Sunday, August 12, 2012

Okra - The Rodney Dangerfield of Veggies

That;s right, okra gets no respect I tell ya. These beautiful green pods, often called Ladyfingers in Indian and other Asian cultures are misunderstood and under appreciated. I'll admit, cooked badly (and it often is), okra be pretty nasty. It can get slimy and funky tasting. Cooked correctly, this member of the mallow family, can be amazingly delicious on its own or a tasty addition in a variety of dishes -- like this one.

We recently ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant about 1/2 hour from our home called Rangoli and, among other "small plates" we had a fried okra dish that we so good we ordered a second helping. We enjoyed it so much we wanted to try to recreate it at home. Here's Cynthia's version.

  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 scant tsp (sweet) paprika
  • several grinds of black pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 - 2 dozens okra pods, the smaller the better but you'll need a few more
  • sea salt, finely ground
  •  Mix the flour, smoked paprika, cumin, sweet paprika and black pepper through a wire mesh colander to insure complete blending.
  •  Cut the okra on the bias into 1/4 inch slices
  • Place cut okra slices into the colander and cover with dry ingredient mixture
  •   Toss to coat well then shake to remove excess coating

  • Heat the oil (about 1/2 inch deep) in a shallow pan with plenty of cooking space
  • Fry slices about 30 seconds per side until GBD (golden brown and delicious)

  • Remove and place on a drain rack and salt liberally immediately

These crispy and spicy treats are addicting and are perfect as a side dish with burgers, as a appetizer or all by themselves with a cold beer. If you've had okra done badly and think you don't like it, I promise you these will change your mind.

Final note: The spice mix here is Cynthia's and probably different from what they used at Rangoli. I'm sure these are a million combinations that would be just as good. Be creative, use things you like, just give okra a chance.



  1. I should try it! Never had it before. I wonder what else I could do with it to make it a teensy bit healthier??

  2. Okra is the best thing since sliced bread - love it and it NEVER needs to be slimy if u make sure its done dry before cooking or cutting. We cook it a lot in Pakistani cuisine here is my fav recipe:

  3. Great, thanks for your comment and for the recipe.

  4. It's been a long time since I've had properly prepared okra and this sounds delicious, Al! I love the use of smoked paprika and cumin for a more rounded flavor... Thanks so much for sharing...

  5. I hear ya! I love okra and enjoy picking fresh ones every summer despite the pain when I sometimes don't bother with gloves! Love your recipe, I must confess I'll eat them any which way!

  6. Okras are one of my favourite vegetables and so easy to cook as long as you wash and dry them before chopping them. I have a couple of okra recipes on my blog if you wish to try a new recipe.


    1. Thanks Mina - we have some okra (from the supermarket since we have already eaten what we grew) in the refrigerator right now. I'll definitely take a look at your recipes.


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