Southern Fried Okra aka Crusty Okra

Every recipe has a story and this one is no exception.  For years I struggled to make really good crispy fried okra.  In 2009, I stumbled onto a recipe that has become my go to recipe for making “crusty” okra as my granddaughters call it.  

After going gluten-free, I found that this recipe works just as well with an all-purpose gluten free flour blend as it did with wheat flour.  I am so grateful to 1 Fat Chef for posting his secret to success. The recipe belongs to him.  Over the years I have developed my own secrets for breading and frying and will share them here.

My granddaughters love the “crusty” okra.  When they visit, I try to have a Ziplock bag of breaded okra ready in the freezer to go into the hot oil.  When they were here in November 2013, I had fixed them corn as a vegetable side for Thanksgiving.  The little one informed me later that she really didn’t like corn.  When asked what she did like without hesitation she said okra.

The conversation soon turned to breakfast for the next morning and the youngest said she wanted okra for breakfast.  Now that is loving it!  We did settle on more of a breakfast thing with the promise of “crusty” okra for dinner. 

Southern Fried Okra

1 quart fresh okra, washed
2 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten free)
1 teaspoon seasoning salt or Cajun Seasoning
 fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cups stone-ground yellow corn meal
1 egg beaten
canola oil
coarse salt

Cut tops off okra pods and cut the pods into 1/2 to 3/4 inch rounds.  The tail of the pod can also be used.  Place the cut okra into a 2 quart container with lid.  I use my Season Serve Serve Container from Tupperware.  Sprinkle the okra with the flour, seasoning salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Place the top on the container and shake to thoroughly coat.  Remove the top and check to make sure the okra is lightly dusted with flour.  This is the first secret to success.

Once the okra is lightly dusted remove from container using a Frying Strainer.  Shake out excess flour and return flour to Season Serve Serve Container.  Making sure the okra has a light dusting is the second secret to succeeding.

Pour the beaten egg over okra, place top on container and shake, shake, shake.  Sprinkle 3/4 to 1 cup of the stone-ground yellow corn meal over okra and shake, shake, shake.  Add additional corn meal as needed.  The okra should be coated and “dry” not wet. 

Making sure the oi is ready and frying in small batches is the final step on the journey to really good “crusty” okra.  Preheat oil to 400°.  If you don’t have a frying thermometer, place the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil.  If it “sizzles” the oil is ready.  I always test it with a piece of the breaded okra.  When the okra browns and rises to the top it is done and the oil is ready.  The okra should be fried in small bathes as not to cool the oil down. 

As the okra cooks it will brown, even gluten free, and rise to the top.  Remove okra from oil with strainer and place on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Sprinkle with coarse salt to taste and enjoy!  The recipe makes about 4 to 6 servings.


Note:  The okra can be breaded and frozen for later.  To freeze I place on a cookie sheet and do a quick freeze.  Then bag the okra for later use.

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