The trick to this dish is the light coating of batter and the hit of spice that comes from the sprinkling of chaat masala—an indispensable South Asian piquant blend that brings to life anything it touches—at the end. Made with cumin, dried mango powder, and black Himalayan salt, chaat masala is worth making yourself, but you can also find it at any Asian grocery store. Serve this dish as an accompaniment to any simple Pakistani meal of moong daal and basmati rice or as a great snack with some tamarind chutney!
Tip: The okra is quartered, but make sure not to get the okra wet or moist in any way after it's cut and before it's cooked, as this sets off its gelatinous nature. —Sumayya Usmani
rice flour or corn flour (optional)
red chile powder
Salt, to taste
okra, washed and dried completely before quartering lengthwise
vegetable oil, to fry
chaat masala (a spice blend available at Asian shops)
Mix the first six ingredients (five if you are not using corn or rice flour) together and add about 50 milliliters of water to make a batter that resembles pancake batter in its consistency.
Dip the quartered okra into the batter and toss until coated. In a frying pan, heat the vegetable oil and, without overcrowding, add the okra piece by piece into the oil. Avoid dropping it in bunches—otherwise, they will all stick together!
When light golden brown, use a slotted spoon to transfer the okra to a paper towel-lined plate.
Serve hot with a sprinkling of chaat masala and a gentle squeeze of lemon juice.
Sumayya is a food writer and cookery teacher who grew up in Pakistan, but has now found home in Glasgow. Sumayya is passionate about sharing the flavours of her homeland with a view to highlight Pakistani cuisine as a distinct one. The author or two cookbooks: Summers Under The Tamarind Tree (Frances Lincoln) and Mountain Berries and Desert Spice (Frances Lincoln, out April 2017), her writing reminisces about food and memories growing up in Pakistan. She writes for many publications, appears on television, and co-presents BBC Kitchen Cafe weekly, on BBC Radio Scotland.