Okra Fries

Boyfriend and I go to Asheville from time to time in order to have a quick weekend escape and to pretend that Biltmore is our own personal home. Each time we go, we pick a day to have a major meal at Chai Pani, an Indian street food restaurant. Here we can get an obscene quantity of food, seemingly half the menu, for a pittance, and our favorite part of the meal is always their okra fries. Well, that and the fact the waitstaff’s t-shirts say “Namaste, y’all.”

It took me a long time to warm up to okra. I always associated it with sliminess, but have discovered this is not the case. Fried okra is a thing of beauty, and okra fries are easier than the usual buttermilk dunk-cornmeal toss I usually do. I consulted the internet and found a neat little take on the fries at Food and Style.

Make three times as much as you plan to eat because these are delicious and addictive.

okrafrites

Do you know how hard it was to wait for a picture?

Okra Fries

barely adapted from Food and Style

A big-ass pile of okra, washed

Flour

Cornmeal

Salt

Seasoning

Canola Oil

Trim tops of okra and cut pods lengthwise. Heat ½-1” of oil in a pan or fire up (not literally) your deep-fryer. Julienne okra lengthwise. Mix some flour and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Toss okra slivers in this mixture. When oil is hot, drop handfuls of okra carefully into the oil. Cook until the okra is browning. Remove okra to paper towels and salt and season to taste with cayenne pepper or Indian spice mixes (I can promise you that seasoning the dredge is a waste of time, as most of the flour and flavor falls off when the veggies hit the oil). Stuff your face.

PS — While not healthy per se, these are vegan.

6 Responses

  1. Amanda says:

    I pickled okra for the first time last weekend, and I have to wait two weeks to eat it… the suspense is killing me. I’ve practically had to hide the jars from myself.

  2. TheBitsch says:

    “Waitin’ on Okra” sounds like perfect hell and also a great title for a book…

    wanna collaborate? ;)

  3. Devin says:

    My boyfriend and I have been talking about trying to make these okra fries ever since we had them at Chai Pani about a month ago. Your recipe was pretty close! One thing we added that you didn’t mention was lime juice, which we thought was one of the most important features of the recipe. I used an Indian spice mix which I found at my local Whole Foods and it turned out wonderfully! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  4. TheBitsch says:

    Fabulous! I am so glad it worked for you, and I will add the lime juice for sure! (I’m actually sitting here eating a giant bowl of soup soaked in lime. :) It fixes everything except… um… cinnamon rolls? Maybe?)

  5. Tickledrop says:

    My first okra fries also came from Chai Pani! I had hated okra for more than four decades, but a friend ordered these and I couldn’t stop eating them. Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been thinking about them for weeks now. ;)

  6. Daniella says:

    We live just a few miles from Chai Pani and we crave their okra fries all the time! Alas, we have two little ones and don’t have much time or money to go out. I was so excited to find your recipe! I seasoned with salt, pepper, garam masala, cumin, cayenne pepper, and lime. PERFECT, and quite close to the restaurant version. Although julienning the big ole pile of okra felt like it took forever! I think I was slowed down by the baby strapped to my chest…. Thank you for the recipe!

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