'Southern' Fried Okra
('Southern' Fried Okra in coconut oil)
If you have ever grown your own okra then you know that you will be either eating it every night or preparing some for the freezer. For those of you who would like to fry up a batch in the healthiest way possible, here is my recipe for you. Coconut oil withstands high heat therefore does not turn over to trans fat when deep frying with it. This makes frying healthier for those who enjoy the texture and flavor of fried foods, but do not want the heart condition that comes with trans fat oils. Coconut oil is good oil. It is heart healthy! 1. Pick the okra and wash them. Try to pick them when they are about 4 inches long so they will still be tender. Don't let them get too big or they will be tough and stringy. 2. Slice off the top and tip of each okra. Try to only cut off the stem cap. 3. Slice the okra into small bite size pieces. (skinny half inch slices) 4. Put the pieces in a small bowl and allow them to soak in milk while you prepare the flour dredge and oil for frying. You can use any kind of milk.
* I had some coconut milk and used it and it was great. It added a very slight sweetness to the okra.
5. Use a small pot almost halfway full of coconut oil.
6. I heat my oil to slightly below medium. I don't use a temperature gauge. But I know when it is ready by dropping one drop of water in the oil. If it spits and spatters and tries to fry, it's ready for your okra. Don't fill it anymore than half full because the oil will rise while it is frying and you don't want an oil spill disaster on the stove top. You can also use your deep fryer if you have one. 7. While the okra soaks and oil heats, measure out about 2 cups of flour in a wider shallow bowl. 8. Add your preferred seasonings to the flour. I add paprika, salt, pepper, a small amount of red pepper flakes. Add enough seasoning to color the flour or it won't flavor the okra. I do a lot of my cooking without recipes now so don't be afraid of the seasoning. Just mix it in with a fork and when you see a slight color change to the flour, you know you are getting closer to flavor in your breading. 9. Once the oil is hot enough, take a hand full of okra from the milk and dredge through the flour until well coated. Set those pieces to the side of the bowl and bring another handful of okra out of the milk and dredge again. 10. Once you have as much okra as you can dredge ready, begin to add the okra to the oil. Allow to cook for a few minutes, until golden brown. flip them a time or two while they are cooking. You can use a wide metal meshed spatula to flip them and to pick them up out of the oil. Drain them with the mesh spatula and carry them to a plate covered in paper towel to help soak up any extra oil. Once you've cooked them all, they are ready to eat! FREEZING
If you want to prepare the okra this way and then freeze it, you'll need to take it out of the oil a little earlier than usual. After they cool, lay them on a large flat pan (one layer deep, spread out) and freeze. Once they are frozen, remove them from the pan and add them to a freezer bag. Freezing like this keeps the pieces from sticking together. When you are ready to use them, you can fry them in oil right from the freezer.