Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fried Okra with Avocado Crema (Whole30 Day 18)

My mom grew up in Austin, and that's where I learned to love fried okra.  We used to go every year to visit our family, and we always ate at this amazing cafeteria called the Marimont that has now been closed for several years.  We would stay for a week, and eat there everyday for lunch.  Here's what I used to get: two or three sides of macaroni and cheese (theirs was the best!), an order of fried okra, and a slice of chocolate cream pie.  I miss that place so much!

Fortunately, there are other places to get great fried okra (I recently had some really delicious okra at Tupelo Honey in Chattanooga).  However, as far as I know, none of those places are in Massachusetts, and none of them offer fried okra that's paleo, gluten-free, vegan and fried in coconut oil.  I still consider my version an indulgence since it uses a lot of oil, but treats like this are important, especially when you're doing a Whole30 and can't have any desserts.

I made an easy avocado crema to go with my okra.  If you have extra crema, it would also be great on eggs or as a dip for veggies.  Of course, the okra is also amazing plain, with just good coarse salt sprinkled on top!

Fried Okra with Avocado Crema
Yield: 2-4 side dish or appetizer servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


For the avocado crema:

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch or two of cumin
Pinch or two of cayenne

For the fried okra:

6-8 ounces okra, trimmed and sliced into half-inch rounds
2/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch or two of cumin
Pinch or two of cayenne
3/4 cup coconut oil, for frying
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

To make the avocado crema, mash all the ingredients together with a fork.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  For a smoother texture, process with an immersion blender.

To make the okra, place the coconut milk in a bowl.  Heat the coconut oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Mix together the coconut flour, tapioca starch, salt, and spices, and place on a plate.   Line another plate with paper towels.  When the oil is hot (a drop of water will dance across enthusiastically), dip several pieces of okra in coconut milk, then toss to coat in the coconut flour mixture.  Place the okra in the skillet, and continue to add as many pieces as you can without crowding them.  When the okra is deep golden on the bottom, flip it and fry until deep golden on the other side.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the okra to the paper-towel lined plate.  Repeat the process until all the okra is ready.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and serve hot with avocado crema for dipping.

Want more Whole30 tips & recipes?  Come back for a new post (almost) everyday this month, and check out these previous posts:

For even more paleo recipes, check out these Whole30 posts from my archives or my Whole30 Pinterest board.  Also, follow me on Instagram to see pics of what I'm eating throughout my Whole30.

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