Okra, believed to be native to native to Ethiopia, is a flowering perennial that is part of the mallow family. It was bought to the US from West Africa through the Slave trade around the beginning of the 16th century. Today it is one of the most popular vegetables (although technically a fruit) in southern cooking.
How to Make Deep Fried Okra
Okra tastes sweet and grassy, and they’re a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. One of the best thing about deep frying them, is that you don’t have to worry about them going slimy. The fruit has this mucilage (or slime) running through it which if cooked wrong, can turn an entire dish slimy.
Top and tail the okra pods then cut them into segments that are ⅓ of an inch to ¼ of an inch long and mix them into a bowl with 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of any hot sauce of your choice. Leave the oka to absorb some of the egg while you make the cornmeal mix.
Cornmeal is dried and ground corn and used as a coarse flour in many cuisines. Notably in Mexican and Native American food. Cornmeal has a nice crunchy texture when it deep-fried which compliments the firmness of the okra really well. Mix half a cup of cornmeal with one teaspoon of sea salt and half a teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper to make.
To drain the egg from the okra just pour the contents into a spider and let the egg run through the bottom. At this point you can just drop the egg washed vegetables into the seasoned cornmeal and toss to evenly coat the pieces of the okra. After that add around a cup of frying oil to a skillet over medium heat and heat it to 350°F.
Use the same spider to gently drop the cornmeal-coated okra into the hot oil. Use the spider to move the pieces of okra around to ensue they dont stick together and cook evenly. Fry them in the oil for 3 minutes then take them out of the oil and drain them on a paper towel.