Thursday, May 13, 2010


Fried Whole Okra Pods

Okra is a staple in Southern cooking, distinctly flavorful and nutritious. Yet, many people miss out on that delicious fruit of the garden because of a dislike of its texture.Typically, okra for frying is sliced and dredged in corn meal for crisp, brown morsels. While this is decidedly a good way to prepare fried okra, it does have a rival that is almost perfection.If you are one who thought okra cannot be other than "slimy," try this recipe for whole fried okra pods. You might then render a different verdict and discover a new culinary favorite.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You'll Need:
Small, tender pods of okra
Bisquick or flour
Corn meal
Brown sugar or brown Splenda
Cooking Oil
Step 1

Large Pods Are Good, but Choose Small Pods for this Recipe
Choose okra pods that are young, bright green and blemish-free. While large pods can be still delicious and tender for other dishes, you want your whole fried pods to be sized for just one or two bites for perfect crispness.
Step 2

Okra Bloom and Immature Pods
Rinse okra and drain until almost dry.***The stems of okra on the plant have a beautiful yellow bloom that drops off to leave its sepals (tiny leaves at the base of the flower) at the base of the pod. Some of these leaf bits dry as the okra pod matures, leaving small shavings of leaf material sometimes stuck to the pods. These are not harmful in any way, and can be easily rinsed away.
Step 3

Trim Away Just the Tough Stem
Trim away any tough stem that might have been left on the okra when it was cut from the plant. It is not necessary to remove the entire head.This will produce a pod that you can just pop into your mouth when done. If you prefer, you can leave enough stem to form a "handle," for
eating, then toss away the stem.
Step 4

Prepare a Light Batter
Prepare your batter.Mix egg, Bisquick or flour, corn meal, brown sugar or Splenda and milk to make a light batter. Amounts can be varied to suit personal taste. You do not want the batter to be too sweet, but a very slight touch of sweet compliments the okra's naturally sweet tang.***An example might be one cup of flour, one quarter cup of corn meal, one teaspoon brown sugar, one egg, and enough milk to make the light batter.Do not salt the batter. If salt is desired, sprinkle on the fried pods while still hot.Your okra pods do not need to be heavily coated, as the batter will puff and crisp during frying.
Step 5

Just a Light Coating is Great
Coat the pods in batter. You can add all your pods at once and toss lightly to coat.
Step 6

Do Not Overcrowd in Pan
Add pods one by one to form a single layer in deep, hot oil. Do not overfill the pan.The oil should be hot enough to brown fairly quickly, but evenly enough so that the okra has time to cook inside. Not more than 400 degrees, at a medium high temperature setting on your stovetop or deep fryer.As the okra browns you will see the top edges start to turn brown and the okra will attempt to roll over. Use a fork to turn it if necessary to brown the opposite side.When the okra has become a deep golden crispy brown, it should be ready.
Step 7

Crisp and Dark Golden Brown Outside with Just a Hint of Green Visible
Remove the okra to a paper towel lined plate.Dust lightly with salt while hot if you want the contrasting flavor of salt. But, this golden brown and crisp okra will be delicious, as is.Serve while very warm, if possible.

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