Southern Fried Okra
Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Right off the bat, I want to say that I KNOW there are a whole bunch of you out there who took one look at the word “okra” and took one step backwards (or maybe three) while you nervously looked around for the nearest exit.
Okay. I’ll cede your fears. After all, when I was a little kid, I felt much the same way. I’ve had frozen okra plopped into a saucepan and boiled into glue myself. It left me traumatized about this delicious pod. And in later years when my Aunt Docie would visit and make her famous gumbo, the pods went in. But eating that, and fishing about to ditch the little slices of okra was easy work, because it was delicious and then I learned that okra has a FLAVOR. Yes, that’s right. There is more to these little buggers than just being a gelatinous wad of… whatever that word is we are all thinking. Ahem.
So, over time, I even learned to try the fried okra, albeit the teeny tiny ones that were extra crispy. And if I dosed it with hot sauce and swallowed fast, I had to admit it was actually pretty good. And while you might be sitting there thinking I had developed a taste for slimy things, I am still telling you I don’t like slick okra.
And these actually are not, (and neither is my bindi curry or gumbo) but I have learned a couple of tricks that I can pass on to you. Choose the smallest pods that you can, with the idea being that the seeds are not as big as others. But sometimes, the pods are all pretty big. So in that case, I need you to not cut them in rings, but to go for spears, sort of the way pickles are sliced. Work quickly after you cut the okra. I usually have my breading station set up and the oil heating when I start to cut it. And make sure when you cook it, that you give it ample time to get crisp, drain it well and don’t crowd, and eat it right away. This all works for fried okra and I will give you another tip if you are not frying it, and that is to let it brown when you are adding it to things like gumbo or curry. That is something I picked up out of a Paul Prudhomme cookbook- I think it was in his sister-in-law’s recipe for gumbo, but I don’t recall 100%. It would have been in the Prudhomme Family Cookbook, but I haven’t cracked that book open in awhile, even though I still own it. It’s an older book. But it is a good one if you see it at a fair price, such as at a used bookstore or something.
But anyway, my husband says these are the best okra I have made so far. And you can either figure he is buttering me up or just telling it like it is. Or both. Ha! I don’t fry foods that often, so it is a treat. I actually cooked these for a cooking event among friends where I will be posting and trying Texas style recipes. When I realized I had not ever posted a fried okra recipe, I thought I should get on it, as it just screams Texas to me. All my Texas relatives just love fried okra. So I know they would approve. I hope you do as well.
Southern Fried Okra
- 8 ounces fresh baby okra, sliced
- 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons Cajun spice blend
- 1/4 cup milk
- oil as needed
- Stir together the corn meal, flour and seasoning.
- Heat oil about an inch deep in a large skillet.
- Slice okra and mix with milk.
- Drain excess milk from okra.
- Roll okra in flour mix to coat, then lightly sifting off excess flour through your fingers, add the okra to hot oil.
- Cook several minutes until golden all over and drain.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
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