Crispy okra fries make us yearn for Chai Pani, possibly larger okra.

Okra friesWhen Gourmandistan had a larger garden, we once planted several rows of okra. We dreamt of the days we’d spend enjoying Southern cormeal-battered, deep fried tiny pods. Unfortunately, our okra seemed to grow so quickly that a tiny bud in the morning would become a six-inch monster by afternoon, unusable (at least to us) for anything. Our recent visits to Chai Pani introduced us to another way to enjoy fried okra, and now we (at least Steve) think we might welcome larger pods into our domain.Chai Pani After enjoying meals at this delightfully funky Asheville, North Carolina Indian street food restaurant, both on our way to and on our way back from our recent trip to Dewees Island, we returned home with a determination to see if we could make at least some of the delicious dishes we had. While we have yet to become brave enough to attempt bhel puri or papri chaat, Michelle realized she had the chops (and the lime and salt) to try and replicate Chai Pani’s fried okra.  It’s an amazingly simple recipe, with the salt and lime somehow making the okra seem more exotic than any Southerner could imagine. Chef Meherwan Irani seems to be a delightful fellow, who credits his mom with this method of frying okra.Chai Pani Chai Pani has opened a branch outside of Atlanta, making us wish Mr. Irani would take a look at Louisville. Though we’d be more than happy to revisit Asheville again. Especially if it means another trip to the beach, perhaps for a month during horrible February. (Right, Buffy?)


  1. Sounds like a wonder vegetable in every way 🙂 I admit I never tried okra, once I bought some (wrapped in plastic foil was the only way I found them back in good old Munich), and before I had figured out what to do, they were gone bad. So perhaps how comes the time to look out for them again?!!

    • Oh, Sabine, it’s usually just slimy. My grandmother always ruined her otherwise wonderful vegetable soup with mushy, slimy okra. This is the perfect antidote!

    • It’s a big thing in the South for sure. My grandmother always put it in her otherwise wonderful vegetable soup which totally pissed me off. Frying is the best option. And this version is terrific!

  2. We don’t see okra here and I’ve never seen eye to eye with okra anyway….until your picture. There’s still no chance of making it but I’m damn sure I’d like it….isn’t there some sloppy version of okra called gumbo? I just remember a story about Robert Mitchum and gumbo in which okra had a bit part:)

  3. Okra is something I haven’t ever cooked and have eaten only rarely in gumbo. But I have a few southern friends who are insistent that I will love it like they do. Maybe this is the way to go! Also Asheville.*sigh* It’s on my vacation list for next year. Between the beer and the food I might never leave.

  4. Pingback: Pani Puri or Golgappa - Masalakorb

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