Looking for healthy alternatives to your favorite deep-fried foods? These air fryer Indian recipes, that you can make with minimal oil, are the perfect guilt-free options!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Why make these air fryer Indian recipes?
A lot of my favorite foods and snacks tend to be deep-fried. What is it about fried food that’s so comforting and so darn good?!
There are so many delicious deep-fried foods that I love, but often avoid because of the high-calorie count and the dangers they pose to my health.
In fact, did you know that eating fried food increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 22 percent, and heart failure by 37 percent? These numbers are mind-boggling!
Does this mean we can’t enjoy our favorite deep-fried foods anymore? Well, we don’t have to give them up altogether. We just need to find new, healthier ways to make our favorite dishes.
Oven baking is one alternative, and a newer cooking method that’s rising in popularity in recent years is air frying. An air fryer uses minimal oil to cook food, producing a crispy end result.
There are a ton of delicious Indian recipes that you can make with your air fryer such as pakoras, chicken 65, and fish cutlets.
Many of these dishes are traditionally deep-fried, but air frying them with minimal oil is a healthier way of enjoying these recipes without the added grease and calories!
Here is a list of Indian recipes you can make in your air fryer.
13 Healthy Air Fryer Indian Recipes
1. Onion pakora
Onion pakoras are made with slices of onion that are dipped in a spicy, flavorful batter and deep-fried. This popular Indian street food pairs well with a hot cup of masala tea.
Of course, onion pakoras are delicious, but they can also be quite greasy when deep-fried. Instead of deep-frying, why not make this tasty snack item in the air fryer?
In addition to using less oil, another advantage of using the air fryer is you don’t have to babysit these pakoras stove side. Just put them in the air fryer and walk away, coming back only to flip the pakoras halfway.
2. Chicken 65
Chicken 65 is a popular South Indian dish made by deep-frying boneless chicken pieces.
The chicken pieces are marinated with ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric, and other spices before being fried, so it goes without saying that this dish is spicy, delicious, and super addictive!
Once you marinate the chicken pieces for a few hours, swap out your deep fryer for an air fryer. In a matter of minutes, you can enjoy a healthier version of this popular South Indian starter.
3. Gobi 65
This is a vegetarian version of chicken 65 made with cauliflower florets, but it’s equally spicy and delicious! It’s the perfect vegetarian starter for a dinner party with friends.
And the best part is, you don’t have to slave away by the stove to make these. Pop them into the air fryer and get on with your other hosting duties!
Gobi Manchurian is an Indo-Chinese dish of battered and fried cauliflower florets tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce.
Instead of deep-frying the cauliflower, you can air-fry them before tossing them through the yummy, sticky Manchurian sauce.
Tandoori chicken is a classic Indian dish of oven-baked chicken. The chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices, then baked in a large clay oven, known as a tandoor.
If you don’t have a tandoor or conventional oven at home, you can easily replicate this dish using your air fryer. Just marinate your chicken pieces with yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric, and garam masala for at least 1 hour before popping them into the air fryer.
This goes great with rice or naan bread. You can even enjoy it on its own as a starter or appetizer.
When you’re having rice and curry, what is your side dish of choice? I prefer something deep-fried and crunchy for a little added texture!
But of course, this can’t be an everyday thing because fried food isn’t the best for you. Air-fried food, on the other hand, is much healthier. So why not pair your rice and curry with air-fried bhindi or okra?
People tend to avoid okra because they can be slimy sometimes, but have you tried frying them? They’re super yummy! Just cut your okra lengthwise, dip in batter, and air fry until golden and crispy!
When it comes to the gourd family, snake gourd isn’t the most popular, but it’s a commonly enjoyed vegetable in South Indian households.
Snake gourd is often cut into rings, deep-fried, and served with rice. Just like okra, you can air fry these rings for a crispy yet healthy side dish that you can enjoy with rice or on its own as a snack.
A more popular cousin of the snake gourd, of course, is bitter gourd. Most South Indian mums deep-fry bitter gourd for their kids because though they have numerous health benefits, they can be super bitter!
Frying them helps to cut through some of that bitterness and makes them more enjoyable to eat.
However, deep-frying bitter gourd to make them more palatable can be pretty counter-productive since the calories and grease from the frying counteracts any health benefits this vegetable stands to offer.
So instead of deep-frying bitter gourd, you can air fry them with minimal oil to reap their full health benefits.
9. Naan pizza
This is a great Indian-Italian fusion dish that you can make at home with your air fryer. Basically, you use the naan bread as a pizza base and spread sauce over it before topping it with anything you like plus CHEESE, of course!
Pop it into the air fryer until the cheese melts and the naan bread (and toppings) are warmed through. Top your naan pizzas with chili flakes for an added kick of spice.
This is a great way to use any leftover naan bread that you have in the fridge. Plus, everyone can make their own and customize the toppings according to their personal preference.
Move over frittata brunch, hello naan pizza party!
10. Paruppu vadai
Even as an adult, I still get excited when my mum makes these South Indian delicacies for tea time!
Paruppu vadai is made with soaked chana dal or lentils that are coarsely ground. To this mixture, aromatics such as chopped onion, chili, curry leaves, and coriander leaves are added.
Once everything is nicely combined, patties are formed with the mixture and deep-fried until golden brown.
This is the perfect tea time snack – it’s crispy on the outside and soft, almost pillowy on the inside. Eaten hot, these patties taste heavenly! For a healthier version, you can make this in the air fryer. Enjoy this air-fried tea time snack guilt-free!
Samosas are another popular tea-time snack. They’re made with pastry that’s usually filled with a spicy potato mix and deep-fried to golden brown perfection.
Samosas are crispy, spicy, and very addictive! It’s impossible to have only one, which is why the deep-fried version can be pretty dangerous.
Air frying samosas is a great way to turn this guilty pleasure into a healthier snack that pairs perfectly with a cup of tea.
12. Fish cutlet
Fish cutlets, or Indian-style fish cakes, are a wonderful starter for any meal. These cutlets can be made with fleshy fish such as mackerel, or you can even make it with canned tuna.
Although usually deep-fried, these cutlets can also be made in an air fryer. You can even make these cutlets ahead of time and freeze them. Whenever you’re in the mood for fish cutlets, just pop them into the air fryer and enjoy!
13. Aloo tikki
Aloo tikki is a potato patty that’s a great vegetarian alternative to fish cutlets. They are usually deep-fried with lots of oil.
Air frying these patties makes them a much healthier plant-based snack that you can enjoy with your family. You can even add other veggies like green peas for added color and flavor. These patties are best served hot with chili sauce or ketchup on the side.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is air fryer good for Indian cooking?
Yes! Air fryer can be used to a make various Indian recipes including vegetables, snacks, appetizers, side dishes, and main courses. It’s a great way to make crispy foods using minimal oil.
What Indian items can be cooked in air fryer?
A variety of Indian dishes can be cooked using an air fryer, including:
- Onion pakora
- Chicken 65
- Gobi 65
- Tandoori chicken
- Fried okra
- Fried snake gourd
- Fried bitter gourd
- Naan pizza
- Fish cutlet
- Aloo tikki
Can poori be cooked in air fryer?
Yes. Preheat your air fryer at 180C. Grease the air fryer basket with an oil mister and place the poori inside. Spray the top with oil as well. Air fry for 5 – 6 minutes.
What you should not cook in air fryer?
Avoid cooking anything with a wet batter such as bajji in the air fryer. It ends up creating a mess. The batter will drip down through the gaps in the air fryer basket before it has had time to set, so you won’t get that crunchy outer shell.
Can I put aluminium foil in an air fryer?
Yes. It is safe to use aluminium foil in your air fryer. In fact, it makes cleanup much easier. However, it’s best to poke holes in the foil before lining your air fryer basket to promote proper heat circulation. Alternatively, you can use perforated parchment paper instead.
Can you put a glass dish in an air fryer?
Yes, you can use glass, ceramic, metal, or silicone dishes or molds in the airfryer, as long as they are ovenproof.
Air Fryer South Indian recipes
Deep-fried foods are totally YUM!
Yes, they can be greasy and unhealthy, but we don’t have to cut them out of our diet altogether. Instead, we can find healthier alternative ways of making our favorite foods, so we don’t end up feeling deprived.
And of course, using an air fryer also means you don’t have to hang around next to the stove, babysitting your food. You can just set the timer on your air fryer and do whatever else that’s on your to-do list for the day!
Cut down on calories…check!
Save time and energy…double check!
There are a thousand different ways to use your air fryer to cut down on calories and oil when cooking. If you’re in the mood for some Indian comfort food, whip out that air fryer and be sure to try out one of these air fryer Indian recipes!