Crunchy Roast Okra With Golden Labneh

Time50 minutes
YieldsServes 4 to 6
Sugar and spices add flavor to crispy roast okra served over a bed of labneh spiced with turmeric, chiles, garlic and ginger.
Sugar and spices add flavor to crispy, roast okra served over a bed of labneh spiced with turmeric, chiles, garlic and ginger.
(Silvia Razgova/For The Times)
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This dish uses the high heat of the oven to rid the okra of its moisture and hydrate the brown sugar and spice rub, which cools to a crunchy, crackling shell. It’s served over labneh colored gold by turmeric and flavored with chiles, garlic and ginger for a spicy contrast to the sweet, smoky okra.


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne to make a spice mix.


Place the okra on a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss with your hands to make sure the okra is evenly coated. Add the spice mix to the okra and shake the pan so that it clings evenly to the okra. Arrange the okra halves cut side up on the baking sheet, then place in the oven and roast until crispy at the edges and tips, about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the okra cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Use a flat metal spatula to remove the okra from the pan. The okra should now be crispy from the sugar in the spice mix.


While the okra roasts, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chile and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the aromatics and oil into a bowl. Add the labneh and stir to combine with the aromatics; season with salt and pepper.


Spread the spiced labneh on the bottom of a serving platter. Once the okra is ready, pile it on top of the yogurt, then sprinkle with the peanuts and cilantro to serve.