Heat the peanut oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the chili paste and fry, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons salt and all but 1 teaspoon of the sugar and cook until the sugar begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
Heat about 4 inches peanut oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the okra until bright green, about 30 seconds, then remove with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon and shake off the excess oil. Add the okra to the wok with the chili sauce and toss about 1 minute. Add the oyster sauce, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar and toss 30 more seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the shallots and chile pepper.
Photograph by Yunhee Kim
Recipe courtesy of Straits restaurant, Atlanta for Food Network Magazine