Crispy Okra Fries
Featured in Garden & Gun Magazine - June 2014
serves 4 as an appetizer.
Meherwan Irani learned to cook from his mother. And while he is not unique in that respect, he must be one of the few chefs in the country who asked his mother to train the kitchen staff, too. The menu at Chai Pani, a color-splashed bastion of citrus and spice in Asheville, North Carolina, is rooted in the flavors of the chef’s childhood in northern India, and for good reason. Irani spent more than a decade in sales and marketing before he opened his restaurant five years ago. Although he is hardly a novice, his resume consists of hours logged in his own kitchen and under his mother’s tutelage, not in restaurants or culinary schools.
1 lb. okra
Approximately 2 quarts canola oil, for frying
1 tsp. Spicewalla Sicilian Sea Salt, plus more to taste
Juice of 1 lime
1. Julienne okra lengthwise, cutting it into thin strips about the width of shoestring fries.
2. In a stockpot or deep fryer, heat canola oil over medium-high. Once the oil reaches 350 degrees, add the okra in small batches, taking care not to crowd the pot.
3. Using a skimmer or tongs, gently turn the okra to ensure even cooking. Fry 2-3 minutes or until the okra is lightly browned, and then remove it to a paper towel using a skimmer or slotted spoon. The okra should be crispy but not dark.
4. Once the paper towel has soaked up some of the excess oil, place the hot okra in a bowl and toss with salt and lime juice. (Squeeze just half the lime at first, and then increase the amounts of salt and lime juice to taste.)
Recipe from Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani in Asheville, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia