Thursday, May 6, 2010

Comfort Foods: Fried Okra

Fried Okra
Who says vegan food has to be healthy?

Fresh okra is usually available at local farmers' markets here in Honolulu, but I've been feeding you guys the frozen stuff when I make fried okra for vegan dinner. Okra gets kind of gooey and sticky when it's wet, which is helpful for making the batter stick before frying, so I like the frozen stuff. If you use fresh okra you will want to slice it into 1/4 inch rounds, and discard the stems. (You can buy the frozen stuff pre-chopped.) I recommend soaking fresh okra in cold water for at least an hour before attempting to coat it with cornmeal.


Okra (I think I made 1 pound for vegan dinner)
Cornmeal (2 cups?)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

If using fresh okra chop it and soak in cold water for at least an hour prior to preparing.

If using frozen okra, you'll want to defrost it completely before frying. I usually run it under warm water or just soak it in the refrigerator for an hour or so just like I do with fresh okra.

Combine cornmeal with cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl.

Drain the okra and toss it with cornmeal/spices mix until well coated. At this point, I usually end up having to add more cornmeal than I originally measured out.

Heat a skillet with about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of oil in it over high heat.(My southern mother recommends peanut oil because of its high smoke point, but I always use canola oil and it works just fine. Canola can withstand pretty high temperatures too.)

Fry okra in the oil until crispy and browned. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Best served hot.

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