Gluten-Free Fried Okra

Gluten-free fried okra. I can still taste the crunchy deliciousness in my mouth. I know that this is such a cliched use of a southern veggie but I just couldn’t resist! This is also a perfect example of why gluten-free is not synonymous with healthy. This little snack is absolutely delicious, very easy to make, and 100% a special treat… please don’t let me start you frying things on a daily basis.

We successfully grew okra in our backyard garden for the first time this year. I used tomato cages and the okra is currently as tall as I am. It is a beautiful plant with a lot of okra growing off every long stem. If you are growing okra, I suggest you harvest your okra when it is only a few inches long – if it gets much longer than 3 inches, it becomes woody and not very appetizing. Even frying will not cure the cardboard taste…

Okra has also been in our CSA box the past few weeks…

If you have ever fried anything before, you know that there is a basic frying procedure. Dip your ingredient in something wet and then dip it in something dry and then drop it into the hot oil. Done. This recipe is no different!

For our wet bowl … I used buttermilk and hot sauce – 1 cup of buttermilk and 6 or 7 hearty dashes of hot sauce (I used Buffalo Wing Sauce).

For our dry bowl … I used corn meal (1/2 cup), gluten-free flour (1 cup), and salt (1 teaspoon).

For the oil … I used about 2 inches of canola oil heated in a heavy bottomed Dutch Oven on the stove.

Sliced okra … almost ready for the frying

Directions …

1. Slice your okra into 1/2 inch rounds. Dump a handful of okra into the buttermilk-hot sauce bowl and use a fork to toss around the okra to coat all the pieces. 

2. Transfer your okra into your dry bowl and make sure that all the pieces are evenly coated with the cornmeal and flour mixture.

Okra in a bowl of buttermilk and hot sauce

3. Heat your oil in a heavy bottomed pan to about 350 degrees – to check if it is the right temperature, throw a bit of floury paste into the oil to see if it immediately sizzles. If it sizzles, the oil is ready for its first batch of okra.

4. Only cook a batch of okra in the hot oil at a time. I like to use a fork or my fingers and tap off the extra flour before I drop the okra into the hot oil. You want to make sure that the okra has some space to get nice and golden brown. If you add too many pieces to the oil, not only does it lower the temperature of the oil, but it also limits the okra from getting a nice uniform crispiness.

5. Let the okra float around in the hot oil for about 5 or 6 minutes until it is a nice golden brown color. 

6. Using a slotted wire spatula, remove the okra as it looks done, and lay it out on a plate covered in paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Let it cool… for a minute or two and then enjoy!!

My family could not help but pop these little babies right into our mouths! They were so good. You can serve these as a stand-alone snack or use them as a garnish to top a nice bowl of tomato soup. Yum! Enjoy!

Cooking PSA: Do you know that you should never ever pour oil down your drain?! Cool and then pour the unused oil into a tin can (or we used a large yogurt container). Cover it, let it harden a bit, and then put it in your trash!!

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