Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus Moench), known in many English speaking countries as lady’s fingers, bhindi or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.
Okra is also very common in Indian cuisine and I have cooked this in may different Indian styles. I like to experiment with different ways to cook the vegetable. Here I have tried to pair it Thai style using a Nam Pla Prik dipping sauce.
If you are ever in Thailand you will always get served 4 Thai Condiments. They usually come with your food on a small plate with four smaller individual dishes. One of these will be Nam Pla Prik, Thai chilli (“prik”) with fish sauce (“nam pla”).
25 pieces of Okra
100g of plain flour
40g of cornflour
Ice cold sparkling soda water
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
250ml of sunflower or vegetable oil for frying
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Nam Pla Prik Sauce;
4 tablespoons of fish sauce
Juice from 1 lime
8 birdseye chillies, finely sliced (leave the seeds in) and use 4 green and 4 red
1 tablespoon of coriander stems, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
Wash the okra and pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
Make the nam pla prik by adding together all the sauce ingredients in a clean jam jar. Shake well for 30 seconds to dissolve the sugar and set aside (you can keep this in the jar in the fridge for a week or so).
Heat the oil on a high heat in a medium saucepan.
Meanwhile, make the batter by adding together the flours, baking soda and soda water.
Mix the batter by quickly stirring it with some chopsticks. It’s ok if the batter seems lumpy, just don’t over mix it.
Test the oil by dropping in a droplet of batter. The oil is ready if the batter sizzles to the top.
Coat several okra pieces in batter and then gently lower them into the oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes or until the batter starts to turn slightly golden.
Remove the okra with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels and keep warm.
Repeat the process until all the okra is cooked
Serve the okra with nam pla prik dipping sauce.