No summer is complete without a few batches of homemade fried okra, dredged in flour and fried until golden. These fried nuggets with hints of green peeping through are so delicious, there’s no need to add anything to them except a light dusting of salt.
I love okra in every shape and form whether its grilled, roasted, in gumbo, or smothered with tomatoes. I recently discovered a new okra dish, Okra Parmigiana, and it has quickly become a favorite.
But nothing beats straight up fried okra. It is simple and delicious and you can’t stop popping one piece after another into your mouth, hence its nickname “southern popcorn”. The fact that I hate to fry and do it only a few times a year makes fried okra feel extra special.
Light Crispy Coating
Typically southerners fry their okra in cornmeal or a mixture of cornmeal and flour, but I like just a light coating of flour. Sometimes the flavor of the okra gets hidden beneath a heavy cornmeal coating.
Cast Iron Skillet
I use a large cast iron skillet for frying, but any type of skillet will work, or even a Dutch oven.
How To Tell If The Oil Is Hot Enough
A thermometer is handy for making sure the oil stays in the right temperature range. It should be around 370 to 375 degrees F when you first start frying. The temperature will drop some when you add the okra, but you want to keep it from dropping below 350 to 360.
If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a small pinch of flour in the oil. If it sizzles right away, the oil is hot enough to begin frying.
How To Select Okra
When selecting okra, always choose smaller pods that are uniformly green. They develop black specks when they are not fresh. Larger okra pods (more than about 3 to 4 inches in length), get a little fibrous and tough.
Using a paper bag makes the process of coating the okra quick and easy.
Make It Spicy
If you want your okra to have some kick, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.
Okra can go from lightly browned to black and burnt very quickly, especially if you are using a cast iron skillet which really conducts heat well. You’ll have to flip them over as fast as you can. Not an easy task to do without splashing hot oil on your hands. Just keep telling yourself it’s worth it. Be sure you don’t get distracted while frying okra and have a paper towel-lined plate ready.
Don’t overcrowd the pan. You don’t want the oil temperature to drop too much. Fry in batches.
A spider strainer is very useful for quickly and easily removing the okra from the oil.
More Okra Recipes
- Okra Hoecakes
- Okra Hush Puppies
- Corn Okra Creole
- Pecan Crusted Fried Okra
- Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
- Baked Fried Okra
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds okra, caps cut off and sliced
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- Vegetable oil
- In a pie plate or paper lunch bag, mix together flour, salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk.
- Working in several batches, place okra in egg mixture and coat well.
- Transfer to pie plate or paper bag and coat with flour.
- Pour about 1 inch Vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Heat oil until about 375 degrees.
- Place a single layer of okra in the oil. Cook until golden brown on bottom and use a spoon to flip over. Try to flip over a few at a time or it will take a long time to work your way through all of them and a few pieces may burn by the time you get to them.
- Once golden brown on both sides, use a slotted spoon to remove okra to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle okra with some salt as soon as you remove it from the oil.
- Add more oil to the pan and fry remaining okra. Serve warm.
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Originally posted Jully 22, 2014.
Sharing with The Country Cook’s Weekend Potluck