Thursday, 21 January 2010

Oklahoma - Choctaw Catfish and Fried Okra

For my second foodie challenge this time round, I wanted to cook a Native American dish, especially one that comes from Oklahoma.  Having searched the Internet for recipes, I came across these two on my old favourite

The first one was for Fried Okra

And the second one was for Choctaw Catfish

I have to say at this point that I'm no Jamie Oliver!  But I did my best - Okra is something I've seen so many times in the supermarket and wondered what it might taste like.  I don't cook fish very often, so the Choctaw dish was a challenge for me.

Fried Okra

First, the ingredients:

A cup full of Cornflower (seems to be ubiquitous in Oklahoman cooking!)
An egg
Some Okra pods
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Chop the Okra into small pieces and soak in a bowl with the egg for 5 to 10 minutes.  In another bowl mix together the cornmeal, salt and ground pepper, then mix the whole lot together and fry on the pan until crisp and golden brown - simple as that!

Choctaw Catfish

I couldn't find catfish, although I did try at our Caribbean fishmongers on the Uxbridge Road!  I'm sure there must be catfish somewhere in London, but I had to make do with Tilapia, which seems to be everywhere!  The face of the shop assistant when I asked him whether or not Tilapia was a river fish was enough to make me not want to ask him a difficult question ever again.  Never mind, fish is fish, right?

I marinated the fish in buttermilk for a few hours, which made it really tender and flavoursome.  Then I mixed together (yet more) cornmeal with salt and steak seasoning.  The recipe stipulated 'onion salt', but try as I might I couldn't find onion salt anywhere, not even in Waitrose!!  I coated the marinated fish in the flour mixture, then fried each piece of fish in the pan for about 8 or 9 minutes.  I wasn't sure what to serve it with, but Zhenya had a craving for white rice, so white rice it was - I think next time round, it would be nice to serve some greens, or even brown rice, for a bit of contrast.  We enjoyed it anyway!

Image credits:  All photos were taken by me :-)
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