Thursday 19 July 2012

Crispy Fried Okra and Chillies with Pepper Vinegar

From a recipe by Anne Quatrano in Great Chefs Cook Vegan, Linda Long, Gibbs Smith, 2008.

What a heat feast this was! We ended up laughing at our burning mouths and turning to the refrigerator for a drink of milk.

One ingredient for this dish needed chillies standing in vinegar for at least 3 weeks. I wanted to have the dish that evening so I made up my pepper vinegar by blending some bottled chillies in white vinegar. It made a not-too-bad dipping sauce.

For the okra, a small quantity was cut into centimetre rounds and placed in a strainer over a bowl. Boiling water was poured over the okra. The liquid was let cool.

A mixture of flour (half a cup) and cornflour (about a tablespoon) and salt and pepper were placed in a bowl, next to the okra juice. The okra to be fried were now cut in half lengthwise, dipped in the okra juice and then into the flour mix. The okra was now deep fried.

Alongside the okra frying in the pan were placed a mixture of chillies. These were fried until they had wrinkled somewhat.

The okra and chillies were now placed on a plate together with a bowl of the pepper vinegar dipping sauce.

The okra were wonderfully crisp and crunchy to eat alongside the fried chillies that, depending on the variety, packed a heat punch. I had not thought of frying chillies and serving them whole but it’s something I must try more often.

I am looking forward to trying more of the recipes in this book which has recipes for three- or four-course meals from some of America's top chefs such as Thomas Keller, Anne Quatrano, Charlie Trotter and Suzanne Goin. There are some recipes which I would not attempt after reading the instructions because they are well out of the league of me and my home cooking, but there are others that I am keen to have a go at.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

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