Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC
Okra is an essential to Cajun gumbos, and stews from the South, West Africa, and South Asia where it melts into the dish as it thickens and flavors it. However, okra can also be fun to eat crunchy and crispy and scarcely cooked: If you take fresh, young okra, dunk them whole in a flavorful vegan buttermilk cornmeal batter, and flash bake them in a super hot oven or air fryer, you’ve got a tasty, super nutritious appetizer or entrée.
When I want them spicy, I dip them in hot sauce or (sugar-free) ketchup spiked with tabasco sauce and serve with a soymilk yogurt to cool down. But they’re also lovely dipped in a plant-based tartar sauce. Either way, okra, so rich in vitamins C, A, B6, K1, fiber, magnesium, and calcium, is a vegetable worth getting to know.
Prep Time 15 minutes Bake Time 10 to 15 minutes Serves 3-4
1 pound small, fresh young okra
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal, medium grind
2/3 cup oat or buckwheat flour
Corn starch for dredging
1 teaspoon Chesapeake Old Bay Spice Blend
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ cups unsweetened soy milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons shiro (mild, white) miso paste
Preheat oven to 475°F/ 450°F for convection ovens and air fryers
Create a “buttermilk” by adding the lemon juice to the soy milk in a bowl.
In a high-speed blender add the cornmeal, oat or buckwheat flour, Chesapeake Old Bay spice blend, baking soda. Pulse to combine. Now add the buttermilk and shiro miso. Run on high for a minute to create your batter. Transfer the batter to a deep plate or wide bowl.
Wash the okra and dry them well. Roll each okra in corn starch, before dipping them in the batter to coat well. The batter should be dense like a pancake batter. The buttermilk and baking soda will thicken and lighten the batter but if it becomes too thick to coat easily, it won’t adhere well to the okra and will crack. Just thin with a spoonful or two of soy milk, if needed
If you are baking in an oven, transfer each battered okra to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing them apart (use a second baking sheet if necessary to avoid crowding). If you are using an air fryer, you can place directly on the wire basket, but bake in batches to avoid overcrowding them.
Bake for 5 to 6 minutes in an air fryer or convection oven, until the batter is firm and golden. You may need 1 to 2 additional minutes in a conventional oven. Flip them over and bake for an equal amount of time but keep an eye on them.
The okra fritters are ready when they are crisp and golden with darkened edges. Their interiors should be crunchy. Don’t overbake. They’re best served on warmed plates, piping hot right out of the oven, so if you plan to dip your frittered okra, have your dipping sauce ready.
Hint: If you have batter left over, don’t waste it! Heat a good quality non-stick skillet for a few minutes over medium heat. Then use the batter to make corny pancakes. They’re delicious, topped with a spoonful of applesauce.
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