Zesty Fried Okra

Growing up in the South with a Grandma who ran a traditional kitchen, I had the pleasure of eating a lot of fried vegetables.  In fact, most veggies either got the breaded-and-deep-fried treatment or the boiled-to-a-khaki-mush business.  Clearly, I preferred the former.  Now, however, I have learned that my arteries will really hate me later on if I continue to enjoy all these fried delights.  I generally abstain from frying, but sometimes I crave fried foods.  It’s comfort food.  In moderation, there’s no reason not to enjoy fried veggies once in a while.  However, I’ve wanted to shift the focus from the fried veg as an integral part of the meat-and-three combo to a small first course.  A small amount of fried okra, say, with a lovely tomato and onion chutney served on the side makes a great appetizer for sharing.  It also satisfies that craving for crunchy-delicious fried food!

A general note about this batter: I don’t like to cook with eggs, but I gave in when preparing the batter for this okra.  Let me say I am converted.  If you avoid eggs, use egg beaters, but don’t gip this batter.  It’s perfect and incredibly crunchy.

Zesty Fried Okra


  • 2 C okra, in 1/4-1/2 inch slices
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1/2 C panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Canola oil, for frying
In a bowl, whisk the egg into the buttermilk and hot sauce.  Add the okra, and let is soak for 20-30 minutes.  In a separate bowl, mix together the panko, flour, paprika, and garlic powder.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a large skillet, heat 1/2 inch of canola oil.  When the oil is hot, remove okra from the buttermilk with a slotted spoon.  Toss them in the panko mixture, then add them to the skillet.  You may have to fry in batches – be careful not to overcrowd the skillet or the temperature of the oil will drop, making the okra greasy.  The okra should fry for about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the skillet when they okra have taken on a light golden-brown color.  Drain on a wire rack with paper towels underneath.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and serve with tomato and onion chutney.
Serves 6.

6 thoughts on “Zesty Fried Okra

  1. I grew up eating okra. My mom fried it just like this, but somehow, yours sounds better. She also made it in a tomato sauce which I really liked. My favorite way to eat it now is in gumbo. I truly love it. In fact, I just may have to get some now. It’s been a while!

  2. I love fried okra! What I do when having something fried, is to pair it up with other dishes that aren’t fried. It kind of makes me feel less guilty 🙂 I could be kidding myself, but oh well.

    Here’s a vegetarian platter I cooked up last time I made some fried okra.

  3. I lived in North Carolina during my elementary school years, and my favorite side for school lunch was the fried okra. I’d take my friends’ sides that didn’t want them! The only hot sauce I have is sriracha, would that work?

  4. @JMom: That’s a good plan – I like to serve them as appetizers so that the servings are smaller. Of course, when it’s just two of us, somehow it still all disappears…

    That platter looks delicious!

    @ Diana: I love fried okra, but I wasn’t too keen on it until I was a teenager. Years of good okra eating – wasted! You could definitely use the sriracha in this recipe. Just make sure you whisk it in well until it dissolves. I love that stuff. You know, it wouldn’t be bad to just have some on the side and dip the okra in it, either.

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