Friday, November 30, 2007

No Frills Friday # 2 - Indian Fried Okra

Crusty with besan, dusty with spices--
nothing sticky or icky about it.

Young, tender pod creatures.

Crispy Fried Okra - From the Daawat.Com recipe with special encouragements from Freya's experiments


1 pound okra
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp ajwain seeds
1 tsp amchur powder
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (from equal measures of freshly grated ginger and garlic)
1/2 cup (a.k.a gram or chickpea flour)
Flavorless oil for frying (such as safflower)
Salt to taste (optional - I used store bought chaat masala and found it salty enough.)

2 tbsp ginger, julienned
5 small green chilies, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon


Cut off both ends of the pods and slit lengthwise into 4 strips each. With a paper towel, carefully dry the open cut sides of each strip. They will be minimally moist. Rub a little ginger-garlic paste on each strip, then toss the strips with a well-combined mixture of all the spice powders and besan. Work quickly to coat all the strips. Separate the strips to keep them from touching each other; this discourages moisture.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet until very hot. Add enough okra strips just to cover skillet bottom without crowding. Separate any clinging strips to promote even frying. Fry until uniformly brown and crispy, turning strips over as needed. Remove strips with a slotted spoon to drain on a paper towel. Repeat with remaining strips. Garnish with the ginger and chilies. Sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Serves 4. --

Repeat after me: "Towel dry, quickly fry...towel dry, quickly
fry...towel dry, quickly fry..."

This post is being submitted to the clever Suganya of Tasty Palettes, creator of the challenging (and "tasty") Vegan Ventures event, featuring creative vegan cooking and baking ideas.


Asha said...

YUM!! That is a great dish to have and great entry. Looks crisp and delicious!:)

Lucy said...

They certainly do look like (very beautiful) creatures from somewhere else!

Gorgeous - might even be able to conquer my own okra fear now!

Ann said...

I love fried okra. I must try this-- it looks so wonderful!

bee said...

okra has never looked so glamourous. ever.

sra said...

Ah, so this is a rite of passage - getting over the okra phobia. Congrats!

SteamyKitchen said...

Great recipe - I've been looking for recipes that include amchur powder - I have an entire canister but no recipes!!!

Sandeepa said...

Loved this recipe...going to implement in the next Okra session at house

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Susan, I'm curious: did you have trouble with the coating falling off in the pan? When I make fried okra, most of it falls off and burns in the pan. So I've taken to baking it in the oven, which works better. Perhaps you have a suggestion? Because yours looks fantastic. Thanks so much. -Susan

Suganya said...

Second post the same day.. Just for me.. Aw Susan. Thank you so much :)

Susan said...

Asha – Thanks. It was very crispy. My husband (like many people) does not care for okra, so the “unfortunate” task of finishing it off fell on my happy shoulders. Good thing I made it in batches.; )
Lucy – They do possess great, other worldly beauty, don’t they? And they were only the size of my index and middle fingers – lady fingers, indeed.
Hi, Ann. Thanks. Since you already like okra, this will probably put you over the moon.
Bee – Thanks. I’m going to send okra a proposal to be its PR agent.
Thanks, Sra. If it wasn’t for Indian cuisine, it’s likely I never would have gotten over the hump.
Hi, Jaden. Thanks. Good to see you. An entire canister of amchur, eh? Well, I have a small, but substantial bag of it. Couldn’t resist, but am a bit hard pressed to find the more remote recipes where this snazzy sour powder is routinely used. Thanks for visiting!
Thanks, Sandeepa. I knew you would like it.
Hi, Susan. Thanks. I did have a little trouble with the coating sticking, but not substantially. I don’t know that it’s supposed to be thickly coated like a batter-dipped vegetable, so some fall off is inevitable. Ensuring the fat is super hot and maintaining that temperature is key. Another tip is to work quickly to fry the strips once they are coated. The more they sit waiting in the fry queue, the more the coating damps up. I’d initially thought to bake them, but for the first try, I wanted to follow the recipe as closely as possible. I’ve made baked zucchini strips with excellent results. If flavor is not compromised w/ baking, I’m all for it.
Yes, Suganya. Just for you. I didn’t want to miss your event. I completely support less meat and more vegetables and legumes in every diet.

Nora B. said...

Hi Susan,
I happen to love okra. I always knew them as ladies fingers till I traveled to the USA and I had deep fried okra with some of my African American friends.

Hope thay you tech difficulties will be sorted soon.

Cynthia said...

You know I've never had fried okras like this before... Looks might yummy Sue (can I call you Sue?)

Dhanggit said...

for someone that's not a big fan of okra you still come up with such a lovely recipe!! i love the first could be a good cover for a cookbook !

Patricia Scarpin said...

My dad is absolutely crazy for okra, Susan - he's gonna love this!

Mansi Desai said...

hey Susan! that looks really fact, this simple dish is not quite as easy to make as Okra can become sticky, so the way yours has turned out is great!

Kumudha said...

Looks very tasty!
I should try this sometime. Thanks for the recipe.

Susan said...

Thanks, Nora. Okra is very popular in the southern U.S. in Cajun and, as you mentioned, African cuisine. Now that I've broken the ice, I'll be trying out different recipes.
Thanks, Cynthia. I had something like this in a vegetarian Indian restaurant. That dish gave me the courage to try this.

"Sue" is fine by me, BTW. ; )
Dhanngit - Thanks. I was pretty happy with the first photo myself. Sometimes it pays to revisit foods you never thought you could handle.
Thanks, Patricia. Your dad likes okra? I don't think mine does. ; )
Hi, Mansi. Thanks. I was determined not to "muck" this up. I took a long time thinking it through. The odds were against me, but it was a great success. I really loved it.
Welcome, Kumudha! Thanks. It was tastier than I expected it to be. Good to have you here.

Shaun said...

Susan, lovie ~ Isn't it funny that so many people have had horrible experiences with okra. I, for one, have only had great times cooking it, but I suppose it is because I have read a bit about it by virtue of Roden's various preparations for it in The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. I love the spices and besan. As always, you elevate everything.

So, when are you cooking for me?

P.S. I hope the table worked out for Thanksgiving.

Nanditha Prabhu said...

i love this crispy lady's fingers!

Jyothsna said...

Ah, my mouth's watering! I simply love okra!

Kristen said...

It is rare that okra makes my mouth water, but this recipe sounds (and looks) amazing!

Rosa said...

Fried food has never looked so good! A shame that Nice hasn't discovered okra yet...

Terry B said...

Susan, I'm a HUGE fan of okra, even just steamed and salted. This sounds wonderfully spicy and flavorful. Another great flavorless oil, by the way, is canola. It has a nice, high smoke point for smoke-free frying and offers some of the same health benefits as olive oil.

Dhanggit said...

thanks for tagging me i had you know the food i cannot eat :-) i know this has nothing to do with this beautiful okra post but i wouldnt mind staring and staring again at this wonderful photo.. :-)

Sylvia said...

I love Okra, and spicy and fried it must be delicious.

TBC said...

I love okra. I don't make it often enough 'cos it's so slimy and clingy. Yours has turned out so perfect- nice and crisp. :)

Susan said...

Thanks, Shaun. If you’ve had one ill-prepared okra dish, it can scar you for life. I haven’t seen Roden’s write-ups yet, but I’ll have to peruse now.

When am I cooking for you? Get yourself on over here for keeps, and we’ll see what we can arrange.

The tables turned out to be a great little investment, clean and sturdy lines, solid wood, and the ability to reconfigure them to suit the needs of the moment. Today’s moment is angled and arched with me on the laptop at one end; the one closest kitchen at the other; and the one in the middle functioning, predictably, as a way station for assorted dining and bookish clutter.
Hi, Nanditha. Lady fingers is such a cute name for them.
Thanks, Jyothsna. My photos are a success then. : )
Hi, Kristen. I’m hoping more people will venture into exploring this stigmatized veggie. It’s really all in the preparation.
Thanks, Rosa – Fried food is an occasional treat here, so I was thrilled this recipe was a success. I was worried the okra would gum up the crispiness.
Hi, Terry. I’m ready to try other okra recipes now. I do occasionally use canola oil, but didn’t know about the smoke point. Thanks!
Yes, Dhanggit, now I know! I’m glad you enjoy the photo. Thanks!
Hi, Sylvia. I wonder how Latin cooks would prepare okra? I’ll have to research.
TBC – Thanks. I was able to avoid the stickiness THIS time. We’ll see what my next endeavor proves. ; )

Mishmash ! said...

WOW, cooked okra looks so beautiful in your pics !!!


Susan said...

Thanks, Shn! Beautiful flavor, too.