All Things Okra

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Bumya

Last Shabbos, my sister-in-law called me with an offer I couldn’t refuse. She invited herself for Friday night dinner AND offered to come early and help me cook. I had forgotten how much fun it is to have someone else cooking with me in the kitchen. We had a wonderful time, and she prepared Bumya, which I’ve had before but didn’t know it actually had a name, and Basmati Rice, which I can never stop eating when it’s around. Delish!

I’ll never be able to repeat her process for making the Basmati … I’ll have to invite her back and video tape her while she’s making the rice. Her steps for making the Bumya were a bit easier though. Here’s the short version:

Chop up some onion if you want and brown in some olive oil. If you are not using onion, then just put the whole okra (we used fresh) in a pot with olive oil. Let the okra cook until it is bright green. Add ketchup, a little onion soup mix and a little bit of water. Stir and let cool on medium heat. Don’t let it burn on the bottom. When the okra is soft, it’s ready. The longer the better.

I grew up eating okra so I’m definitely a fan but in the South, there was only one way to cook it – Fried! My mother used to make fried okra for us on special occasions, and Rosie’s Bumya inspired me to do 2 things: branch out and add Bumya as one of my favorite ways to prepare okra (Pickled Okra is another fav) but also to give the fried okra a try. I’ve never cooked it before myself and honestly couldn’t even remember how my Mother made it.

So I got out my trusty Southern Living Cookbook and sure enough, there was a very simple recipe.

Fried OkraFried Okra

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds fresh okra
  • 1/2 to 1 cup cornmeal
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

Directions:

Wash okra well; drain. Cut off tips and stem ends (I actually used the stem ends because that’s how my Mother used to cook it); cut okra crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.

Roll okra in cornmeal (okra should be very damp for cornmeal to adhere), and fry in hot oil (375 degrees) until golden brown.

Drain well on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Yield: 4 servings.

Notes:

I fried the first batch way too long waiting for them to turn golden brown. They never did. They still tasted OK but were a little chewy. The second batch, I only cooked for 6 minutes and they were much better. Overall, I think the okra could have used some more seasoning as well. They were definitely not as good as my mom’s but also not bad for my first try. Every single piece of okra was eaten.

Happy Southern Kosher Treif Cooking!

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