Okra Pilau, or Okra Pilaf, is a low country favorite. White rice is cooked with bacon, onion, and sliced okra for a fresh and flavorful southern side dish.
Even those who are not a fan of okra will love this simple side dish. The okra is cooked down enough for most of its sliminess to dissipate. It’s the simplest of rice dishes, but the flavor is really there.
People think about fried chicken, pulled pork, and mac and cheese when they think about fried foods. But for me, southern cooking is all about the vegetable side dishes. And they are usually very simple. Sliced fresh tomatoes or cucumbers, lima beans cooked with a ham hock. Green beans cooked low and slow until melt in your mouth tender.
Sometimes Okra Pilau has tomatoes added, but I prefer to leave the tomatoes out and when I want an okra and tomatoes dish, I cook this recipe.
Rice dishes are an important part of southern food history, especially in the low country where rice used to be an important crop. Chicken Bog and Savannah Red Rice are other popular southern dishes based on rice.
You can use regular long-grain rice for this Okra Pilau, but Carolina Gold Rice is even better. It has a nuttier, earthier flavor. You can buy Carolina Plantation Rice, which is grown in South Carolina, on Amazon.
More ways to cook Okra:
- 5 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/2 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 cups sliced okra
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Fry bacon in a medium pot until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.
- Add onion and bell pepper to the bacon grease in the pot and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
- Add okra and cook 2 more minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 20 minutes.
- Fluff rice and stir in bacon.
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