Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Southern Deep Fried Okra

Sliced okra is dipped in buttermilk and then dredged in a lightly seasoned mixture of cornmeal and flour, then deep fried to crispy perfection.

Southern Deep Fried Okra

I have been asked several times how I do my fried okra, so I've finally gotten around to picking some up and cookin' it. Oh the sacrifice.

We use okra a lot down here in the Deep South where gumbo is king, as a thickening agent. I believe that and boiled - yes, with that gooey, buttery, slime and all - are the only two ways that my Mama ever used okra when I was growin' up.

Me, I love okra cooked up just about any way you can think of - stewed down with fresh garden tomatoes and sweet onion, roasted crispy or pan fried, plain with a just bit of olive oil and seasonings, and yes, that steamed or boiled okra, tossed with butter and salt version, and most certainly, fried. It's hard to keep up with them coming out of the fryer because everybody wants to just grab them up!

Fried okra is another one of those fried foods that I prefer to deep fry over pan frying. Deep fried foods absorb much less oil and produces that crispy end product that I love. Despite the fact that we do fry a lot of things in the south, I just do not do greasy. I also don't care as much for the classic version of skillet fried okra simply passed through cornmeal, so I run them through a bit of buttermilk tinged with a bit of hot sauce first.

Okra not in season? Grab a bag of precut okra from the freezer section! Excellent as a side dish, alone as a snack, and really good as a salad topper, or try it dipped in some yummy Comeback Sauce.

Here's how I make my deep fried okra. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Southern Deep Fried Okra

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound of okra
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons of hot sauce, optional
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups of self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • Deep fryer and fresh vegetable or canola oil

Preheat the fryer to 375 degrees F, or if using a skillet heat the oil.

Cut the okra either into 1/2 inch slices or lengthwise; set aside. Whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce and egg; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal with the flour, salt and Cajun seasoning.

Dip the okra into the buttermilk, let excess buttermilk drip off and then dredge in the flour mixture. Fry in batches for 3 or 4 minutes, or just until golden brown; don't overcrowd! Sprinkle with additional salt if desired; serve hot.

Cook's Notes: Substitute 2 sleeves of saltine crackers, crushed fine to a meal, for the cornmeal. You can also eliminate the flour and just use cornmeal alone if you prefer. Don't keep buttermilk on hand? Easy. Just check out this tip.


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Posted by on August 26, 2009

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  1. YUM! Fried okra just screams southern cuisine! LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Gotta have some marinara for dipping though. :)

  2. That looks delicious! I am totally craving it now, haha.

  3. Oh Mary, I love fried okra! I actually made and posted it a few weeks ago's just one of those foods you've got to have every so often! Yours looks perfect!

  4. Ah, the sacrifices you make for us ;). Your fried okra looks amazing!

  5. We do a lot of okra here in the Ozarks too. My family loves it, my husband loves it, his family loves it, our kids love it and all our friends love it. BUT, I don't love it. I don't even like it. Don't know what's wrong with me.

  6. i have never really like okra but that's b/c i've never had it deep fried...i'm sure i would love that! thanks for stopping by my blog - ours are pretty much the opposite of one another but i love your's!!!

  7. You are always bringing me back home....

  8. This is such a good recipe. Being from the south this is the way I prepare my okra to. Nothing like Fried Okra and cornbread ;)

  9. This recipe looks amazing, I can't wait to make it! It reminds me of my childhood in Texas. Mmmm.



  11. You don't really need anything other than cornmeal for the batter. If ou get frozen okra and let it thaw, the okra "snot" makes the cornmeal stick. Drop it in hot oil and salt lightly upon removal! :-)

  12. Oh Anonymous, you're right of course. You don't need to do fried okra anyway but the way that you think is best! That said, I don't like it just passed through cornmeal, but prefer to run it through buttermilk, so this is the way I like it best. I've actually gotten quite a few converts from the cornmeal only camp to be honest! Thanks for your comment though - hope that you'll drop by and visit again sometime!

  13. I'm a bit late to the gate on this, but I had to comment. I've been meaning to try this recipe ever since I first saw it. Well, I had some okra in the garden that was the right size, so I picked it, made your batter and fried 'em up. Mmmm-mmm-mmm!! The best fried okra I have ever had - I'm stuffing my face as I type, and dropping one to the dog once in a while. Mary, you are the BEST Southern gem, and I can't thank you enough for all your delicious recipes, especially this one. Oh, have you tried BeaZell's? It's really good.

    1. Thanks so much - you just made my day!! :)

      A lot of folks prefer the iron skillet fried version of cornmeal coated okra where it's sort of stir-fried - and while both of these are good I really do like this one the best. But let's just say I won't turn either one down!

      I think I saw that Beazells at Rouses one day and almost picked it up - I'm pretty loyal to Slap Ya Mama but when my supply runs low I'll give it a try!

  14. Any idea how to batter and then freeze for later? We have way more okra than we can eat at this point and would live to save it for Jagger. Any suggestions it ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, bread the okra (dip in egg/milk mixture then in cornmeal/flour mixture) and put the individual pieces (not touching each other) on the wax paper and then put the cookie sheet in the freezer until the pieces are frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer bag or Tupperware. Then when Jagger gets there ;) you can just heat up your oil and dump the frozen okra in - no need to thaw.

  15. Thanks Mary, I'm a Canadian girl tryna fix a southern dish for her Texas just made it a lot less intimidating!
    Now if I could Just figure out how to clean the stickers off without picking them outve me for a week I'd be doing good!

    1. You're welcome! Be sure to check out the iron skillet version too here on the blog. It's a totally different okra experience. Careful of those stickers!!


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