August 30, 2009

Crispy Okra Salad

I've always loved okra, but it also always intimidated me. I found a really nice looking batch at the San Francisco Tuesday Ferry Building Farmer's Market last week and decided to finally give it a go. Not too bad! Delicious, actually! I was afraid that it would come out gooey and sloppy, but since this recipe asks that you cut it in thin lengthwise slices and deep fry the heck out of it, it turned out fine.

This dish went really well with our dinner that night: Israeli Cous Cous (not really cous cous, more like balls of yummy pasta) and a Moroccan beef stew that our friends made in their crockpot. I can't really describe the taste, because if I tried, it would sound gross: imagine deep fried okra in pico de gallo with an Indian twist?

The original recipe can be found here, but I changed the main spice (from chaat masala to garam masala and used far less of it)

This makes 4 servings

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium or 2 small tomatoes, quartered, seeded, and roughly diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
About 8 cups canola or vegetable oil for frying
1 pound fresh okra, trimmed and cut lengthwise into thin strips
4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (a common/popular mix of indian spices - you can buy it at any store that sells indian spices)

In small mixing bowl, stir together onion, tomato, and cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In wide, 4-inch-deep heavy pot over moderate heat, heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches oil until deep-fat thermometer registers 350°F. Fry okra in batches (returning oil to 350°F between batches) until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer fried okra to paper towels to drain.

In large mixing bowl, combine okra, onion-tomato mixture, lemon juice, salt, and garam masala. Toss gently and serve immediately.

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