Tender pieces of okra are breaded and fried until fluffy and crunchy for traditional southern fried okra.
I didn’t grow up eating okra. I was exposed to it as a kid, but I was definitely of the I don’t know what that is and I’m not going to try it mentality. The older I got, the more I came to understand that fried = delicious, with very few exceptions. By the time I first tried one of these crunchy morsels, it was with little trepidation.
Okra is hard to describe. It’s a pod-like vegetable that tastes vaguely like eggplant, though the texture is not at all similar. Like eggplant, okra is mild and tends to take on the flavors of the foods it’s cooked with.
In this case, those are the time-tested flavors of flour, oil, and salt. The okra gets tender inside a crunchy, puffy shell. Here in Mississippi, southern fried okra is a staple at any self-respecting southerner’s supper table. Even B, at three years old, knows its rightful place is squeezed between the homemade chicken nuggets and the five cheese macaroni and cheese.
Southern Fried Okra
a recipe from Bunt
2 c. self-rising cornmeal
1/2 c. self-rising flour
2 c. frozen okra, not thawed
Fill a pot with two inches of vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees. Add okra to a bowl of ice water. Drain okra on paper towels and transfer to a lidded container filled with the cornmeal and the flour. Add the lid and shake to coat the okra.
Gently drop coated okra into the oil in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Stir occasionally as the okra cooks. When it’s golden, remove it to paper towels to drain and salt generously.
Note: you can use fresh okra, but don’t be alarmed if the end result looks different than these photos.