What Kind of Mother Doesn’t Fry Okra?

September 19, 2012


Every now and then, you just need a little treat.  Sometimes you’ve had a hard day, or you may have accomplished a major goal.  Perhaps you made an A+ on a difficult test.  I tend to reward myself with something from Page and Palette, but my children go for ice cream at Mr. Gene’s Beans.

So earlier this week, when my son completed a major task with flying colors,  (if I say so myself)  I said, “Name your treat”, and was caught off guard when he requested, “Fried okra!”

Okra - Leslie Anne Tarabella

Not the first thing most kids back on the playground would wish for.

I actually tried to talk him into the ice cream, but he wanted the okra.  Ice cream only takes five minutes to run in and get, but fried okra takes – forever.

Cutting it up, dipping it, breading it, frying it, draining it . . .  and then the entire stove is covered with little grease marks. If you haven’t ruined your shirt – exactly where the apron doesn’t cover, you’ll have hot popping grease land on your arm.   I like fried fish and chicken too, but rarely make it at home because of the same hassles.

Fried Okra - Leslie Anne Tarabella
A mess of okra in the cast iron skillet. Literally.
I know, there’s too much in there.  Use smaller batches.

I’m not lazy, just efficient with my time. (if I used smiley faces, one would go here.) Oh, and I also hate to clean the kitchen.

Grandmother fried okra at almost every summer meal, which at her house was “dinner” and “supper.” Her kitchen never seemed to be messy in the least, but when I fry something, it gets everywhere. Paula Deen has a built in fryer which would be both a dream and temptation.  My Daddy has an outdoor deep fryer for fish and turkeys, as do many Southern men, who only cook if there is an element of danger, hence the giant, outdoor cauldron of boiling oil.

Fried Okra - from Leslie Anne Tarabella
The finished product.  Mmm Mmm!

But when your sweet child wants fried okra, you fry the okra. I mean, when he grows up, I don’t want him telling his wife I wouldn’t fry okra for him.  What kind of mother is that?

I figured I was overdue cooking up a good batch, so I forged ahead, and if I say so myself, it turned out de-lic-ious!!! Clean up was a predictable pain in the neck, but it was well worth the effort.  The summer veggie was so good, crunchy on the outside, and tender on the inside.

I know at least two of my friends who read this who have never cooked fried okra, and one has never eaten it. Amazing we’re friends, right?  So just for those two, here’s the recipe:

Fried Okra

After washing approx. 1 pound of fresh okra, cut into bite-size round pieces, discarding tips.  Mix together 2 eggs in a bowl.  Add okra pieces and stir to coat.  (some people add a dash of Tabasco to the eggs.) 

In a shallow dish, mix together 1 cup of cornmeal, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, salt and pepper to taste. Plop the okra pieces into the cornmeal mixture in small batches and toss to coat. 

Heat vegetable oil in deep pan (between 370° and 375°).  My Mom showed me the trick of placing a kernel of popcorn in the oil.  When it pops – it’s ready!  Fry the okra, turning until lightly brown and cooked through.  Drain on paper towels and serve while hot. 

Consider yourself rewarded for a job well done!


  • Looks delicious. My mom served this often while I was growing up and before the empty nest here I served it often. Now, not so much, like you say what a mess to clean up……………

  • […] hot or cold.  Interesting texture–not crunchy or slimy.   Makes 6 or 8 servings.     Click here to read my original story of how much we love fried okra. And good luck to you in all of your […]

  • That sounds sooooo good! Now that I live in the Midwest, I have to go to Cracker Barrel for the okra, cause I don’t like to clean up either and no one else here eats it.

  • As you can see, I’m checking out posts from the past. You said cut off the tips and I agree. I was so shocked when my sister-in-law (a conversion from the north) fried those tips. She could quickly see that wasn’t such a good idea—they were dark brown and bitter.

  • okra can be slimy and gross but it can also be downright delicious! fried okra is one of my favorite sides and it saddens me that some people have never tasted it!

  • I have to say I have never tried Orka but it sure looks good. I have seen it in a few specialty stores in the cities but on a farm in Ontario Canada I think it is not the norm.
    I think I will go and find it to try. B

  • I confess I have never eaten fried okra, but now I would like to try it!

    Thanks so much for sharing at Rural Thursdays this week. xo

  • Love me some fried okra!
    My mother has tried for years and years to duplicate my grandmother’s recipe. I think we as a family have finally agreed, it can’t be done..at least not exactly like “Nana” made it.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  • Yum. I don’t fry Okra nearly often enough. Or, for that matter, Squash and Zucchini. I was going to Monday night, but I realized that my vegetables had been placed on the top shelf and, therefore, had accidentally frozen.


    Now I feel the need to go fry something.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well done! (pun intended – okra & article)
    Your Grandmother would be very proud of you.

  • Fried okra is one of our favorite summer foods. But, I agree with you about the hassle. It is a big one! Thanks for visiting me!

  • You brought back great memories. I love fried Okra, or “Okry” as it is sometimes called around here. It is great fried, in soup, in gumbo, and also Brunswick stew. It has plenty of fiber too!

    • Oh my goodness!! I *love*fried okra!!! Yes, the cooking oil makes an awful mess…but the reward of the flavor is so so good!!!! And you brought a long forgotten memory up to the surface that my wonderful grandma used to say…”okry” is what we called here in South-Central Oklahoma. We had 4 huge gardens plowed by a mule, and fried okry was a side dish often requested for supper! Thank you 🙂

      • Leslie Anne says:

        I’ve heard “okry” many times too! When I cook okra, my boys say, “It smells like Granny’s house!”

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    %d bloggers like this: