Okra! The vegetable, which also goes by the name of ladies fingers, may either induce feelings of love or hate in you. The lovers will probably adore its flavour and the slightly crunchy, popping texture of the large white seeds. The haters probably gag at the thought of okra’s mucilaginous texture when cut. I reckon this recipe might convert some of you haters. I mean, it’s deep fried; that’s worth a few points at least.
I adore okra. I love it in fish curry and I love it stir fried with sambal. I eat it cooked in tomato sauce and I love it sliced thinly and deep fried into crisps. One day, I even want to grow it at home as it’s a cute plant: the pointy finger pods grow upwards. However, I’d never had Southern fried okra, where the pods are cut up and coated in a cornmeal crust and then deep fried. After frying some aubergines to make Reiko‘s noodles at home, there was still enough oil to deep fry a little something on the side. Southern-style okra had been on my to-cook list for a while and okra it was going to be. Putting it together was very easy and preparing and frying it all took no longer than 10-15 minutes. And what a crunch they had! We couldn’t stop popping the little fritters and cleared the small bowlful in no time. They weren’t slimy at all.
The recipe below is for the small batch that I fried up for the two of us as a side dish. However, I wish I’d cooked ten times as much. The recipe is easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc. but I think you’d only need 1 egg for every 20 okra pods or so. Many recipes online also add some buttermilk to the egg, which I’ll try next time.
serves 1-2 as a side or snack.
10-12 large pods of okra (or double the number of small)
salt and pepper
sunflower oil for frying
This one’s an easy recipe! Clean your okra and slice them into approximately 1.5cm chunks. Beat the egg and dump all the okra pieces into the bowl with it. Stir well so that each okra bit is coated well.
In another bowl, add some cornmeal and season it well with salt and pepper (I reckon pimenton or chilli powder would be lovely here too). Use a fork to transfer the okra lumps to the cornmeal (you just want enough egg to hold that cornmeal on). Coat each lump well and set aside – they’re ready for frying.
Heat some oil for deep frying – it should be ready when a piece of okra sizzles happily in there. Fry in small batches, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.