Tag Archives: delicacies

49. Okra (Rhymes with Oprah, Sort of)

3 Nov

Do I even need to specify that I’m talking about fried okra? Ok, then.

If you grew up outside of the South, you’ve likely never encountered this weird little vegetable. It’s a green pod that’s shaped kind of like a jalapeno pepper, but with vertical ridges and pointy end. It tastes like…well, okra. Some people use it in stews or gumbos (at least that’s what crossword clues would lead one to believe), but it has a reputation for being slimy. Which is why everybody else fries it.

by jimmywayne: flickr creative commons

I must admit to feeling a wee bit of Dixie pride when the contestants on “Master Chef” had to identify bizarre produce, and the two Southern chefs named okra right off the bat. Also, a shout out to Whitney, the 22-year-old chef from Mississippi who WON. Way to represent!

The typical okra batter is corn-meal based. Don’t ask me why; I wasn’t at the meeting. Okra is sliced horizontally (tossing both ends), battered and then deep fried. Not just deep fried – deeeeeep fried. Many places serve it almost burnt, which is how we like it.

fried okra by roboppy

Imagine my elation upon discovering a rib joint right next to my friend Linda’s house that has fried okra on the menu. Unfortunately, the pulled pork sandwich only came with one side, and I wasn’t about to pass up hushpuppies in favor of fried okra. (Fried dough vs. fried dough with vegetable? No contest.) An extra side was $2.50, and I also wasn’t about to pay $2.50 for fried okra. I don’t like it THAT much.

I guess I’ll never know what Seattle’s version of fried okra tastes like because the pulled pork at “Rainin Ribs” was standard for the area. And that standard is LOW. Yes, the name “Rainin Ribs” should have tipped me off. Now if they changed the name to “Rainin Men” I might consider a second visit. After all, the hushpuppies weren’t too bad.

What’s your favorite place to get okra, outside your grandmother’s house?

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