My mother’s fried okra was like popcorn – every crisp bite called for another. But loving fried okra doesn’t mean you like it steamed or in other dishes. Frying eliminates some of the texture that people often object to and describe as slick or slimy. Others describe the texture as silky or velvety and say it should be embraced rather than eliminated. No matter which camp you are in, there is a way to fry okra to suit your taste.
Mother’s method turned out crisp and brown with very little of that silky texture, but with a delicious okra flavor. She simply sliced it, coated it with self-rising corn meal and cooked it in a skillet of hot shortening. Golden brown and crispy, the okra draining on a paper towel was a temptation for everyone who walked by.
There is another method that fully covers each slice of okra in its own little corn meal shell. I think this is made with a batter. Other cooks like to soak the okra in egg or another liquid and coat with corn meal producing a semi-encapsulated hybrid version.
My friend Andrea and her family oven fry okra by soaking okra slices in buttermilk and dredging in plain corn meal.
Next, the okra is spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
It’s then baked at 450° F for 30 to 40 minutes or until crisp.
There are, of course, many different variations. How do you fry your okra?