Plate 1. Crispy battered, flour-rolled okra. Few things make an Ozark summer better.
There is cornmeal-rolled fried okra. There is flour-rolled fried okra. And then there is Miss Shirley’s Fried Okra. This recipe calls for includes homemade pancake batter and a cast iron skillet, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
- 3 cups sliced okra (or more)
- 1 cup flour (or more)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 cup milk (or more)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat egg, milk and vegetable oil. Gently add egg mixture to flour mixture, whisking just until smooth. You do need a fairly thin batter, so add more milk if needed. Add vegetable oil to cast iron skillet, heating to medium heat. Drop okra slices into batter. Pass into plate of flour and gently toss to cover. Add okra slices to hot oil and fry until golden brown (about five minutes per side), turning once. Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Salt and serve at once.
Plate 2. Three cups sliced okra is a good amount to start, but you will have enough batter for more okra if you like. Be sure the okra pods are tender and not spiny.
Plate 3. Mixing the egg, milk and vegetable oil separately helps to get just the right consistency of pancake batter.
Plate 4. Gently whisk batter until it looks like this. You want it smooth but not beaten too much. The baking powder causes the bubbles to appear.
Plate 5. An ideal batter dipping station. The cast iron skillet with hot oil is just to the right, ensuring a smooth workflow.
Plate 6. Be sure to use enough milk in the batter to produce a smooth consistency.
Plate 7. Dunking the battered okra slices in flour is critical for a tender but crispy finish.
Plate 8. You can use your fingers or a fork, but either way, gently toss the okra in flour until well coated.
Plate 9. The okra need about five minutes in hot oil per side. Be sure to use a cast iron skillet.
Originally published August 13, 2012. Photography by Joshua Heston. Okra cooking by Dale Grubaugh.