If I were asked what foods I couldn't live without, the list would probably go like this...chocolate, cookies, pie, and okra. Okra is my absolutely favorite vegetable, and it appears on our dinner table at least once a week. I can't get enough of it! It just makes me happy.
While I've eaten okra in various formats, I would agree with most southerners that the best way to eat it is fried. At home, I don't do a lot of deep frying - it takes too much oil and too much time (not to mention how it destroys my clothes with all that splattering). So, when I make my okra, I pan fry. Here's my simple method.
I place however much frozen okra in a microwave-safe bowl and defrost in the microwave for about 3 minutes. Some of it's still frozen, but the outside of most pieces are thawed enough that you can squeeze them.
After pulling my partially-thawed okra out of the microwave, I pour in a few tablespoons of milk or buttermilk. Buttermilk is a bit thicker, so I like it better. But, if I don't have any buttermilk in the fridge, regular milk works fine.
I stir the buttermilk or milk into the okra until each piece is coated. You don't want a lot of leftover liquid in the bottom of the bowl, so I drain if necessary.
Then, I plop in equal amounts of cornmeal and flour (about 1/4 cup each) and top it off with a generous sprinkling of seasoned salt or creole seasoning.
I stir everything together until each piece of okra is coated.
Meanwhile, I have a skillet on the stove heating up over medium-high heat. When it's hot, I put in a few tablespoons oil (just enough to coat the bottom), and allow the oil to heat up. You know the oil is ready when you can drop a small piece of batter into it and it sizzles.
When the oil has heated up, I throw in the entire bowl of okra and move it around so that every piece is touching the bottom.
I let the bottoms of the okra brown a bit before flipping with a spatula. I continue to wait and flip, wait and flip, until all sides of the okra are golden brown!
You don't need a lot of oil to make delicious fried okra, and it takes only a few minutes. The real trick is getting the oil hot enough before you drop it in, otherwise it will stick to your pan and all of the breading will come off (ugh). Practice makes perfect with this one!
Pan Fried Okra
- 3 T. oil
- 1 1/2 cups frozen okra
- 3 T. buttermilk or milk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 T. creole seasoning
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat; when the skillet gets hot, add oil and allow to heat.
Meanwhile, defrost okra in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until only partially frozen. Add buttermilk or milk and toss to coat; drain any excess liquid. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Pour into hot oil and cook and toss until breading is golden brown.