I first ate okra as a young girl when my adventurous mother had added it to a tomatoey beef stew. I remember disliking it before I even tasted it. It looked so unappealing when I scooped it up and watched the gooey slime slide off my spoon. That was one of the few times I wasn’t forced to “just try it first”, and the fate of okra was sealed for me.
It’s funny how we write off something because of one memory. I held on to the belief that I’d never like okra until a few years ago on a trip to Angola with my dad. We went to a traditional wedding where, as at most African celebrations, food was part of the festivities. I remember my pangs of hunger as we waited through the long church reception until we could visit the buffet table filled with bowls and bowls of food. Plate in hand, I was ready to devour all of it. I had a little bit of everything on my plate. And guess what I went back for? The okra.
The same thing I’d been convinced I hated. This time, it had been battered and deep-fried to perfection, not unlike Southern fried chicken. I couldn’t believe it was the same vegetable and couldn’t wait to get home to tell my mom about this different way to prepare it! Deep-frying okra is one way to make it less slimy and add delicious flavour.
The okra in this recipe goes into a buttermilk bath and is coated with flour and maize meal, then fried until golden and crispy. It makes a great starter served with a dip. I can’t wait for you to try it and love it!