Every so often I come across recipes that boast baked versions tasting better than their originally deep-fried counterparts. Either I haven’t been making them right, or my love for deep-fried food is so great that nothing stands up to it. I’d rather eat it occasionally in its ‘unhealthy’ form than compensate for a dish that’s ‘almost there’ and be able to eat it everyday. All in or nothing, really.

Having said that though, sometimes, just sometimes, you come across something that just works. The transition from fried to baked that we’ve been trying to follow has taken me down lots of different paths, some enjoyable, many not so much. Like these Cajun sweet potato fries? So good.

I love okra. I’ve been making this dish in its deep-fried form ever since I got my mom’s recipe for it a few months ago. I use exactly the same ingredients for frying, only you’ll need more oil obviously. This version I’m very pleased to say, is ninety-five percent as good as fried, and that’s saying something, right?

 

 

SPICY BAKED OKRA FRIES
 
Serves: 3 - 4
Ingredients
  • 400 grams okra, halved lengthwise
  • ½ tsp garlic paste
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp gram flour
  • 1 tsp rice flour
  • 2 tsp semolina
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F and line a baking tray with parchment or aluminium foil.
  2. Place the okra in a large bowl and toss with the garlic and ginger paste. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and using your fingers, coat the okra evenly with the spices.
  3. Lay the okra on the baking tray in a single layer and sprinkle over any remaining spice mix from the bowl. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, turning it once halfway through. Keep an eye on it after about 20 minutes to ensure that it doesn’t darken too quickly. Serve immediately.

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