There are so many different ways to work with okra. Serve it battered and deep-fried, pickled, or just use it to thicken up a hearty soup.
What many people dislike though is that slimy texture that often comes hand in hand with using this ingredient.
It’s an ingredient that benefits hugely from fast cooking at a high temperature, and so you need a solid skillet that heats up fast, retains that heat, and spreads it evenly around the cooking surface.
Fortunately, there’s a great method for making grease-free okra and I think you’ll love the results.
Here’s everything you need to know.
(My home cookware guide contains plenty more tutorials and buying tips!)
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Recipe For Frying Okra
There are three important steps for frying okra:
- Preparing the okra itself.
- Getting the pan ready.
- Cooking the contents quickly and evenly.
Step #1 – Prepare Your Okra
If you’ve grown your own okra, you’ll first of all need to make sure it’s ripe. Grab an okra tip from your latest batch, and try snapping it. If it’s breaks cleanly and easily, it’s good to go!
If the okra is very hard to cut through, then it’s probably gone old. Better to discard it and grab a fresh bunch from the store.
If everything’s fine – or you’ve bought fresh from the store – just grab your best kitchen knife and a cutting board.
- First, chop the thin end of the okra off, and then slice along the length of it into pieces that are around 0.5 inches in thickness.
- Chop the stem end off and discard it.
(Quick Tip: If you’re into preserving food at home, consider keeping the smaller sized okras for pickling. They’re ideal for the job, and less fiddly to chop too!)
Step #2 – Prepare Your Skillet
Now you’ve prepared your okra, it’s time to set up the pan. This bit’s really important if you want to avoid slimy okra.
The trick is to cook it quickly and at a high heat, with just a little bit of oil. For that reason you’ll also want to have a window open in your kitchen – these things can get smoky!
- Place your skillet on the stovetop and add a smaller amount of shortening or oil than usual.
- Turn the heat up high and wait for the oil to melt a little and spread.
- Once your skillet has started to smoke just a little, toss in the okra you prepared.
Step #3 – Fry The Okra Fast
When the okra hits the skillet it should start to sizzle right away if you’ve hit a high enough temperature.
- After 30 seconds, start tossing the okra using a suitable utensil.
- From here on out, toss the okra every 5 seconds or so, to stop anything burning – we’re working at a high heat, after all.
- Keep your eyes on the skillet and watch out for any pieces that haven’t flipped, and look a different color from the rest. Make the effort to turn these pieces individually.
- When the okra has started to brown evenly and is just beginning to shrivel, take it off the heat!
That’s a really effective, tried and tested way of skillet-frying okra without ending up with an unpleasant and slimy texture.
The trick really is to use a very small amount of grease and cook the okra faster using a higher temperature.