It doesn’t get much more Southern than fried okra. Am I right? Last week I got a hankerin’ for some of the stuff, made some, and sat and ate it until I was about three pieces short of sick. It’s just so dang good! It’s like Southern popcorn or something.
Now, in the South there are basically two ways to do fried okra. And honestly, I love them both; I don’t really have a favorite. This particular method is what I call the “piece” method. It’s where you coat individual pieces of okra in a seasoned flour/cornmeal mixture and deep fry them.
The other method I call the “hash” or “skillet-fried” method. It is where you combine the coating and okra together and cook it stove-top in a cast iron skillet. That results in a more hash-like finished product. Find the recipe for my Old School Skillet Fried Okra here.
I much prefer this made with fresh okra, but in all honesty, frozen cut okra works really well. And a lot of the work is already done for you being that it’s been washed, trimmed, and cut into bite size pieces. You’ll just need to thaw it completely first.
This particular recipe makes some of the best fried okra I’ve ever had. Using a box of Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish-Fri Southern Style is the trick. It saves you a ton of time and expense being that all the spices and flavor is right in the mix. It’s savory and tangy with a touch of lemon and a hint of spice. The mix is great on lots of stuff, but I especially love it on okra. (And no, this isn’t sponsored by Zatarain’s.)
And while coating each piece of okra sounds daunting, it’s really not. My quick and easy method using a zip-top bag makes it super simple and crazy fast.
Regardless of whether you use fresh or frozen, if fried okra is your thing and you like a little spice, you’ve got to try this version. It’s great served with some ranch dressing or a little comeback sauce, but there’s so much flavor here, you’ll probably just want to eat it all by itself.
- 4 cups of cut okra (about 1 pound) (stems and tips discarded)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 (12-ounce) box Zatarain’s Seasoned Fish-Fri Southern Style
- vegetable or peanut oil
- Add about 3 inches of oil into a heavy bottomed dutch oven. Heat to 365°F.
- In a large bowl, soak okra in buttermilk for about 10 minutes.
- Add the Fish-Fri to a gallon size zip-top bag. Strain okra from the buttermilk and place it in the bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat it in the breading.
- Working in batches, carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown - 3 to 5 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature.
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.
* If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. The values do not include optional ingredients or when ingredients are added to taste. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.