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This blistered okra with garlic and cumin is much healthier than fried okra
but just as addictive! It’s also paleo, gluten-free, and vegan.
How do you feel about okra? I always hated it in gumbo and other gummy preparations as a kid, but quickly fell in love with fried okra. Last year I even made a paleo version of fried okra that’s really good, but it’s not super quick to make.
My love for okra eventually expanded to include bhindi masala, an Indian curry where the okra is cooked with plenty of ginger, garlic, onion, and tomato, and there’s a recipe for that in my cookbook. While delicious, bhindi masala also takes a little time to make.
When I scored some really beautiful okra at the farmers’ market, I wanted to cook it quickly in a way that would highlight its intrinsic flavor while minimizing its intrinsic gumminess. A little research indicated that cooking okra briefly over relatively high heat would be most likely to achieve those results.
I was so happy with how this recipe turned out! Slicing the okra lengthwise provides a nice surface for browning while preserving the attractive silhouette of the pods. (Did you know okra is also known as lady fingers? Move on over, cookies whose sole purpose is to make tiramisu!) The recipe starts with getting a cast iron skillet nice and hot, then adding butter or oil. Whole cumin seeds, garlic cloves, and dried chiles are added next, infusing the cooking fat with savory and subtly spiced flavor and a gentle, warming heat. The okra are added next and cooked for about ten minutes, turning a few times, until nice and browned. Add a hefty sprinkle of flaky sea salt and that’s it! Non-fried okra that you won’t be able to stop eating.