Fried Okra Halves
If you like the flavor of okra but don’t care of the “slimy” texture it can have, this is a great recipe and process to follow. It was inspired by a video on YouTube. Although the presentation is not in English, the video is clear enough in detail to get the gist of this splendid okra dish.
The first time I tried it was mid-afternoon, intending to include the okra as part of dinner. Come dinner time there was none left. Leaving the tip ends on the okra provides nice little handles for using this dish as finger food.
Always choose tender young okra pods. They cook quickly and the flavor is far superior to the larger, tougher pods. If you are growing your own okra, you should be cutting at least every other day to keep the pods from getting too large. Have you noticed those pods grow as quickly as zucchini? You must stay on it!
The recipe calls for besan –chickpea flour. If you have it, by all means use it. Lacking the besan, I used corn flour — not corn meal, but corn flour. The result was splendid. If you have a problem with corn, look for the chickpea flour. It is usually available in Middle Eastern markets. If you make a stop at one, look for mango powder while you’re there.
Chili powder is what adds the interest to this dish. Know your chili! Some powders are hotter than others. Add the chili to suit yourself.
Wash the okra well in advance of cooking to allow time for the pods to dry. Dry okra helps to ensure a slime-free dish.
Fried Okra Ingredients
- 1 pound tender okra
- 1 cup corn flour or chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon mango powder or fresh lime zest
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- High heat oil
Fried Okra Steps
- Cut the tops from the okra pods and slice the pods in half lengthwise.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a shallow bowl.
- Press the okra pods into the dry ingredients so that both sides of each pod are well coated. More will stick on the seedy side. That’s good.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet to the point that an okra seed dropped in the pan sizzles.
- Arrange the okra pieces one at a time in the hot oil. Do not crowd them. You want to leave enough space to easily turn the okra over to fry on the second side. This means you will be frying in batches. You could speed things up by using two skillets. In this case, be ready to work fast.
- Fry the okra until both sides are brown.
- Drain the fried okra on a platter covered with paper towels.
- Taste for salt. Sprinkle on more if need be.
- Arrange on a serving platter with something pretty like cubed heirloom tomatoes.
This fried okra is delicious served hot or at room temperature. At room temperature, of course some of the crispiness has disappeared. Worry not! No one complains.