Help me turn my boyfriend into an okra lover
- sixelagogo Aug 30, 2007 11:23 AM
He straight up Hates it...do any of you have a recipe that'll turn a naysayer into a champion?
what does he hate about it?
the indian preparations with lots of onions, tumeric, cumin etc are a lot less 'mucus-y' than the stewed versions.
I'd have to go along with the fried suggestion and gumbo but no one has mentioned as a spicy pickle. Great stuff!
Do as Southern cooks do: Fry okra in a cornmeal batter.
Indiana-born journalist Roy Blount Jr. wrote a poetic tribute, "Song to Okra" --
String beans are good, and ripe tomatoes,
And collard greens and sweet potatoes,
Sweet corn, field peas, squash and beets --
But when a man rears back and eats
He wants okra.
1 pound okra (about 24 pods)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
4 to 6 dashes hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp. (or more) cayenne pepper
1/4 cup oil
Wash okra pods. Trim away and discard the stem end and tip of each pod. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.
In a bowl, combine buttermilk (or egg) and hot pepper sauce. Add okra and stir until all slices are well coated. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, Old Bay seasoning and cayenne. Use a slotted spoon to lift okra slices from buttermilk, draining well, then add okra to cornmeal-flour mixture and toss lightly to coat. Pour okra into a sieve and shake off excess cornmeal.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Test the pan for correct heat by placing 1 slice of okra in the hot shortening. If it sizzles, the pan is hot enough. Place the remaining okra into the skillet. (It may be necessary to fry the okra in batches.) Allow the okra to fry 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or perforated spatula, turn gently. Continue to fry, 6 to 10 minutes total, checking and turning as needed until okra is quite brown and very crisp. Place 2 or 3 crumpled paper towels in a serving bowl. Transfer okra to paper towels to drain.
Instead of frying coated okra slices, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet. Arrange okra on rack and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings
I'll ditto the "quite brown and very crisp" and say that I think this is the best intro to okra. I had it first in the south as a teen visiting friends (I'm a northerner, I'm not sure I had even heard of okra before that, perhaps I didn't even know I wasn't supposed to like it). Yum. My recipe is simpler, the main spices are lots of salt and pepper, but the recipe above sounds quite definitive. I would only ask, I wonder if southerners use/used to use some variety of bacon fat to fry it in, to make it even more irresistible?
Roast it! They are wonderful and not slimy at all...
about .5 pound of small, whole okra per person
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil (spray is fine)
Start with the smallest okra you can find. Larger okra tends to be woody, which won't work roasted.
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Coat a sheet pan with olive oil or spray, add okra, and season to taste. Add a couple teaspoons of olive oil and toss. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until okra is browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.
You can try it with spice blends, but I prefer just olive oil salt and pepper.
i loved okra roasted! similar to the have recipe but i cut the okra into small disks, coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a mixture of "indian-y" spices: cumin, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder, etc. bake the mixture at around 450 until very crispy. it's delicious as a topping over any kind of rice. this converted my husband, a former okra hater!
this former atlanta girl says the cornmeal recipe below is a winner. but try the okra pickles made by Talk O' Texas, they are available in lots of supermarkets and specialty stores in the Northeast. very crisp (for okra, that is), not slimy at all.
I have to agree with all those who suggested frying. That's a definite winner. Pickling would be the next option; indeed it's one of my favorite snacks. Indian okra, such as kutchchi bhindi, is usually not slimy, so it's an option. I think gumbo is out as that slimy texture is exactly what probably turns your SO off.
Why do you want him to love it - because you do? If he just doesn't like it (the way I just abhor liver) almost no amount of different preparations will make it something he'll fall in love with. He just might have that aversion to it that no matter how it's prepared, he knows it's okra and it's always going to be "icky" to him. He may tolerate it. But he may not. And that's OK. :-)
Whatever you do, get the smallest (least slimy) ones you can find. Dipping these in cornmeal and frying is a good way to go. But there's no way on God's green earth that anyone will every get me to eat a bowl of the boiled stuff!
Okra and Tomatoes
Chop up a couple of handfuls of bacon and fry until you have bacon bits and drippings. Remove the bits and set aside. Slice fresh okra and fry in the bacon drippings with chopped onion. When the onion starts to get some color, add chopped canned tomatoes (not stewed tomatoes). Add salt (careful, theres already salt in the bacon) pepper and simmer until the okra is tender. Serve over rice.
try Suvir Saran's recipe for crispy okra. I made it this evening.
The okra is julienned and fried. There is no sliminess what so ever and it's crisp and fun to eat. You can use regular curry powder if you can't find the Chaat Masala. It won't be exatcly the same but will still be excellent.
First a couple of tips, then an ersatz recipe.
For starters, in order to decrease the slime factor, cut okra should not come in contact with liquid. After washing the whole pods, make sure they're thoroughly dry before cutting them. Let them air dry, or submit them to a vigorous paper-towelling.
When cutting okra, wipe the moisture off of your knife regularly. After cutting every 2-3 pods, run a paper towel across your knife blade.
Cut the okra immediately prior to cooking. Don't let cut okra sit around.
If your recipe features other ingredients that give off moisture (onions, for example), cook them separately.
Now then, a recipe for Okra Potato Hash (which will make your boyfriend a convert):
Dice a few red potatoes into 1/2" cubes. Saute in a nonstick pan (mine is anodized aluminum) olive oil with onions and garlic, just as you would make home fries. Jalapenos or serranos are a bonus. (I really like cumin seeds in mine, but it may not be to your taste.) Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and the aforementioned cumin, if desired. When the potatoes are brown and the onions nearly carmelized, remove them from the pan and set aside.
Wipe the pan thoroughly.
Slice the okra into 1/2 rounds, following the Very Important Okra Rules mentioned above. Toss the cut okra with cornmeal. Personally, I prefer coarse ground polenta or grits to finer cornmeal, because it gives a nice crunch.
Saute the okra in moderately hot olive oil. (Note: Not all of the cornmeal will stick. Transfer the okra into the pan with a slotted spoon to avoid adding the excess cornmeal, which will burn.) Season with the same mixture of salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin. Cook until golden on both sides. You want the oil to be hot enough to pan-fry the okra. If it cooks too slowly, it'll start to steam -- and that means moisture, which in turn means slime.
Once the okra is browned, add the potatoes/onions back to the pan and thoroughly mix/heat through.
I've converted lots of midwestern relatives with this dish, and I stand behind it 100%.
I made your recipe for hash. I used a green Asian chili for heat, and the only change I made was to substitute cumin with smoked paprika. It's as delicious as you said, and a great use of okra. I was hoping to convert my husband into an okra lover like myself, but this was so good, I ate all the okra myself. Thanks for your recipe!
I'm generally against trying to force people (including oneself) to like foods that they hate. Okra is one of the few foods (liver and mushrooms being others) that really skeeves out lots of people. I'm always in favor of trying a new preparation and being open-minded, but I also think that there's no crime in disliking okra, and we shouldn't impose our own tastes on others.
If said boyfriend is open to trying something new, I would second the recommendation of an Indian preparation. A well-made bindhi bhaji or bindhi masala is a beautiful thing. Made badly, though, it's no fun at all.
My family doesn't care much for the slime factor either so I slice them into rings and cook in butter or olive oil over medium heat until they are "dry" - takes about 15-20 minutes - then add garlic, onions, etc. S/P to taste and you're good to go as a side veggie.
Fried Okra is really hard to beat and I can't imagine him not liking it. Especially if you pair it with some good Ol' Southern favorites. There have been some really good fried recipes here so you can take one of those or just use your imagination. Good Luck.
I grew up in Arkansas, and when I was a kid okra was about the only cooked vegetable I would eat. It was fried, but not battered, and now I make it this way: Slice thinly (about 1/4 inch) and toss with some cornmeal, salt and pepper. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil or butter -- or bacon fat would be great -- in a skillet, toss in the okra, cover with a lid, and cook for about 15 minutes until it's tender. You will need to take the lid off every few minutes and stir because it will burn on the bottom if you don't. After it's tender, take the lid off and continue to cook until it's crispy, about another 10 minutes.
I personally like okra, but I must side with the people that question trying to change someone's opinion about a food. I am always willing to try something new, but I am 40 and secure in the fact that I don't like sweet potatoes. My mother still asks me to try them when we visit and I always respond that there are so many foods that I like, love, or haven't tried that I'm not even willing to go back to one that has failed. Sweet potatoes had their chance 30 years ago and they blew it.
re: El Puerco
See, I didn't like sweet potatoes for about 27 years, and then tried a different preparation of them a few years ago, and now I love them! I've discovered that I like them in savory, not sweet ways, so I'm always in favor of trying different preparations of different vegetables for people.
Deep fry it and while still hot, spribkle a little parm cheese on top. Serve with some tasty dipping sauces, like you would with Zucchini or Mozzarella sticks. If that fails.
somehow incorporate bacon into the mix. Bacon seems to make anything desirable
Okra and corn - saute sliced rounds of okra in butter and add some fresh sweet corn kernals. A little onion can be part of the mix. Simple and good!
What I do is wipe each pod off with a dry clean dishcloth, then slice 1 pound of it into 1/2 to 3/4in pieces into a bowl, then I sprinkle it with a couple of tablespoons of water and mix that up. Add a good 1/2 cup of white flour and mix it up again...you may need a little more flour, but what you want is the okra coated well with the flour. Heat your oil in a large frying pan to a depth of about 1 inch. When oil is ready, spoon the okra into the hot oil and let it fry just until the bottom starts turning a very light brown, then flip it over and fry the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon into a paper towel lined bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Delish!! It's crispy and crunchy with no slime effect :) In my opinion it tastes much better than the cornmeal version.
Fried/cornmeal okra is *really* good, when done well. Unfortunately, I've never been able to get it "right" ... not unlike my tempura attempts.
If you decide to go with stewing (e.g. OO/tomatoes/onions/garlic ...), trim the okra stems and give 2-3 15 min soaks in salted/vinegared water with a cold rinse between before beginning .... this goes well with grilled meats.
A cast iron skillet will make magic happen with fried okra, even if you're not usually able to get it "right."
Fried okra is, in my opinion, the best way to get the gumminess away from okra and turn naysayers into lovers.
A correctly cooked gumbo will also turn heads...
Don't make it too hot--cast iron conducts heat really well. Just enough to where if you drop some batter in it'll sizzle. Maybe medium/high? I don't do temperatures...so I can't help there.
Don't crowd too much okra into the pan--batches are fine. If you overcrowd, okra will stick, get mushy, and not cook evenly.
More coarsely ground cornmeal is also your friend, it helps it crisp up a bit.
Hope it works out! :-)
Did two batches this past weekend. Equal parts flour/coarse cornmeal with salt/pepper. Light water/heavy cream (couldn't get buttermilk - which sounded good to me) coat ... dredge .. cast iron med/high (pre-heated) ... 4/5 min.
The cream coat was too ... uh, unnecessary/distracting; the okra flavor came through clear with the water.
I'd like to get the cornmeal, water-based coat denser ... I'm looking for that crunch of a thick/crisp coat with a sweet inside.
Should I give a second spritz w/ water and re-dredge or look to change up my wash (thinned egg/white?).
Thanks again. This has been my best batch so far!
BTW, I used 2 tbs of peanut oil/batch.
I got over my fear and loathing of okra years ago thanks to a recipe from a very old Roy Andres De Groot cookbook. The recipe calls for equal portions of sliced okra, chopped tomatoes and cubed Cheshire cheese, about ½" cube. (The other ingredients should be of like size). It also includes coarsely chopped scallion tops.
Layer these ingredients, tomatoes, okra, green onions and cheese, in a baking dish, topped with the last layer of cheese and minced green onion - the white part. Bake in an oven until the cheese is melted and it browns a bit on the top.
Cheshire cheese comes from cows that feed on salt grass and the unique tang and texture of the cheese is a perfect foil to the sliminess of okra.
Note: this was a 50s cookbook and De Groot called for a liberally buttered casserole dish and liberal use of MSG.
Ever since trying that the first time, I’ve never been bothered by okra. I love it in gumbo and fried is good, too. I’ve never made it but had it in restaurants and I prefer a tempura like batter rather than cornmeal. If I ran a casual eatery such as a hamburger joint, I’d have fried okra on the menu along with french fries and onion rings and in this part of the country I think it’d sell well.
Trappey’s pickled okra is great because it’s cold brined and the okra remains very crisp. Pickled okra is really easy to make at home in the refrigerator and you can control the spiciness, garlicy-ness, etc., to taste.
If the outer texture is an obstacle, you might also want to spend a little extra care "de-fuzzing" them. A good way to do this (common Japanese trick) is to rub them with salt to remove the fuzzy. (then rinse well)
as said many times before, fried okra is hard not to like (but so is anything fried)
I like to grill it these days...S&P, olive oil & hot sauce all tossed in a ziplock with the whole okra which is then cooked in a grill basket