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Gluten-Free Beer-Battered Fried Okra

BN HeardI’m from the South, we eat okra. We roast it, boil it, pickle it and fry it. Every Sunday after church, my grandmama would have fried chicken, green beans and fried okra with cornbread.

Now that I think about it, I worry that Grandmama’s range was a bit narrow. She would on rare occasions break out that gelatinous pink stuff with strawberries in it that was a favorite at church picnics, decoration days, funerals and family reunions.

The “Pink Stuff” seemed to be her go-to dish for crowds. However, I remember her for her fried chicken, green beans and fried okra.

Grandmama’s fried okra was cornmeal based and didn’t look like what a lot of folks think of when they think of fried okra. It looked like someone had thrown a handful of sand into a bunch of okra and shook it up. I will say this – I loved it.

I have to be careful when frying things now because we have discovered that one of our children seems to have a sensitivity to gluten. It’s one of those things that I don’t understand, but if it makes her feel better – that’s all that matters.

You can read more about gluten intolerance and Celiac disease here.

I’m supposed to be a scientist, but my specialty is really mathematics and space stuff. As the son of an Auburn University home economics major and grandson of a Pink Stuff Extraordinaire, I ought to be able to figure out things like this.

This recipe is something that I came up with on my own and it turned out wonderful; I thought I would share it with you.

Please note that I would probably have points deducted on any of those cooking show competitions for my lack of precision in most of my recipes. I can live with that.

So here is my simple recipe for “Gluten-Free Beer-Battered Fried Okra Rockets.”

Why “Rockets?” Well, I have spent about 25 years in the aerospace world. I was also too lazy to cut the okra – thus we had “rockets.”

Gluten Free Beer Batter Ingredients (Note: Not showing Baking Powder)

Gluten Free Beer Battered Fried Okra Rockets

Batter:

1 cup white rice flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup corn flour (I use Maseca Instant Corn Flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder (It is gluten free, normally all of it is)
2 cans gluten-free beer (I used Redbridge Gluten Free Sorghum Beer)
Salt (for the batter and after you’ve fried it)
Pepper (I grind enough to know it’s there, it’s a preference thing)

I needed two beers to get the batter thin enough. It should be about the consistency of pancake batter. I suppose you could put cayenne pepper in the batter if you wish, but I didn’t.

Why Redbridge Sorghum Beer? It was one of my two choices of gluten-free beer and it had a picture of a red covered bridge on it. I love covered bridges and I’ve always loved sorghum syrup.

Vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet heated to 375 F or so (I used “medium” on my gas range). If I had peanut oil, I would have probably used it, just because I like it.

After dipping the whole okra in the beer batter, I simply used tongs to put them in the oil. Frying is an art, you have to learn not to burn things, but also fry food long enough. Pretty good instructions, don’t you think? I do it by sight.

After bringing them out of the oil, I let them dry out a little on a paper towel (I’m not sure what brand of paper towels). After a little kosher salt, you are ready to enjoy Gluten-Free Beer-Battered Fried Okra Rockets invented by a rocket scientist.

Gluten Free Beer Battered Fried Okra Rockets

I’m sure you could cut the okra before you battered it, but it seemed to me that it would be too much trouble and would have made a bigger mess going into and coming out of the skillet.

If you try my invention, let me know how it goes …

We ate these okra rockets as a predecessor to a crab boil, they were a perfect appetizer.

Yes, I put carrots in my Crab Boil

Whether you are just hanging out, hanging in there or hanging on – do it “Like a Hair in a Biscuit.” If you’ve ever seen one; you know what I mean.

BN Heard