Country Fried Okra

Fire Safety Admin
2003/12/22 20:06:33
We not longer have Okra available from our garden, however we have frozen about 50 bags of the wonderful vegatable.

Mamaw Smith cooks it for dinner every Sunday with some cornmeal and bacon grease.

I personally hve found it wonderful with everything she serves. I even put gravy over it.

My northern friends mostly have not experienced Okra.

I would appreciate your thoughts from our northern posters on the availability and cooking of Okra.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 08:05:20
Here in Boston I always look at Okra and it always looks bad. I always want to try it, but hardly ever do.

I do eat it in a lot of indian dishes though, I like the taste a lot, but know that I am not getting the full effect.
Kristi S.
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 08:18:52
This Northern girl loves Southern food -including okra.
I refused to eat it as a kid - my New York dad loved it - still does - but now, I can safely say I enjoy it. I like it fried best; cooked other ways, that goo tends to freak me out (sloppy eating!)

I have some leftover frozen okra and I plan to make some Charleston Okra Soup with it...
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 08:29:22
Okra is actually a common vegetable in Southeast and South Asia.

We generally either stir-fry is with chilli paste/shrimp paste/garlic or, more famously, we put them in our curries, particularly vegetarian curries where we frequently mix more than 5 types of veggies together in a coconut-milk based curry or in fish-head curry which is sour and hot.

We also split it, get rid of the seeds inside and stuff it with ground fishmeat before blanching it and serving it with other stuffed vegetables (we stuff ground fishmeat between eggplant slices--and deep fry them before dunking them in broth--bittergourd slices, tofu squares, chili peppers etc). We serve it with all sorts of different sauces and condiments for dipping ranging from chilli sauce to sweet sauce (depends on the hawker selling it--ah Mr and Mrs Stern: We Asians invented roadfood since centuries ago when we had our hawkers, stalls and food-sellers that carried their wares from house to house selling local delicacies piping hot!) We call this dish Yong Tao Foo.

Everything is, of course, served with fluffy white jasmine/Southeast Asian rice

Okra is wonderful! I love it (never had it deep-fried though...)
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 08:36:17

We grow the Burgundy Okra plants each year. Like the bush beans, they green up as the pods cooks, but meantime the plants and the flowers are beautiful and add a splotch of color to the basic green of the squash bed.
In soups, and especially batter-dipped and fried, Okra is a favorite in-season veggie in our home.
Poverty Pete
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 18:00:01
I stopped in Lebanon, Tn. today and had lunch at the Snow White drive-in. They served good fried okra, not that frozen kind. Snow White is a real blast-from-the-past kind of drive-in, right out of the fifties.
Fire Safety Admin
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 18:15:43
PovertyPete: I travel that route and I have never seen the place you went to for the Okra. I intend on doing a more careful serach my next trip west on I-40

Thanks for the tip

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Poverty Pete
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 20:24:14
Snow White is on West Main, about a mile from the town square. I've driven past it many times, but today was the first time I stopped in. It won't be the last. They had several homemade pies, but what caught my attention was the walnut milk shake, a rather unusual offering, since the other flavors were the standard choc, vanilla and strawberry.
Poverty Pete
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 21:35:48
BTW, there is no sign in front of the drive-in. That's one of the reasons it took me so long to stop. I wasn't sure it was really a restaurant. Next door, there is a white cinderblock building that has "Snow White Bar-B-Q" on the side, but that is just their smokehouse, not a retail outlet. When I said the place is from the fifties, it's original, not retro. No fancy neon, no roller skating waitresses, just good oldfashioned food.
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/23 22:51:05
OK, Sundancer, you wanted input from Northern much more north can you get than Alaska? We have tons of Okra here in the summer, I blanch it and freeze as much as possible, trying to find room in the freezer between all the halibut, salmon, Dolly Varden and trout. And don't forget that there will be pheasants coming, moose meat, God knows what else.

When we were at Nick 'n Jims in Bham there were three sides: okra, beans, coleslaw. We got one of each. The okra was best by far.

It's indespensible in gumbo IMHO and delicious as a side dish stewed with onions, garlic and tomatoes. Okra ROCKS!
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/24 03:11:01
Central Kentucky restaurants rarely offer up okra. Actually, I've only encountered fried okra locally, in chain cafeterias and in one seafood restaurant's fish gumbo. The cafeteria okra was the pre-prepared frozen kind and it lacked flavor.

When in the South, okra is one of the foods I order every chance I get.

Added to my Be A Better Person List: Search for home grown okra at next summer's farmer's market and start frying it up at home!
Fire Safety Admin
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/24 04:59:16
In my opinion, Okra is a true side order. Mamaw Smith fried some in cornmeal last evening and brought it over. I woke up about 2:00AM to get a Diet Coke out of the frige. I opened the door and the okra was stareing me in the face. I could not resist. Out of the frige it came and down it went. I believe I could enjoy this veggie anytime of the day.

I like it with ketchup, I like it with gravy, I like it nakked, I like it with salt and I like it with Canadian.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/26 09:47:10
O.K. you guys I am convinced. I would love to try it. I have never truly had okra. Yes I have had it as part of other dishes, stews etc. but never on its own. What is a simple way to cook it? If I don't find it fresh, do you prepare frozen okra differently than fresh? I am in Northwest Jersey and you just do not see okra very much or at all on menus in these parts.
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/27 02:37:02
Paul - You can get some decent fried okra in Milwaukee's soul food restaurants. They also grow it locally and sell it at farmers' markets, but the growing season is short.

Double Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/27 02:45:01
An excerpt from page 173 of Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken by Ronni Lundy (1991):


My Uncle Jack wouldn't touch okra - swore its viscous juices made him sick, and refused to have a bite no matter how hard his okra-eating relatives tried to persuade him.

One day Jack showed up at our house at dinnertime, though, when my mother had just cooked up a big pot of okra succotash and hot water cornbread. Distracted no doubt by the fresh corn and tomatoes, Jack didn't realize the plump green chunks of vegetable in the stew he was shoveling in was the dreaded okra.

Smacking his lips, he downed two big bowls before he turned to my mother and said, "Sis, what was that?"

When she told him, he slapped down his fork and said, "Dammit! You know I can't eat okra!"

Double Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/27 04:53:31
Howard, fried okra is pretty fine as Paul's testimonial proves, but another good way to enjoy okra's goodness is in a succotash. I've not had this dish nearly enough, but I really like it.

Here's a recipe for okra succotash from Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken, Ronni Lundy's fine cookbook of southern country cooking (1991):

Okra Succotash

This dish is best made in the heart of summer when tomatoes are bursting with juice, corn is full flavored, and little tender pods of okra are tucked into the corners of the produce stand. Sure, you can make it in the winter with frozen corn and okra and canned tomatoes and it will taste pretty good, but in the summer it is sublime.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup (3 stalks) chopped green onion
1/4 cup minced celery
2 ears small kernel yellow corn
1 1/2 cups chopped okra
1 large or 2 medium peeled tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper

Heat the oil on a medium-low flame in a large skillet with a lid. Add the green onion and celery. Cut the corn from the stalk * and when the onion and celery are softened, add corn to the skillet and stir. Then add okra that has had its stems removed and been cut into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Chop tomatoes and add to the skillet with all their juice, then if the mixture looks very dry, add a tablespoon or 2 of water (the dryness will depend on how milky the corn and juicy the tomatoes are). Add salt and pepper to taste, stir everything well, turn heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the pan. The corn and okra juices will make a very thick natural sauce. Served hot, it's especially fine with hot water cornbread. Enough for 4.

* directions for cutting corn off the cob from the recipe for Creamed Corn (page 158):

The real secret to creamed corn's unforgettable taste is in the way the corn is cut from the cob. Too big a kernal results in a skillet of corn that is too tough and not creamy enough.

Too cream corn correctly, you have to use a small, sharp knife. With it you cut down the length of the shucked and silked corncob, taking just the tops off the fresh, raw kernels. After you've cut the corn all around like that, you take a small kitchen spoon, turn its back toward your face, and scrape down and around the cob again, this time scraping out all the rest of the corn and its milk, too. If the corn is really milky, you can use your hand to squeeze the rest of the juice out if you like.

Fire Safety Admin
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/27 15:28:40
Howard8: The easiest way and the best way to serve okra is to use cornmeal to coat it and fry it in bacon or sausage grease. I can make a meal of just that. It is also good later on in the evening with a drink or out of the frige after it has cooled down.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/29 09:28:35
Thanks for the recipes. I am going to try it fried first. Hopefully I will find some fresh okra in the supermarket.
Lone Star
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/29 10:08:23
Paul - enjoyed your "ode to okry".
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/29 10:54:50
It is very difficult to find good fried okra in new england. When I was younger, I spent 6 years living in Florida and 9 years living in Texas. Of course, finding good fried okra in either state was as easy as it is hard here. Even most of the cafeterias do a pretty good job. Done right (fresh from someones garden, cornmeal, pan drippings or peanut oil) fried okra is heavenly, one of my favorite foods. I have had decent fried okra in 2 places in Boston: Bob the Chef is a soul food landmark in Boston, and their okra was very good, ordered with smothered chicken, collards and mac and cheese. Also, Redbones barbeque in Davis Sq. in Somerville has good fried okra. Redbones is the genuine artice too as far as barbecue. It might not win Best of Texas, but it wouldn't be out of place in a taste test somewhere between Taylor and Lockhart. db
RE: Country Fried Okra 2003/12/29 12:26:45
Gotta agree with dbear, Redbones has good Q, great fried okra and awesome collard greens, fried catfish and pecan pie. Best seat in the house is at the counter, overlooking the kitchen........they keep passing you tasty morsels while you're waiting for your meal (and beer) to arrive.
Junior Burger
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/01/08 12:32:48

If you can't find okra in the "regular" grocery store, try an Asian specialty grocery store (Indian, Vietnamese, etc).
They generally always have fresh okra.
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/01/08 15:15:36
Our supermarkets in northwest NJ don't have fresh okra in the winter. I will try Indian shops and thanks for the tip jdg68.
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/01/13 09:09:55
I love okra fried, but i adore pickled okra just as much. come to think of it i like it in gumbo and in soup as well. the slime doesnt bother me at all, and there are ways around it.
5 pounds okra
8 cups vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup kosher salt
8 cloves garlic
8 or more dried or fresh chiles
Wash okra, leaving top cam and removing excess stem. Combine vinegar, water and kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Drop okra into boiling mixture (and chiles if you're using fresh chiles) and bring to a rolling boil. Place in hot, pint-sized sterilized jars. Add one clove of garlic and, if you're using dried instead of fresh chiles, one or more dried hot chiles (depending on how hot you want them) to each jar. Seal while hot. Let stand 8 - 10 weeks before serving
Fire Safety Admin
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/01/13 09:57:34
The pickled okra is especially good in a bloody Mary. Mrs. Uglesich makes them that way at their restaurant in new Orleans.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/01/13 12:15:54
I've had pickled green bean, pickled asparagus spear, boiled shrimp, olives etc. in a bloody Mary but the best by FAR is the pickled okra!
Ort. Carlton.
Filet Mignon
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/02/11 23:54:19
Once before here somewhere I raved about the fried okra I once had in a sadly-gone cafe in Stockbridge, Georgia - I described it as something like "so tender it leapt at the fork like lemmings jumping off a cliff." Maybe I exaggerate a tad, but I do so only very, very slightly... now, dear folks - that was some m-i-g-h-t-y good okra!
I had some earlier this week that runs it an awfully close second. Patrick at The Normaltown Cafe' made up some as a trial: he'd never done it before. He told me he used absolutely fresh oil and fresh okra. What he ended up with was not uniformly breaded, which is no problem: I care about what fried okra tastes like more than what it looks like. I looked, smelled, even listened, and then I bit in. NOT A WHET OF GREASINESS! And not only that, but the inside of every piece was moist. I ended up eating three helpings of it.
"I think I'm getting the hang of it," he admitted, smiling as I slowly savored his handiwork. No sewage, Sherlock!
If it's good enough for me to feel obligated to post about here, it's GOOD. I'm prone to ramble sometimes, but when I report on food, I'm never gonna waste a nanosecond of anyone's time. I can't wait to see how subsequent batches turn out. Keep it coming, Patrick!
Okramentally Yours, Ort. Carlton in Well-Fed Athens, Georgia.
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/06/01 17:22:40
the best way is once again , the easiest way . just cut up about two lbs. of nice tender pods , and toss them into a skillet ( cast iron is ok , but it doesn't need to be ) with just a little bit of oil , and "cook it 'til the slime is gone" . the okra will bet a lovely brown edge , and is absolutley THE BEST way to eat okra ... , ok , there's okra & tomatoes , okra & shrimp , okra & ...
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/06/03 09:34:32
The only place I found deep fried Okra in connecticut was Uncle Willy's BBQ. (See Roadfood review) Not finding it anywhere else in my travels outside CT, I have no idea how it compares with other recipies. All I do know is I like it a lot! Then again, it's been said that you can deep fry a **** and it will taste good.
RE: Country Fried Okra 2004/06/20 14:27:34
Love, love, love fried okra! Around here, the only place I've seen it is Cracker Barrel (and I'm not much of a fan of CB).

Occasionally, I'll buy some fresh okra, slice it, dip it in seasoned cornmeal, and bake it. If you spray it with Pam or similiar product, the cornmeal gets crunchy, and it's like ersatz deep fried stuff. I don't own a deep fryer, or I'd probably make it the fattening way.

I don't mind the taste of unbreaded okra, but the "snot" factor is kind of gross.

If anyone knows where I could get good fried okra in this (greater Baltimore) area, please advise!!