Friday, October 15, 2010

Pan-Fried Okra

I’m a born-and-raised California girl, and these days, I live in Washington State. But for a number of years, I lived in Texas. Sugar Land, to be precise. And when you live Texas, you’re going to run across okra on a pretty regular basis. I mean okay, yes, I had seen it before, but it wasn’t a staple of restaurant food in California or Washington.

In Texas, it’s a pretty common item on the menu. Fried okra. The first time I ordered it, it felt exotic, if not exactly sophisticated. I don’t think you can feel like a sophisticate while eating fried okra. I’m not even sure what wine pairing I’d recommend, except maybe Cooter’s Box O’ Fermented Grape Juice.

Last week, I saw okra at the grocery store. The thing is, I don’t like okra, but my husband does. As I’m a loving wife, I brought it home. Where it sat in my fridge for three days. Taunting me. Every time I opened the fridge, I heard the mockery: Who are you kidding? You don’t know how to cook okra!

(Okra is the mockingest of all the vegetables.)

So I turned to the web and discovered this for Okra Curry. I didn’t want to do a curry, but I used that recipe as inspiration for my own variation. No recipe is sacred!

Pan-Fried Okra

1 lb fresh okra, sliced into ¼-inch rounds

1 T olive oil

1 t all-purpose flour

½ t garlic salt

1/8 t black pepper

Microwave the okra for three minutes. While it’s cooking, mix the flour, salt, and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the okra and cook for about five minutes. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the okra. I put the flour in a mesh strainer to get an even dusting. Cook the okra, stirring frequently, for two more minutes.

My husband says it’s delicious, but I’m still not a fan.


  1. I'm with you on not being a fan. But my husband is from Alabama and he could eat it at every meal. (yuck, lol). I'll hafta try this recipe next week and see if he's a fan. :-)

  2. I love fried okra but don't eat fried foods much. This looks wonderful and like a great way to use up the pods off the plant that mysteriously appeared in my husband's garden this year. We've been tossing them because we didn't know what to do with them. Tonight I'll pan-fry 'em up and we'll enjoy 'em with a big old Mason jar full of Cooter's! Thanks!

  3. It's weird to post a recipe for food I didn't love, so I thought about pretending. But then I was worried that one of my wonderful readers would surprise me by showing up at a signing with fried okra.

    Summer, LOL!!! A mason jar of Cooter's. Now that's class! LOL

  4. It's really good coated in cornmeal, too!

  5. By big question is which grocery store up here actually had okra in????? We love it. I pan fry it any chance I get, which in WA is very very rare. Seriously, where did yu find it?

  6. I LOVE okra. I couldn't eat it every day, but I really really love it. I never ate it before I was 13 or 14, but even when I smelled it cooking, I knew I would like it...

    Thing is, you have to deal with the slime, and yes, it is a slimy vegetable. You Must cook it with either oil or acid. Okra and tomatoes is really good stuff. (Okra sauteed in a pan with tomatoes & onions.) You can even add corn and squash and have a yummy vegetable gumbo. (Lemon juice will cut the slime on your hands.)

    Gumbo, btw, REQUIRES okra. Gumbo is an African word for okra. Or the other way round--anyway, it's one of the thickeners in a gumbo.

    And yeah, this is the way I usually cook it, except I use cornmeal, as my fella's gluten free. (And I like the cornmeal better, because it's crunchy.)

    I'm told you shouldn't cook it in cast iron because the iron makes it turn black. I still cook it in cast iron anyway.

    And Llano Winery's Sweet Red wine would be really good with fried okra. (My favorite red wine, even more than Gnarly Head Zinfandel) (Yeah, my taste buds are pretty darn unsophisticated.)

  7. Maureen, if I liked okra, I would try cornmeal next time, but since I don't...

    Scraplady, I found it at Uwajimaya, the Seattle store. I was surprised because I don't see it often, either.

    Gail, the sliminess does turn me off. Cutting it is gross. But I could probably get past that if I liked the flavor more. But as I said, my husband says this recipe is really delicious. Okay, okay. For his sake, I might try it with cornmeal next time.

  8. Susan still mix at least a tiny bit of flour with cornmeal and it will stick to okra much better. I also use okra when I make stew. We don't like it real liquidy and can't use flour in our house so I add okra,that slimy stuff is a natural thickener and okra cook in stuff pretty much disappears...