Sunday, June 13, 2010

How to Fry Okra

This weekend my husband and I went to dinner with another couple we've recently come to know. We had a great time and laughed til my side hurt! There is a restaurant nearby, but kind of secluded; it is called the Tin Top. Wonderful place to eat. It is one of those "known by locals, but undiscovered by tourist" sort of restaurants. I believe they could rival ANY five star culinary restaurant. I had the Pecan-encrusted Grouper with a crawfish cream sauce. My sides, wait for it......fried green tomatoes and fried okra! Yes I did! Uh-huh! I had double fried foods AND the cream sauce! Ok, not what you would want to eat if you are on a strict diet, but as they say, "You have to live a little!" This got me thinking. I wonder how many people know how to fry vegetables? Most of us whom have grown up in the South know how to do this. We watched our grandmamas or mamas. Shameful to say, my husband taught me, and yes, I did grow up in the South! My mom shoo-ed me out of the kitchen, apparently I got in her way. Now I have to give her directions to the kitchen! She doesn't cook like she used to.
Anyhow, Summer is the prime time for eating a multitude of fresh, garden grown vegetables. We are fortunate to get most of our veggies from my father-in-law's garden. One of my favorite is okra, but it has to be fried. I can't stand the boiled kind..YUCK! And it is so slimy! Ew!
So, alas, I have below a tutorial for you on frying okra. We all do it differently down here and have our own "uniqueness" to add flavor and the perfect "crunch". I fried my okra in a dutch oven, just incase you don't have a deep fryer, (we have 3- my husband got all of them for Christmas this past yr!), you can also use a skillet.
This pic is my dinner the other night, try not to lick your computer screen!
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Your ingredients:

1 lb. fresh cut, or store bought (unbreaded) Okra
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. stone ground corn meal
2 c. buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
chili powder

The first thing to do is pour your oil, I use canola oil, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep in your skillet. Heat the oil over medium to med-high heat. This is crucial, and you need to know how fast your stove-top cooks on the temperature settings. You do not want to fry the okra too slowly (lower heat) because that will make it soggy. You also do not want the heat too hot, it may brown the outside of the okra, but the inside will be raw. I can't tell you how long it took me to master this, so please do not be discouraged if you fail several times before getting it right. You can even get store bought okra, in the frozen food section, just make sure it is not breaded.

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While the oil is heating, you need to prepare your coating bowls. You will need two bowls big enough to coat and toss the okra. I used some old tin pie pans. One with the buttermilk and slightly beaten egg. The other with flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper and chili powder. (I don't know why I like chili powder in my meal, but I do). I'm sure you noticed that I did not give you measurments for the salt, pepper and chili powder. This is because you should season it to your taste. Just try not to go overboard, your heart will thank you in years to come!

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First you will coat the okra in the buttermilk bath, making sure it is well saturated.
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Then you will spoon out the okra and place it into the meal mixture. Make sure to toss all of the okra, til it has an even coating.
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Next scoop the okra out of the meal mixture, shaking excess meal off, and put into the oil. (The oil should be ready, try frying just one piece of okra first). Fry the okra for about 5-8 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Now, you probably are expecting a picture of the okra frying, right? Yea, well, seeing I am my own photographer and all, I was unable to snap a pic without risk of dropping the camera into the hot oil! So, instead, you will have to settle for a finished shot. The long fried thing you see beside the okra is a fried piece of squash. You can do it the same way as the okra.

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Anonymous said...

Must've been really sweet thoughtful people who gave you all those fryers. You failed to mention that he needed one for home and two hunting camps, is that too redneck?

Scarlett said...

So funny you mentioned the hunting camp! He actually took one to his hunting camp, one for the house and the other to his office, (he like to cook for his employees). No, it is not redneck! Sometimes I swear he is one!

LTM said...

you are amazing, and that looks so delicious. Thanks again, cookie~ :o)

Melanie said...

Haha! I am laughing over my anyonymous comment. You didn't know it was me, I am so sneaky and dorky

Discount Medifast said...

I have never had okra, even when traveling have kind of stayed away, I guess I need to break down and try it. It looks really good!

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