Okra Fries

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Sorry Mum, you are such a great cook, but I just hated this slimy vegetable, Okra, when we were young. 

I would absolutely dread the days when I saw my Mum buy this vegetable at the Farmers Market. As a child, wondered, why do Okras exist in the world. And why oh why, would anyone like this awful sticky vegetable! There is nothing elegant about this ‘Ladies Finger’.

Things changed after getting married. I hated them but my better half even more so. There is a way of cooking this vegetable and removing the slime and many years of practice has made this vegetable edible.
And now, from enjoying a meal with Okra in it, to getting really enthusiastic about growing these tropical vegetables here in UK.
Green house or Poly tunnel is required here, and germination can be notorious.Started these Red Burgundy Okra seed (bred specially for our climate) in early April. Once they are at a young seedling stage, they are on their way without any help. I did so in an unheated green house. 

Raising these young seedlings to about 12 inches in size, before potting them into their final position, but these plants have never left the greenhouse as  they hate fluctuations in temperature, and there I thought I was fussy about the weather! Once the flower sets, it blooms for a just a day and drops off revealing the fruit.
Red Burgundy Okra Flower

Withered Okra flower abut to fall off, to reveal the Okra fruit
After this stage, it doesn’t take long for the fruit to grow and I prefer to pick them no bigger than 10cm long. 
I decided to grow this variety as I read, they are less stickier then the Crimson Spineless variety. I am so impressed with the success rate at germination and harvest stage, that I might just have to put my name on the waiting list for another plot, just so I can grow these and other tropical plants like Ginger and Turmeric.
These Red Burgundy Okra, not only look good but have a very light ‘texture’ when cut and that is repeated when eaten. I decided to compare this with a few shop bought ‘air mile’ green Okra. 
I thought of making pickled Okra or even make a curry, then came an idea in my head, why not turn these okras into a snack; gave both varieties the same coating and lightly fried them. To our surprise the organically own grown Okra where far much tastier, crispier, lighter and most of all held less oil than the shop bought variety. 
I have in the past, used just Chickpea flour and spices before but it never gave the crispy taste that i was looking for. Decided to add a little cornflour to the mix and that seemed to have done the trick.
Place together all ‘dry ingredients’, this combination will hold to the sticky vegetable, as I found using fresh spices would come away from the vegetable once place in the pan to fry. Just a heap tablespoon of Chickpea flour, level tablespoon of cornflour, teaspoon each of ginger powder, garlic salt, chilli powder, ground Cumin and Amchoor (dried mango powder) and a quarter teaspoon of turmeric and coriander leaves and less than a quarter teaspoon of asafoetida and finally salt to taste.
Slice the Okra lengthways and sprinkle liberally over the cut sides before tossing the them. Allow to sit for about 15mins. 

In a pan, place enough sunflower oil to shallow fry these over a moderate to high heat, place cut side down first before flipping over. Do not compact them when frying. Simply fry in small batches. Each batch will take no more than 5 minutes. Serve with home made hot sauce. 

Enjoy x

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