot along with the bay leaves and reduced to half. Discard the bay leaves. Add the sugar and mix well till it has dissolved. Allow to cool.

Add the boondi, saffron, rose water, and cardamom powder and mix gently. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, sprinkle with pistachios and serve.

Kurkuri Bhindi

Yield: 4 servings


  • 500 g Bhindi Okra
  • 3 tbsp gram flour/chick-pea flour
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp chat masala
  • Pinch turmeric
  • ½ tsp amchur/Mango powder
  • ½ tbsp coriander powder (roasted)
  • ½ tsp cumin powder (roasted)
  • ½ tsp garam-masala
  • kosher salt to taste
  • sprinkle of black-salt
  • ¾ tsp chili powder
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1-2 cilantro sprigs


Rinse the okra in water for 3-4 times. Wipe them dry with kitchen towel. Cut the top of the okra, then cut into vertically in to four, and then to fine juliennes/ strips. Place the okra in to a bowl. Add salt, lemon juice and toss well.

Now add all the dry spices one by one to the okra. Toss/mix well with hand/spoon gently. Add gram-flour to okra. Gently mix the gram flour with okra, and must evenly coat the okra.

You can fry right away, or marinate for 15 minutes. Heat up the oil to 350f-375f. , fry in batches. Fry the marinated okra until golden brown and crisp on a medium to high heat. Keep stirring the okra so they get fried evenly. Take them out on paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with black- salt. Garnish with ginger julienne (optional), and sprig of cilantro.