Smashed Fried Okra with Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Smashed Fried Okra with Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce
Chef and author of "Secrets of the Southern Table," Virginia Willis is making a delicious dish with spicy kick.

Ingredients for the Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour or chickpea and fava bean flour
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 cup plain 2% Greek or 0% Icelandic yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Okra

  • 1 pound okra (about 40 pieces), stem ends trimmed
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. To make the dipping sauce, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpea flour and cumin seeds. Toast, stirring continuously, until aromatic and slightly darkened, 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the yogurt, cilantro, and mint; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. To make the okra, use a meat mallet or the bottom of a cast-iron skillet to smash the okra, starting at the tip of the pod and working toward the stem end. (You can also thinly slice it lengthwise. I like using a mixture of both smashing and slicing.)

3. Line a bowl with paper towels and have it nearby. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. When it is hot but not smoking, add the okra. Fry until crisp and browned on both sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in the prepared bowl. While the okra is hot, sprinkle it with the garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. Season with salt and black pepper. Toss to mix and combine. Serve immediately with the yogurt dipping sauce.

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