Wednesday, August 26, 2009

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

Restaurant-Style Southern Deep Fried Okra

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

While most southern kitchens will feature a more classic pan fried okra, tossed with lots of cornmeal and cooked up in a small amount of fat, often bacon drippings in a hot cast iron skillet, this deep fried version is what you will most often find served at a restaurant.

I love okra cooked up just about any way you can think of - smothered with fresh garden tomatoes, bacon and sweet onion, roasted crispy or pan fried in a cast iron skillet, in a summer succotash, in a ratatouille, a summer veggie skillet, 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! 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 restaurant-style deep fried okra.

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Recipe: Restaurant-Style 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) {affil link}, 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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