Fried okra

Probably better than a handful of potato chips

Some people would say that taking the time to grow a fresh crop of vegetables yourself and then deep frying the fruits of your labor would be a contradiction. Especially when there are so many different ways to use fresh vegetables that are delicious and incredibly healthy as well. Normally, we’d agree. We don’t really like to fry.

Unless the vegetable in particular is okra. Fresh okra is so crisp and tasty when fried whereas its frozen or even store-bought counterpart fail to deliver. In fact, the only acceptable time to fry okra is fresh from the plant.

A few pointers for success: Only pick okra that is under 5″ long. Any bigger and the texture gets somewhat woody and hard. Don’t cut the okra into anything bigger than 1/2″ round, I prefer 1/4″. If the okra is not as fresh as possible it can be soaked in ice water for 15 minutes instead of parboiling to improve the crispness, but this only does so much. The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter, slightly runny but still sticking to the okra. Use a fork to lift a few out at a time and drain off the excess batter. I like yellow cornmeal, but many southerns swear by white. Just make sure that whatever color you choose it is finely ground and not self rising. When frying, do not overcrowd your pan and instead fry in multiple small batches. I like to use a dutch oven when frying food, but a deep-sided cast iron pan or stock pot will work for okra since there only needs to be two inches of oil at a time. Serve immediately and do not reheat fried okra or it will not taste very good.

Fried Okra

  • 15-20 fresh okra stems removed and sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk plus extra
  • 1 egg
  • Hot pepper sauce to taste

In a large bowl, crack egg and beat till smooth. Mix cornmeal, salt, pepper, buttermilk and hot sauce into beaten egg and stir until batter forms. Bring a stock pot of salted water to boil and parboil okra for one minute. Strain, rinse under cold water and dry immediately. Place flour in a bowl and quickly dredge okra in it. Shake off excess and drop okra into batter. If the batter gets too thick thin with more buttermilk until it resembles pancake mix. Bring 2″ Crisco, lard or vegetable oil to a boil in a dutch oven. In small batches strain off extra batter and fry okra. Set on a paper towel to cool slightly and dust with salt. Serve hot plain or dipped in fresh aioli.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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75 Responses to Fried okra

  1. rutheh says:

    I am sure okra is an acquired taste and if i sat down at your table I would eat it and enjoy it heartily–maybe I am just not eating it correctly. Everyone enjoyed your eggplant recipe.
    I should not admit this, about the okra. My mother never prepared it. We didn’t eat it growing up.
    It is not on menus much around Pittsburgh that I see…..I need to train my palate I am sure.

  2. wok with ray says:

    I love deep fried battered okra. And yours look amazingly delicious and crunchy!

  3. Kristy says:

    Delicious! The color and crispiness is perfect. This would be right up my alley dipped in the aioli! Have a great long weekend guys!

  4. Missy says:

    I haven’t been a big fan of Okra but I would still love to try this. πŸ™‚

    thanks for sharing

  5. onewomaninaricefield says:

    Great looking recipe! I’ve never tried okra before but I’ve always wanted to.

  6. Okra tempura is really good. Though fried, very light. Yours looks nice and crispy.

  7. ChgoJohn says:

    Not really a fan of okra but not really a hater, either. I will give you credit, though. You sure did make it look appealing. It looks like crispy is the way to go.

  8. Nice idea and mouth watering pic, but we’re in an okra free zone.

    • Charles says:

      Hi Food, Photography & France,

      Is that because you have problems getting it, or because of some allergies etc? If the former, and if my understanding of you from reading your blog is sufficient, you’re in France, right? Me too, and you can get Okra! My local Auchan has a “tropical fruit and vegetable” stand where they sell Okra (or Gombo in French) there. I guess not every store of course will have them, but it’s still possible. Worse case scenario I can buy a box-full here and send it down to you if you wanted πŸ˜€

    • Yep, a lot of people even here just don’t like it. It grows so well in this climate though.

  9. Next year…next year! I love okra and we do fry in olive oil quite a lot (well, we have so damn much of it!) and do aubergine and courgette this way. Deeeeelicious!

  10. Charles says:

    How handy Greg – I just finally bought some Okra myself from the local store. I was considering making a “Gombo Gumbo” but actually this looks pretty irresistible! Nice one πŸ™‚

  11. Sissi says:

    You will laugh, but for me both okra and corn batter look here very exotic. In fact, I’m impressed by the number of dishes you make with corn. It seems to be really the American and the Southern vegetable par excellence. The fried okra looks fabulous and the batter is worth remembering also for some other vegetables.

    • Nope, I don’t think that’s funny. When my parents lived in Germany they said this one event that featured corn on the cob was wildly popular because Germans couldn’t grow it the same way. I know you’re not in Germany, but much closer than we are!

      • Sissi says:

        You are right… Apart from the corn on the cob and canned corn used in salads, I never have corn! (Of course I use lots of corn starch as a thickener, but that’s it). I must start stretching my corn dishes repertoire thanks to your blog πŸ™‚

  12. Now this definitely makes okra more appealing to me – YUMMY.
    Have a happy weekend.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  13. SimpleP says:

    I love okra! This looks perfectly evil and delicious.

  14. Now this is my favorite fried food…along with french fries.

  15. There is NOTHING like fresh fried okra…and no good way to buy it here. 😦
    Still trying to figure out how to grow it. There seems to be one variety that does well in a short season….that’s an adventure for another year!

  16. ceciliag says:

    Well . i have put okra seeds on next years list to grow in the gardens.. and (confession time) I love deep fried food, love it, don’t tell anyone. Sometimes Our John deep fries when he is cooking thai and I make him do it outside because I hate the smell in the house but I am first up with my plate to EAT! and this okra looks golden and very very appealing..

  17. Kelly says:

    I’m loving all the okra recipes – this looks delicious!

  18. Lea Ann says:

    Thanks for the “Okra For Dummies” tips. I’m one of those dummies who really doesn’t know much about okra … except that I like it fried. Last year a blogger gave me a tip to toss it with yellow cornmeal only and sautee it. It’s pretty good too.

  19. Of course, being from the South and loving all things Southern, I love okra. I like it any way you “fix” it. Mine is just about gone in the garden. I have frozen some for the winter months. Your recipes looks wonderful.

  20. spicegirlfla says:

    Now this might be a good way to try my first okra!! My son would even happily eat this!! Great detailing the process for all us newbies!

  21. I could literally just take the whole plate and start popping them one by one in my mouth. Who cares about etiquette when you have fried okra in front of you that looks like this! Heaven!

  22. Amy says:

    Frying is a perfectly acceptable way to cook your fresh veggies! Especially when you have to much you don’t know what to do with it. This looks awesome πŸ™‚

  23. OMG, fried okra! Yum! If it weren’t so hot, I’d drive back down south to have some authentic fried okra! Nostalgia…

  24. egg me on says:

    Mmm. Fried okra makes me think of my elementary school lunches since it seemed to be the standard side dish. But I’m sure — heck,I know! — these are way better than that. I need to get my hands on some okra.

  25. Alli says:

    My bf loooooooves okra but it’s one of the few vegetables I have yet to warm up to. What better way to give it another shot than by frying? Can’t wait to try!

  26. I haven’t tried okra but this recipe sounds like it’s a perfect one to introduce to me and my family. Anything fried has to taste good! Thanks for the tips because I know nothing about okra and now am curious to try it.

  27. Karen says:

    You have just pleased some many Southerner’s with corn pudding and now fried okra. Next thing I think I will see is the word “y’all” pop into one of your posts.

  28. This looks so good – I could eat it all! I think a trip to the farmers’ market is in order! Thanks for the recipe! And for everyone who commented they don’t care for okra – I don’t like it either unless it’s fried – and yours looks better than any I’ve had!

  29. This was the first way I ever ate okra! Fried anything is good πŸ˜‰

  30. karencooking says:

    Yay! Fried okra! I like the hot sauce addition, too.

  31. Velva says:

    Love, love okra when someone else is cooking or frying it. πŸ™‚ This looks delicious. I am thinking that this fried okra dipped in aioli sauce would rock…

    Thanks for sharing the good tips on enjoying okra.


  32. Eva Taylor says:

    I’d be right into this if it wasn’t okra. Sorry Greg. Not a fan.

  33. ambrosiana says:

    It never ever crossed my mind to make fried okra! I love fried veggies and these would be great with some sprinkled lemon juice on top!! Top recipe!

  34. Caroline says:

    I read this on my phone last night as I was getting into bed…after I just ate a massive gourmet dinner…and then my stomach started growling. What’s wrong with me? Is it possible to like food too much? Eesh, I’m rambling, but this fried okra sounds amazing!!

  35. Jenny liu says:

    Never eaten okra before, wondering how’s it taste like, the picture looks so great!…by the way, have just add your blog to my blogroll, like your amazing food blog!

  36. secretmenu says:

    I would just like to say that 1) I love okra, and 2) I am making this as soon as I get home. Lovely!

  37. I don’t understand how people could dislike okra. This looks so great!

  38. Did we seriously both do fried okra recipes back to back? How funny! Your batch looks awesome!

  39. Ok, this was some good information about choosen orka, because the wife and I go back and forth about what is the appropriate sized okra to use. Many thanks Greg!

  40. nrhatch says:

    We eat very little fried food . . . but love an occasional serving of friend okra.

  41. JamieAnne says:

    Yay! Lovely! Great recipe!

  42. ....RaeDi says:

    I have not had good fried okra since I live in Charleston, SC. This looks delicious, T said he’d like to try it….RaeDi

  43. yum! I’ve only had okra in gumbo, but this preparation looks pretty incredible. I wonder if okra would grow in Alaska…. i’m feeling like it’s probably more of a warm weather crop though.

  44. rsmacaalay says:

    Like what you’ve said about okra recipes, I am getting exited as well to know some like this. Looks like a great appetizer or side dish. Yum!

  45. Thank you for all the tips
    I have to get some fresh okra soon
    I have never tried fried okra and now I think I have been missing out

  46. The country man in you has come out to play and my mother was so proud when she read this. Of course you know I’m not a okra person but it takes a special kind of person to make okra.. and make okra not overly slimmy. You did the south proud with this one πŸ™‚

  47. Joanne says:

    Okay, bookmarked and sold! This looks awesome. Thanks for the tips on picking okra…I wouldn’t have known what to look for otherwise!

  48. spiderpaw says:

    I have to say that I have never been a fan of okra, but that is because my mom fed it to me almost every chance she got, which was in some kind of gumbo like dish. This recipe is a nice fresh alternative that will certainly make me give okra another chance.

  49. AKGDDM says:

    This dish does not look that saturated with oil. They are also cut into small pieces so that we can easily eaten. I believe that it should have either a dip or sauce on side. I think calslaw or macroni salad would be a great side dish. But I was recently reading about various cooking process and would like to share a concerning fact. Deep frying is generally a destructive process for vitamins sensitive to oxidation. Its a good idea to fry on a non-stick pan with a little bit of oil. But that won’t work with this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

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