Spotlight on Guest Blogger: JM’s Crispy Indian Okra Salad

When we had our last Celiac Bay Area Support Group meeting, we were all treated to a wonderful buffet of delicious Indian food. I liked every dish that I tried, but one of my favorites was probably this okra salad brought by an ambitious, internationally inclined chef that we will call JM. (shhh.) I loved the dish because while I thoroughly enjoy the flavor of okra, I’ve never been sold on that sticky, slimy texture- and this recipe manages to preserve everything I love about okra and yet get rid of all the stickiness at the same time. JM is modest, and says it’s not that she has mad cooking skills but rather, mad recipe SELECTING skills. Whatever she says, this recipe was absolutely delish and everyone at the party seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. That’s why, when I found out I’d be out of town for a few weeks, I asked JM’s permission to share it here with you. Enjoy!

Crispy Indian Okra Salad
* 1 1/4 teaspoons garam masala
* 1/4 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional, see Note)
* Vegetable oil, for frying
* 1 pound young okra—halved lengthwise and cut into long, thin strips
* Kosher salt
* 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
* 1 medium tomato—cored, seeded and sliced into thin strips
* 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (Meyer works well)
1. In a small bowl, combine the garam masala with the amchoor powder.
2. In a large, deep pot, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 350°. Working in batches, fry the okra strips, stirring a few times, until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried okra to a large paper towel lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with some of the spice mixture and salt.
3. In a large bowl, gently toss the fried okra with the red onion, tomato, cilantro and lemon juice. Season the salad with more of the spice mixture and salt and serve immediately.

NOTES amchoor powder, which is made from dried green mangoes, adds a fruity, tangy note to this dish.

Everything I love about okra, and nothing I don’t… A lovely, light but CRUNCHY vegetable dish.- Sea’s comment

JM’s notes:
When the recipe says fry until golden and crisp, it means just a little past a wee bit golden. After burning the first batch, I kept pulling slivers out until they were cooked just to the point where they were crispy, which took longer than the 4 minutes the recipe suggests even with bringing the oil back up to 350 between batches. Next time I’ll fry something random before putting the food I’m actually working on in the oil, I read at some point that oil works best after it has fried something and has food bits in it. That way the slaved-over okra slivers won’t go to waste.

If you come up with some sort of shortcut to get those okra slivers slivered, please let me know! It’s just an endless process of slicing sticky okra. I don’t know if a mandolin would help all that much, but maybe.

*The okra is pictured in the upper left portion of the plate- sorry that there’s no better photo. Also pictured, channa dal, palak paneer (also made by JM), and quinoa cauliflower curry. All very yummy!*

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5 Responses to “Spotlight on Guest Blogger: JM’s Crispy Indian Okra Salad”

  1. Yum! What’s not to love about okra with Indian spices?!

  2. I’ve also not been a big fan of okra, but this recipe sounds great. I will be open-minded and give it another try. Thanks for the suggestion. And oh, I wish I lived on your coast – I’d love to join your dinners!

  3. This looks fantastic!

  4. We’ll have fresh okra in the garden soon. I’ll be trying this recipe when we start picking the new pods. Thanks Sea!


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