Who knew? Try frying whole okra pod

Published 12:58 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

I love fried okra, but have never fried the whole pod. Usually in restaurants it is always cut into 1 inch slices and fried. When I saw an article on frying the whole pod and without a deep fryer I was truly taken in.

Okra is a polarizing vegetable. The little pod, with its sticky, seedy interior, has its loyal fans and outspoken haters. Like fellow Southern staples, black-eyed peas, yams, and rice, okra was introduced to the region in the eighteenth century when slave ships bound for the Americas carried it across the Atlantic, where it thrived in the heat and humidity of Southern summers. And the heat of this Southern summer has arrived.

When frying, roasting, or grilling okra, look for small-to-medium-sized pods, since they are more tender and have smaller seeds. Once a pod exceeds 4 inches, it is best used as a thickening agent in gumbo or stew. While some cooks instinctively remove the caps of okra, they’re perfectly edible—though in this recipe, they are sliced off before whole-frying the pods for a well-cooked interior. A soak in buttermilk ensures the cornmeal-flour breading will stick to the okra. For less mess, use one hand to toss the pods in the buttermilk, and the other to toss them in the dry ingredients. Be careful when tossing them in the hot oil. You may want to use tongs or a mesh skimmer. To avoid spatter, lower one end into the oil, pause briefly, then drop the whole pod in. These are delicious and even better when served with your favorite remoulade.

From ‘The Local Palate’ June-July 2017.

Skillet-Fried Okra


1 pound fresh okra, preferably small pods (They are in season so even if you don’t have them in the garden you should be able to get nice fresh small ones.)

Buttermilk, enough to cover pods

½ cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups neutral oil


  1. Prep okra, heat oil

Rinse okra and pat dry, Cut stems from pods. Pour oil into a cast-iron skillet, being careful not to fill more than half way to top, and begin heating to 375 degrees.

  1. Buttermilk soak

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, soak okra in enough buttermilk to cover.

  1. Toss, toss, toss

Working in batches, remove okra from buttermilk and place in dry ingredients. Using your dry hand or tongs, toss okra to coat.

  1. Drop okra

Gently lower okra into the 375-degree oil. To avoid splatter, place end of okra in oil and pause briefly before dropping whole pod in.

  1. Fry till golden brown

Fry okra for 6 minutes or until golden brown, occasionally turning with a mesh skimmer or spoon. Larger pieces may need additional time.

  1. Drain and serve

Remove from oil and drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Salt to taste, and serve hot.


They are good as is, but a remoulade will just do the trick.