One of my favorite things to do with my son is seek out new and odd foods to try at home. Believe it or not, one of his best loved snacks is sardines, so I’m dealing with a pretty unique little palate to start with.
We went by our local Fresh Market last week, and I was on the lookout for something unusual, and I found it just as we were about to check out. Okra chips.
Okay, so I was definitely more excited about this than my son, but that’s because I love okra. I absolutely hated it when I first tried it upon moving to the South, mostly because I’d never had such an intriguing combination of taste and texture in my mouth at once. I’ve had deep friend okra, okra in gumbo and, my favorite, pickled okra. But since then I’ve definitely been, shall we say, turned. I dream of okra. Yet, in spite of much in the way of culinary experimentation, I’ve never had an okra chip, so I had to give it a go.
It looks as if the chips are vacuum fried in canola oil, providing a very crispy texture and chip-like appearance. They’re done whole, so upon inspection they look just like normal okra pods, except significantly harder. They’re sprinkled with salt and dextrin (a starch) as well, which gives a sweeter, saltier crunch.
What’s particularly neat about the okra chips is that they’re hollow inside. Where all that mucilage usually takes up residence is just a cavern filled with seeds. The pod itself splinters away as you eat it, making a really intriguing snacking sensation.
My one complaint—which I’ve found with many veggie chips in general—is the slightly off taste of the canola oil. But the overall flavor is great—sweet, salty, and earthy, just like okra should be. My son loved the crunchiness, and it’s a great alternative to potato chips since it includes a great amount of fiber!
Founding editor Natania Barron is a geeky mom, an author, a Gryffindor, and a Took. She tweets about writing, cooking, life, and other mysteries at @nataniabarron.