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Pan-fried Zucchini and Okra

Pan-fried zucchini and okra.

Pan-fried zucchini and okra.

If you’ve never tried okra, you have probably at least heard of it. Along with stories of how slimy it is. Or maybe you’ve only had them deep fried or as part of gumbo and don’t know what else to do with them. This is a great way to get a healthy and misunderstood vegetable in your diet without the slime. I first had them served like this in Japan and have been trying to recreate them ever since. It turns out the secret is to keep it simple. Of course, that’s true of most things.

Ingredients for 4 servings

2 zucchini

1 lb of okra

1 tbsp oil – divided

salt to taste

Start by cutting the zucchini into 2 inch long rounds and then quartering the rounds. Next, heat 1/2 the oil in a pan. I don’t recommend using your rice cooker for this because you will need to get the pan quite hot and keep it hot. Your oil should be almost hot enough to smoke. Lay the zucchini in the pan with one cut side down. leave it on that side until it starts to brown, which takes about 2 minutes, then turn it so the other cut side is down. Let the second side down, and then remove them from the pan. Immediately salt the vegetables. Salting when the zucchini is hot helps the salt to stick and melt slightly so the flavors really meld.

While the zucchini is cooking you can cut the okra. simply slice them in half lengthwise. You will have some stickiness while you are cutting, but that will disappear as you cook them. When the zucchini is cooked and set aside, add the rest of the oil to the pan and place the okra cut side down. Just as you did with the zucchini, leave the okra in place and just let it cook until it begins to brown and crisp up. It should take about 2 minutes again. You don’t need to turn the okra, just remove it to your serving plate with the zucchini and salt immediately.

Cooking the okra.

Cooking the okra.

You might have to cook the okra in two rounds, like I did, if your pan is on the smaller side. The vegetables cook so quickly that you don’t have to worry about the finished ones cooling. Half a pound might sound like a lot, but when I cook okra this way, it gets eaten very quickly and then everyone asks for more. The vegetables are salty and crunchy and the seeds in the okra are so much fun that even kids like this. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine do.

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