Yum Peaceful Cooking: Southern Fried Okra

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Southern Fried Okra



Okra....

What comes to mind when you think of okra? Slime? Soup? Prickly? Have you ever eaten okra? Better yet...have you ever experienced fried okra?

When I think of okra, I think of lazy summers, warm humid nights, sweet ice tea, southern hospitality and the heavenly aromas coming from my grandmothers kitchen. I'm reminded of long visits and lots of laughter. Family, love, roots and heritage. I was introduced to fried okra at a young age and have loved it since. I didn't even know that okra came any other way until I was an adult. (Okra in soup? really?)Up until I was an adult, all my okra experience was during my visits to my dads home town in Alabama.

But lets take a little detour and see what else okra is about. I know I probably kill most of the benefits when I fry my okra but this is how it stacks up in the nutrition game before I attack it:

"One hundred grams of Okra contains about 33 calories, 2.0 grams of protein, 7.6 grams of carbohydrates, with 0.1 grams fat. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese, and a good source of niacin, iron, phosphorus, zinc and copper". (quoted from A 2 Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness which seems to be a pretty cool site, loaded with great info.)

If you're turned off by the slime in okra, then you need to try fried okra. No slime. I swear. Sure it's full of fat by now. But I only make it maybe twice a year....so I don't feel all that guilty.

I don't always have the time to mess with, nor can I always find fresh okra in my store. So I've been buying the bag of pre-cut frozen okra. I show a carton of buttermilk below. If you use fresh okra, you won't need the buttermilk. All the slime will be just fine for making the cornmeal stick.



1 lb. bag of frozen okra, still frozen
1 cup butter milk
1 cup or so of cornmeal (yellow, white...doesn't matter)
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste...but I suggest a small amount, 1/4 - 1/2 tsp, tops

Combine the cornmeal and seasoning. Place the okra in a strainer over a bowl, and pour the buttermilk over the okra



Because the okra is still frozen, they're gonna wanna stick together. Get your hand in there, mix it up a bit and separate the ones that are stuck.





Drain the bowl and put the okra into the bowl. Pour the cornmeal mix on the okra



Toss them around so they all get nicely coated.



This is a bit messy...but it really doesn't take that long to do. The longest part is coming up....cooking in batches

Heat up about 1/4" of vegetable oil in heavy skillet (if you're into temps....maybe 350' F, otherwise until its all splattery when you sprinkle it with water). Get a plate and line it with some paper towel and have a slotted spoon of some sort ready



You want to cook in batches so everything cooks evenly. The first batch will probably take the longest, especially if you're using frozen okra, like me.

Put about 1/3 of your okra into the pan, or how ever much will "comfortable" fit in a single layer



After several minutes, when the bottoms are nice and golden, get a spatula or spoon or whatever you're comfy with and turn them over



As they start getting good and brown, remove them to your paper towel lined plate for draining. Repeat the steps until they're all cooked.






Look at this crispy goodness! Heaven...I tell ya...simple and pure



Suggested accoutrements? All things southern...fried green tomatoes, greens, black-eyed peas, fried chicken, pork chops, ham, creamed corn, cole slaw, boston butt, corn bread. It's all good y'all!


14 comments:

  1. I love it! It's just like a southern version of okra tempura. Looks yummy!

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  2. This is my fave way of cooking okra...although I do adore the slimy ones too. Looks gorgeous and I want these right away!

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  3. Hold that thought...I'm comin' over!

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  4. There is nothing better than great made okra... unfortunately, this far north, no one knows how to make it... i may just give this a try

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  5. Yessssss! You're singing my tune chicky!

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  6. You succeeded in making okra look good to me. That is an accomplishment! The rest of your meal sounds fantastic, too!

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  7. Dang you, my diet will have to wait until tomorrow!

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  8. I've never had okra, something about a slimy vegetable has always turned me off. Heh. I'd definitely try it fried though!

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  9. This is my favorite vegetable dish. I love fried okra. I like it breaded and I like it done with cornmeal like this. This is how my grandmother made it except using okra that I helped pick from her farm. You just really made me hungry.

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  10. Coffee and chit chatJanuary 3, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Love your step by step pics!

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  11. I've never had okra! But I think I would love it fried like this. Looks delicious!

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  12. I think I at okra once in soup...a very long time ago. I didn't know it was so nutritious. I'd love to try it your way, it looks delicious!

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  13. this is the ONLY way to eat okra. forget gumbo--i want my okra breaded and properly fried. good for you, danielle!

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  14. If you have a deep fryer you can throw the pieces in a few at a time to fry more quickly.

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