Fried okra is my favorite vegetable from the womb.
Before I had eyes to see or a nose to smell or tastebuds to tickle, I'm sure it was my favorite because my mama was Southern born, too.
I've made it for years, but it was only in last year's July Southern Living that I discovered the absolute best recipe for frying okra. Wouldn't you know it–it uses the secret ingredient my grandmother always said would make any dish better:
a teaspoon of sugar
Had I just followed Dambarr's advice, I coulda been makin' okra perfection for years.
This is pure Southern delicacy. If you've never had it, now is the time to get your Paula Deen on!
Southern Living Buttermilk Fried Okra
- 1 lb fresh okra, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 3/4 cup buttermilk*
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
- Vegetable oil
1. Stir together okra and buttermilk in a large bowl. Stir together cornmeal mix and next 3 ingredients in a separate large bowl. Remove okray from buttermilk, in batches, using a slotted spoon. Dredge in cornmeal mixture, and place in a wire-mesh strainer. Shake off excess.
2. Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a large, deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 375°. Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
–> The sugar in the cornmeal coating caramelizes as the okra cooks, creating a crisp, golden crust.
God bless Southern Living. Amen.
*Note: I rarely keep buttermilk in the house so I use a substitution; to one cup of warmed milk add either:
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice OR
- 1 tablespoon of vinegar OR
- 1-3/4 tablespoons of cream of tartar
Stir and let stand 5-10 minutes.