Friday, June 21, 2013

Fried Okra

True story: I really hate those big country buffet restaurants like Golden Corral (home of the cheese waterfall fountain ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)). But, on one of many weekend jaunts to Tuscaloosa, I got talked into hitting up a Barnhill's Buffet. I looked at all of the offerings, and ended up with a small bowl of mashed potatoes and lunchroom brown gravy (which, no lie, I LOVE), and a HUMONGOUS plate of fried okra. It was basically a dome of okra, and probably weighed at least 2 lbs. 

And you know what, it was GOOD. It was likely made from the frozen pre-breaded stuff, which I'll admit I buy semi-regularly (aka: whenever fresh okra isn't in season), but it was still good. Why? BECAUSE FRIED OKRA IS DELICIOUS.

However, I really prefer my fried okra pan-fried instead of deep-fried. When you pan-fry okra, it seems to get a little crispier, and sometimes the breading will fall off a little bit and make the okra itself crispy. It's a hard thing to describe, but I know most Southerners will know exactly what I'm talking about and can spot the difference between homemade fried okra and the pre-breaded stuff from a mile away. 

Southerners LOVE their okra. It's a necessity for a good pot of gumbo, and it's absolutely amazing fried. Some Southerners even use the okra as their mascot! 

ANYWAY, okra's in season here, and it's pretty cheap. So, if you want to make it from scratch, it's REALLY not that difficult at all. And, if you still want to use the pre-breaded frozen stuff, that's ok too - I've got a big bag of Stilwell in my freezer right now! 

Fried Okra
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

1 lb okra, trimmed & cut into 1/4" slices
Canola/Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt & pepper

Heat 1/2" of oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°. 

Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl and add the okra.

In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal and flour. Season with salt and pepper, maybe about 1/4 tsp of each.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the okra from the buttermilk and toss into the cornmeal mixture. Shake off the excess breading, then place the breaded okra on a baking sheet.

Cooking in batches, add the okra to the hot oil in a single layer. Fry until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack. Serve hot!


  1. yay!!! i can't wait to make this... fried okra is one of my husband's favorite dishes!

  2. I am so glad that I came across your blog via the pinterest link for cleaning/restoring cast iron frying pans this morning. I have had many delicious meals made by my Grandmother from Camden, Alabama out of those pans. She would only clean the outside of the pans when they became gunked up with grease at the local scissor sharpener man's place...he would sandblast or use some kind of metal scraping only on the outside to get back to the original back to okra..
    have you ever tried adding oil and just okra seasoned with salt and pepper?
    they fry up crispy that way as well...the more crisp they become the less green/more black they become...they are not cute but oh so good! That is the way my Grandma and Great-gran made theirs. It takes a while but oh so worth it. I think I will shuck, slice and pan fry some corn soon! Thank you for your posts!