A peek inside the okra pod.
Fried okra, ready to serve.
ATTENTION BEGINNER COOKS:
Handle this vegetable as little as possible to avoid making it too slimy.
- 1 lb young and tender okra pods
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cups milk
- Peanut oil for frying (1-2" deep in iron skillet)
With a sharp knife, cut off both ends of okra pods and slice into 1/2" thick coin-shaped pieces.
Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, mix the egg and milk together. Place the slices of okra in this mixture. Using a slotted spoon, slightly drain the slices and transfer them to the cornmeal. Remember: Handle okra gently and as little as possible to avoid making it slimy. Carefully toss and coat okra with the dry ingredients.
Preheat peanut oil to 375 degrees and put in small portions of okra slices. Do not crowd the pan, and only turn over as necessary. Don't walk away, as this dish cooks quickly. Fry until golden brown. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with some additional salt and serve hot.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS AN OKRA?
This question might stump you if you've never eaten classic southern food. Okra is a cone-shaped green vegetable 2" to 3" long and covered with white fuzz similar to a peach. It is African in origin and comes from the same family as hibiscus and cotton plants. Our neighbors to the west use okra to thicken their gumbos, but we southerners like to slice and fry these little pods until they're golden and crunchy.