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Southern Fried Okra Recipe

by AI Chef
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Southern Fried Okra recipe

Welcome to the heart of Southern cooking with this classic, comfort-food recipe: Southern Fried Okra. Known for its golden crust, tender bite, and distinct flavor, fried okra is a cornerstone of Southern cuisine and a delightful side dish that’s perfect for any occasion.

Okra, also known as “lady’s fingers,” is a versatile vegetable that’s rich in fiber, vitamin C, and folate. When fried, it transforms into a crunchy, golden nugget of deliciousness, with the slightly sweet, grassy flavor of the okra shining through the savory batter.

fresh okra

Whether you’re familiar with okra or trying it for the first time, this fried okra recipe will convert you into a fan. This guide will walk you through each step, from preparing the okra to frying it to perfection, ensuring you end up with a crispy, addictive dish that’s sure to please a crowd.

Get ready to experience the flavors of the South with this simple yet scrumptious recipe for Southern Fried Okra. If you’ve been searching for a foolproof way to enjoy this unique vegetable, look no further. Grab your apron, and let’s get started!

Southern Fried Okra Recipe Guide

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 250 calories 15g fat

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound fresh okra
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 cup cornmeal
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1/4 cup milk
  9. Vegetable oil, for frying
  10. Additional salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Preparation of Okra

  1. Start by washing the okra under cold running water to remove any dirt. Pat them dry using a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
  2. Using a sharp knife, trim off the stem ends of the okra. Some people also like to cut off the pointed tip of the okra, but this is optional.
  3. Slice the okra into rounds that are approximately 1/2 inch thick. For larger okra, you might want to cut them in half lengthwise first and then slice. The key is to have pieces that are roughly the same size so they fry evenly.
  4. Place the cut okra in a bowl. If you're not ready to cook the okra immediately, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.

Making the Batter

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, cornmeal, salt, black pepper, and paprika. This mixture will provide the crispy texture and savory flavor to your fried okra.
  2. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add the milk to it. This is your wet mixture that will help the dry flour mixture adhere to the okra.
  3. Dip each piece of okra in the egg mixture first, ensuring that it's thoroughly coated.
  4. Then roll the okra in the flour mixture. Make sure each piece is evenly coated with the dry mixture.
  5. Lay the breaded okra on a baking sheet or large plate in a single layer.
  6. Once all the okra pieces have been coated, let them sit for about 5-10 minutes. This allows the coating to set and adhere properly to the okra, making sure it doesn't fall off during the frying process.

Frying the Okra

  1. In a large frying pan or deep fryer, pour in enough vegetable oil to reach a depth of about 2 inches. This will ensure the okra is fully submerged during frying. If you're using a deep fryer, follow the manufacturer's instructions for the oil level.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of about 350°F (175°C). If you don't have a thermometer, you can test the oil's readiness by dropping a small piece of the batter into it. If it sizzles and floats to the top, the oil is ready.
  3. Carefully add the okra pieces to the hot oil in small batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding can lower the temperature of the oil and result in soggy, not crispy, fried okra.
  4. Fry the okra until they are golden brown, which typically takes about 3-4 minutes. Be sure to turn the pieces occasionally for even browning.
  5. Once the okra is done frying, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil, allowing excess oil to drip back into the pan.
  6. Transfer the fried okra to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any remaining oil.
  7. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste while the okra is still hot. This will ensure the seasoning sticks to the okra.

Draining and Seasoning

  1. Once you've removed the golden brown okra from the fryer using a slotted spoon, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet. The paper towel will help absorb any excess oil from the okra. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool down slightly and allow the paper towels to soak up the oil.
  2. While the okra is still warm, sprinkle over some additional seasoning. Salt and pepper work great, but feel free to experiment with other seasonings that you enjoy. Some people like a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, or even a sprinkle of cayenne for some heat. The key is to do this while the okra is still warm so that the seasoning sticks well to the okra.
  3. Give the okra a gentle toss to ensure that the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  4. Your Southern Fried Okra is now ready to be served and enjoyed!

Serving Suggestions

  1. As a Side Dish: Southern Fried Okra makes a fantastic side dish to any Southern meal. Try serving it alongside barbecued meats, fried chicken, or fish for a comforting and satisfying meal.
  2. With Dipping Sauces: While delicious on its own, fried okra pairs wonderfully with a variety of dips. Try it with a spicy remoulade, homemade ranch dressing, or a tangy barbecue sauce for an extra flavor kick.
  3. On a Salad: For a Southern-style salad, top a bed of fresh greens with fried okra, corn, tomatoes, and a creamy buttermilk dressing. The warm, crispy okra adds a unique texture that’s sure to impress.
  4. As a Snack: Fried okra makes a fantastic snack or appetizer. Serve it at your next party or gathering and watch as it quickly disappears!
  5. In a Sandwich: Yes, you read that right! Try adding fried okra to a po’boy sandwich for a crunchy twist. Trust us on this one; it’s delicious.

Remember, no matter how you choose to serve your Southern Fried Okra, the most important thing is to enjoy it while it’s hot and crispy. Now, let’s wrap this up with some final thoughts.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Choose Fresh Okra: For the best flavor and texture, choose fresh okra pods that are small to medium in size, as they are usually more tender. The okra should be bright green and firm to the touch.
  2. Dry Okra Well: Make sure the okra is thoroughly dry before you dip it in the batter. Any excess moisture can cause the batter to slide off, and it can also cause the oil to splatter.
  3. Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: When frying the okra, don’t put too much in the pan at once. Overcrowding the pan can drop the oil’s temperature and result in soggy, oily okra.
  4. Season While Hot: Season the okra immediately after removing it from the oil. The heat helps the seasoning stick to the okra for maximum flavor.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of okra or new to this unique vegetable, Southern Fried Okra is a must-try recipe. The crispy, golden exterior gives way to a tender interior for a snack that’s simply irresistible. By following this guide, you’ll be able to whip up a batch of Southern Fried Okra that will impress family and friends alike. So go ahead, gather your ingredients and let’s bring a taste of the South into your kitchen. Enjoy!

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