I just brought back a container of vacuum fried Okra and Green Beans from my favorite Japanese place. (Of course, they spelled it Okura - which could translate as "the great darkness" - but that's neither here nor there...)
These are really weird and incredible. They are completely dried - almost brittle. They are lightly salted, and possibly MSG'd, although it wouldn't surprise me if I was tasting the natural, concentrated umami. They just pop in your mouth and crunch, and as they rehydrate, they give off the most concentrated of flavors. You end up feeling like you just had a forkful of the beans or the okra - with the okra, the chew becomes gooey, which you would expect with most pan-fried okra dishes - it's just that you start with this totally dried, thin-skinned pod - and the flavor and the gooeyness are so incongruous.
I looked up vacuum frying in google and yahoo and found hits mostly on commercial equipment and processes and some snack products. It doesn't look like it's coming to the home soon - too bad, it's high time I had another kitchen appliance that I use once a year... (my wife doesn't think that's funny, I'm sure).
But seeing how these weren't greasy at all, I'm sure that this is pretty healty - the carbs would be mostly complex, maybe a good amount of fiber depending on what the original veg was. I'd definitely eat this instead of chips!
Has anyone else heard of this or tried any vacuum fried food?