Crunchy on the outside, yet tender and mellow on the inside, fried okra is delicious on a salad and make a nice alternative to croutons. These are actually very munchable on their own – dipped into ketchup!
Don’t be scared of frying! I feel like people don’t really fry things at home any more. I know that is mainly because they associate frying with being unhealthy. I think occasionally it is ok to fry – it is a great way to cook food really fast and get great results. I always drain the oil on paper towels really well, which gets a lot of the fat. Anyway, remember a little bit of fat is not so bad! Its sugar that is the real unhealthy culprit in our diets now, not so much fat.
This recipe is originally from The Schitzo Chef (original recipe here). This is part of Recipe Swap Club, and there were so many great recipes on her blog, it was hard to pick just one. I love travelling myself and trying foods from different cultures, and The Schitzo Chef’s speicality is foods from all corners of the globe. Just realised that it is kind of odd then that I picked fried okra, which is a typical southern US dish (where I am originally from). Also pretty apt I am doing one of her recipes today, because I’m feeling particularly schitzo. I’ll spare you of the details, but involves the two tiny dictators I work around the clock for. Anyway, it turned out that I tried to fit too many things into the day and left getting dinner done to the very last minute. Luckily these okra are really quick, even with preparing them for frying. Dinner on the table in 15 – and I even took these photos in the process!
I love grew up with okra and love it. Have you ever had slimy okra though? Some people like it that way, as in recipes like gumbo, and other people have been put off of the vegetable for life for the slime. Frying okra is one sure way to avoid that – it does not release any liquid when cooked very fast. Only when slow cooked in a stew. And the reason it releases this kind of liquid is that the inside of okra contains a similar substance to aloe vera. Very good for you!
I like this salad topped with this homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. In fact, to make things easier I altered the original recipe and just added an egg to some dressing I already had made in the fridge to soak the okra in before it gets the cornmeal coating. I like that the buttermilk features twice , too.
Here is your recipe for Fried Okra Salad:
- 225g / 1 cup oil for frying
- 250g / about 1 cup okra
- 1 egg
- ½ cup buttermilk ranch dressing, plus extra for serving
- ¾ cup cornmeal (polenta)
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp chili pepper
- soft lettuce leaves
- extra salt to finish
- juice of ½ lemon
- Heat the oil in a pan or wok.
- Top and tail the okra, then cut into coins about 3 cm wide. In a bowl, lightly beat together the egg and ½ cup buttermilk ranch (or just use buttermilk). Place the okra slices in the bowl, toss to coat and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, paprika and chili.
- Working with 4-5 okra slices at a time, toss into the flour mixture to coat and then straight into the oil. Fry for 2 minutes or so until dark golden brown, turning once.
- Drain on a plate covered with paper towels, sprinkle with a pinch of salt on each batch and then repeat until done.
- Serve on top of the soft lettuce leaves, squeeze over some lemon and drizzle the salad with more buttermilk dressing.