You may chuckle at the notion, but there’s nothing more Southern than a fried vegetable. It’s true, y’all! If you’re from the South, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. But if you aren’t, you may find the idea of frying vegetables a little bizarre. Just step into any restaurant that serves Southern-style food and look at their menu! You’ll find things like fried corn nuggets, fried green beans, fried squash, and even fried pickles!
One thing I’m almost certain you’ll find at any Southern diner (and in any Southern cookbook) is a recipe for fried okra. Okra by itself is a rather slimy vegetable. To be perfectly honest with you, I can’t stand it when it’s not fried. Most people prefer it battered and crispy, but some people like to stew it, put it in soups and gumbos, and even pickle it. I shudder at the thought of eating it in its natural slimy state, but frying it makes it absolutely DELICIOUS!
Preparing it to fry can be a little tricky since it tends to stick together. It isn’t difficult to do by any means, but I would classify it as a labor of love. 😉
Preheat a deep fryer with oil to 350 F. First, you’ll thoroughly wash your okra and slice off each end and discard. Cut the okra into rounds at your preferred size – but keep in mind that the thicker the round, the harder it can be to get it to be good and crispy. One tip that I recommend trying is to freeze the okra a little bit so that the slime isn’t oozing too bad when you’re trying to cut it.
In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk and an egg. Dunk the okra in the egg mixture, ensuring that each piece gets completely coated. Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl to prepare for battering.
Using a fork or slotted spoon, remove okra from egg mixture and dunk into flour mixture, being sure to separate any clumps that my form. Make sure the okra is thoroughly covered to make for even frying.
Slowly lower the okra into the grease and allow to fry until golden brown. I recommend doing this in small batches so your first batch can be a test run. You’ll want to make sure the texture of the okra is just the way you like it!
Here’s a free printable version of the recipe for you to add to your cookbook. If you give this recipe a try, please come back and leave a comment letting me know how it turned out!
Perfect Southern Fried Okra
- 2 lbs fresh okra - cut into rounds
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/5 tsp pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Wash okra thoroughly and cut into rounds at your desired thickness
- In a large bowl, combine egg and buttermilk and scramble
- In a second large bowl, combine dry ingredients
- Pour an appropriate amount of oil into deep fryer and preheat to 350 F
- Soak okra in buttermilk mixture and toss into flour mixture
- Shake in batter until each piece of okra is coated
- Place okra into deep fryer in small batches, making sure any pieces that have clumped together are separated
- Fry until golden brown
- Remove and place on paper towels or on a wire rack
- Add additional salt if desired
- Serve immediately
And there you have it, folks! Perfectly fried vegetable goodness! I remember going through a phase as a child where I would only put okra on my plate because I could use it as an excuse to pour ketchup on my plate and lick it off of each piece of okra. It didn’t take long for me to realize how yummy it actually was, though! Now when I head out to a local restaurant I always check to see if I can get fried okra as a side. The crispier, the better in my opinion!
So if you’re already familiar with fried okra and love it as much as I do, I applaud you on your excellent taste. However, if you’re looking at this recipe and thinking, “WHAT in the world is that?!”….give it a try! I betcha you’ll fall in love! (And try it dipped in a little ketchup. It’s delish!)
If you like this recipe, you’ll definitely want to check these other great recipes found right here on Southern Made Simple: Zucchini and Feta Cheese Fritters, The Secret to the BEST Country Fried Steak, Cheesy Italian Zucchini Boats, Southern Egg Salad with Bacon