Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pan-fried Okra

Fried okra is something I grew up eating because it was one of my mom's favorites.  She coated it in cornmeal and pan-fried it with the slightest amount of oil, but let me tell you- that was the closest anything ever came to being "fried" in our house.  It was one of those foods I knew I didn't like, but eventually after seeing my mom and sister eat it up like popcorn I slowly came around.  Some people don't like the texture of okra but I actually enjoy the slimy center and crunchy seeds.  Sean is one of those people, so I don't make fried okra that often. (Though I do admit ordering it whenever I see it on a menu.) However, when I see fresh okra in season at the grocery store I can hardly resist to pick up a package of it with memories of my childhood swimming around in my head.  I added a few more components than my mom does in her recipe and made an accompanying dipping sauce.  I know she would say this hides the taste of the okra, but it was really the only way I could guarantee Sean would try it.  I was quite pleased when he went back for more than one piece.  He didn't call it "good" but said it was the best he's had, so I took that as a great compliment!

1/2 lb okra (I did a little less because I was only making it for the two of us... so mainly just me)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaisse
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Slice up the okra and put it in a bowl with the buttermilk.  Stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes. I read that the buttermilk takes some of the sliminess away from the okra so I decided to try it.  It also helps the cornmeal coating stick.

Meanwhile, mix the try ingredients together in a separate bowl for the coating.  Take the okra out of the buttermilk and place it into the cornmeal mixture.  Mix with your hands until all of the pieces are evenly coated. 

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  When it is hot, place the okra in the pan and make sure it is evenly spread out.  

Cook for about 5 minutes or until you see the bottom of the pieces starting to brown.  Then, flip each piece and cook for about 3-4 minutes longer until all of the okra is a golden brown color.  Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with a little more salt while it is still hot.
For the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Serve along side hot okra.  Yum!

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