A Hellacious Belle’s Guide to the New South: Okra

Okra (US /ˈoʊkrə/ or UK /ˈɒkrə/; Abelmoschus esculentus Moench), known in many English-speaking countries as ladies’ fingers, bhindi, bamia, ochro or gumbo, is a flowering plant in the mallow family.

It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of West African, Ethiopian, and South Asian origins. The plant is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world. – Wikipedia

Okra.

When served up boiled, it is the despair of Southern children everywhere.

Hong_Kong_Okra_Aug_25_2012

So few people eat okra (more radishes are grown in this country) that it never even makes it onto the lists of Top 10 hated foods.
-Julia Reed

Oh, it does in the South.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Boiled, it has the consistency of seedy, hairy slugs.  Eating boiled okra will make you mean.

However…
should you slice it, dip it in egg and milk, roll it in cornmeal (with just a ‘tech  of flour) and fry it up all crispy in high temped peanut oil…

it transcends the ordinary,

and becomes something truly, heavenly glorious.

“I hate milk. Coats your throat as bad as okra. Something just downright disgusting about it.”
Marsha Norman, ‘night, Mother

O

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6 thoughts on “A Hellacious Belle’s Guide to the New South: Okra

  1. Love, love, love me some okra! I’m with you on the boiled. Yuck. But I love it diced, salted, peppered, tossed in cornmeal and smoother fried in bacon grease. I also love me some creole okra: just dice, put in a skillet with a little onion, garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder and fresh diced tomatoes or a can of diced tomatoes. Of course you have to make a batch of fried cornbread to sop this with.
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
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    • Everything needs a batch of fried cornbread to sop with. I will say that okra is awesome in gumbo too, but in a good file gumbo its so dark in there you can’t tell the okra seeds from the shrimp eyeballs so it skeezes me out a little. 😉

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  2. Great photos! I had never tried okra (or even heard of it) until I moved to Raleigh, NC, but I tell you what – I love it! It’s probably one of my top 3 favorite vegetables now. I love to get it fried as a side at restaurants, but I’ve also sliced it and baked it in the oven here at home. It shrinks down quite a bit but baking gets the sliminess out. If you bake the slices long enough, they can even get a slight crisp to them! Another way that I just recently discovered is a DELICIOUS form of okra is sun-dried okra chips,
    which I found at the City market in downtown Charleston when I went for the weekend. They were a little pricey compared to fresh okra, but man, were they good! I can’t wait for okra to be back in season this year!

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