Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gluten Troubles in Paradise

My sister has celiac disease, which means she cannot consume any wheat, rye, or barley. Serious bummer. So during her visit, when I had a craving for fried okra, I had a unique conundrum on my hands. How to go about making gluten free fried okra? Gluten free fried anything, for that matter? Basically, when frying, one either breads or batters. Neither one would work. I prepared a gluten free pie crust the night before that I was less than pleased about, so I wasn't exactly brimming with confidence. The gluten free flour I used was primarily composed of rice flour, with tapioca and corn starch. I didn't have much choice, and I supposed it was close to tempura, which I love, so I dredged and dunked and held my breath. The result? Divine.

Triumphant Gluten Free Fried Okra
1 pound okra, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup rice flour (or gluten free flour blend)
2 cups vegetable oil
Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. I used an electric skillet outside, since it's super splattery. When oil is hot, in a colander or strainer, pour buttermilk over okra and shake to coat. Then pour flour over and shake to coat. Fry half of okra for 5 minutes or so, til flour is crisped up and slightly brown. Transfer to paper towels and salt immediately while still hot. Repeat with other half of okra. Serve right away.

I am a devoted okra fan now. I cannot get enough of it. Sauteed, fried, in casseroles or jambalaya, I care not. My mom picked up some freshly harvested okra that was so fresh it looked better than any grocery store okra I'd seen, even after a week in the fridge.

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