Known to many in the Caribbean islands as "Ochroes", this underrepresented vegetable is one of my all-time favorites. Growing up in a Hindu home, we frequently had various vegetables for dinner since it seemed we were always fasting for a Hindu holiday that was just around the corner! We were never big meat eaters anyhow so my mother cooked some type of vegetable dish for dinner at least 4-5 times per week. I particularly loved the way my mom prepared her ochroes, they were thinly sliced, fried golden brown, crispy and complemented a plate of dhal and rice perfectly.
My Ultimate Love: Fried Okra
- 2lbs okra
- ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 wiri wiri pepper
- ½ yellow onion
- ½ tsp - 1 tsp salt
- Dash of black pepper (optional)
- Rinse ochroes and dry completely with a towel or napkin.
- Cut okra into desired thickness (I cut mine to about ¼ inch because I like them more on the crispier side. The thicker you cut them, the softer they will be once cooked)
- Spread ochroes on a baking sheet (I had to use two sheets) and place near a window where you can get a lot of sunlight. Leave ochroes there for a minimum of 6 hours (I left mine by the window overnight). You can also place the ochroes outside on your patio table covered with a towel. The reason for this step is to dry out the "slime" that is inside the ochroes. The insides of ochroes have a very gelatinous fluid and when you cut into the okra, this fluid becomes more apparent and makes it harder to work with. If you skip this step, when you try to cook the ochroes, it will become soggy and mushy because of the gelatinous fluid.
- Once okra is dried, you will notice that the seeds will look slightly brown, this is how you know it is ready to be cooked!
- Use a wide-bottomed frying pan so that the ochroes can spread out nicely when being cooked.
- Heat oil to a medium heat and add onions and wiri wiri pepper. Saute until onions are tender.
- Add ochroes and turn continuously for five minutes. Cover and let ochroes cook for a few more minutes.
- About ten minutes into cooking, add salt. It is important to not add the salt too early in the process otherwise you can risk the ochroes turning a little mushy as salt tends to bring out fluids from vegetables. I indicated ½ tsp - 1 tsp salt because I usually like a little more salt in my food so if you are like me then use 1 tsp. If you want a little less then use ½ tsp and a sprinkle more.
- After adding salt, continuously turn ochroes until they start to shrink in size. If you prefer your ochroes softer and not as crisp remove ochroes before they start to turn dark brown. If you prefer them crispier then continue to cook as desired.