Monday, December 21, 2009
This is a simple but stunning hors d'oeuvre, best made just before serving time. Make sure the okra is very fresh and tender, so there is sufficient moisture when it is sliced, and an adequate amount of spice mix adheres to it. Fry gently until crisp. This way the okra will remain crunchy for a few hours. If leftovers get limp, bake them in the oven on low heat for about 20 minutes until crispy. The crisp okra can double as croutons and are delicious over light soups.
1 pound fresh okra
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Rinse the okra and pat it dry; snip off both the ends. Using a sharp paring knife slice each okra pod lengthwise into 4 thin slices. Place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with the lime juice.
2. In a small bowl combine the chickpea flour, salt, cayenne and cumin, and mix well. Sprinkle the spice mixture over on the okra and toss to coat.
3. Fill a large wok or heavy saucepan with oil to a depth of 1½ inches and heat over medium-high heat until very hot, 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. If you do not have a thermometer, add a small piece of okra to the oil to test; if it comes to the surface immediately, bubbling and sizzling the oil is ready. If okra browns instantly, that means the oil is too hot, if it stays at the bottom then the oil is not hot enough. Adjust heat accordingly. Using a slotted spoon, carefully add the okra, in small batches without crowding, to the hot oil. Reduce the heat to medium and deep-fry slowly, separating each piece with a fork; do not allow slices to stick to each other. Cook until crisp and lightly golden, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to transfer the okra to a tray lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining okra. Transfer to a warm serving platter and serve immediately. Serves 6 or so as a snack or an appetizer