Growing up in the South with a Grandma who ran a traditional kitchen, I had the pleasure of eating a lot of fried vegetables. In fact, most veggies either got the breaded-and-deep-fried treatment or the boiled-to-a-khaki-mush business. Clearly, I preferred the former. Now, however, I have learned that my arteries will really hate me later on if I continue to enjoy all these fried delights. I generally abstain from frying, but sometimes I crave fried foods. It’s comfort food. In moderation, there’s no reason not to enjoy fried veggies once in a while. However, I’ve wanted to shift the focus from the fried veg as an integral part of the meat-and-three combo to a small first course. A small amount of fried okra, say, with a lovely tomato and onion chutney served on the side makes a great appetizer for sharing. It also satisfies that craving for crunchy-delicious fried food!
A general note about this batter: I don’t like to cook with eggs, but I gave in when preparing the batter for this okra. Let me say I am converted. If you avoid eggs, use egg beaters, but don’t gip this batter. It’s perfect and incredibly crunchy.
Zesty Fried Okra
- 2 C okra, in 1/4-1/2 inch slices
- 1 C buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 2 T Louisiana hot sauce
- 1/2 C panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1 C flour
- 1 T paprika
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Canola oil, for frying