Prep Time: 20 to 30 minutesCooking Time: 5 minutesTotal Time: 25 to 30 minutesYield: Serves 4
5 ml (1 tsp) coriander seeds
1 ml (¼ tsp) fennel seeds
5 ml (1 tsp) cumin seeds
vegetable oil, as needed for frying
1 large egg
60 ml (¼ c) buttermilk
1 medium serrano, habañero or jalapeño chilli, finely chopped
30 g (2 tbsp) chickpea flour
30 g (2 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour
2.5 ml (½ tsp) coarse sea salt (kosher salt)
2.5 ml (½ tsp) freshly ground black pepper
450 g (2 pt/about 1 lb) okra, stems removed, cut on a sharp diagonal into bite-sized slices
sea salt to taste
In a small pan over medium heat, lightly toast the coriander, fennel and clove until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool completely; grind and set aside. Toast the cumin seeds in the same fashion and add them to the ground spices. (Note: The cumin should not be ground.)
Fill a deep, heavy stockpot with 10 cm (3 in) of oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 180°C/350°F.
Meanwhile, beat the egg in a small bowl and whisk in the buttermilk and serrano chilli. In another medium bowl, combine the chickpea flour, plain flour, salt, pepper and spice mixture. Put the okra slices into the bowl with the flour mixture and combine, leaving a light dusting on each piece. Pour the egg mixture on top and mix with your hands, making sure to coat all surfaces.
In batches, use a large slotted spoon to carefully lay loosely formed handfuls of
6 to 8 okra slices into the hot oil. Cook until the okra is golden brown and uniformly crisp, turning as necessary, about 2 minutes. Drain the fried okra on a clean brown paper bag; season with sea salt. Serve with hot tomato relish, if desired.
This flowering green plant, also called lady’s fingers, frequently appears in Southeastern dishes. It’s most commonly battered, deep-fried and served with buttermilk dressing.
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