Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

rose's yankee-fried okra

Recipe by
Mike Reaves
Edgewater, FL

My mom, who was born and raised in the Deep South, taught this recipe to my wife when we were first married because it was a favorite holiday traditional dish in our family since I was a kid. My wife, who is from Noo Yawk City and never fried anything besides eggs in her life, took the recipe after Mom passed away, and over the years has perfected it - to the point that Southern folks cannot believe it was actually made by a "Yankee"! It's always been a part of our family's special occasions, and I hope it will become a part of yours. Fiddle-dee-dee! The Yankees are comin'... y'all!

yield 6 - 8
prep time 45 Min
cook time 30 Min
method Pan Fry

Ingredients For rose's yankee-fried okra

  • 2-3 lb
    fresh whole okra (fresh, not frozen - if you're going to use frozen, there's no point to any of this)
  • 4-6 c
    vegetable oil (for frying - quantity depends on the size of your skillet)
  • 1 qt
    cultured buttermilk
  • 3 c
    all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 c
    yellow corn meal
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp
    garlic powder
  • 1 tsp
    onion powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

How To Make rose's yankee-fried okra

  • Fresh okra!
    The day before you're going to cook the dinner, rinse and drain your fresh okra in a colander. Cut the okra into approximately 1/2-inch thick slices, clipping off the stems. I also like to clip the tips so that each piece is consistent and uniform.
  • Soak your okra in fresh buttermilk overnight.
    Place the cut okra into a bowl of cultured buttermilk as shown. The bowl and amount of buttermilk should be of sufficient size to allow the okra to be submerged. If you have family or friends that loathe the taste of buttermilk by itself, as I do, just don't let them see this step and they'll never know - I promise! This is secret step #1: Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.
  • Breading mixture ingredients. All-purpose white flour, yellow corn meal, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
    While the okra is soaking, mix up your breading. Combine the flour and yellow corn meal in a bowl. Better to have too much than too little - remember that extra unused mixture can be stored in an airtight container for later use. It will keep for at least up to three months. This is secret step #2: Whatever amount you're making, keep the ratio of the mixture about 60%-40% in favor of the corn meal. Add the garlic powder and (optional) onion powder. My favorite is the garlic powder with parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. I go pretty easy on the salt, as I do in any of my recipes, but a bit more generous with the pepper. I also like to do this step the night before to allow the spices time to be absorbed.
  • Breading and frying your okra.
    The next day, place the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet or electric frying pan. You may not need to use this much oil; do not fill the pan more than halfway up the sides with oil. Heat to about 350 degrees. Now it's time to bread the okra. Spread out your flour/meal mixture evenly on a plate or wax paper. Take the okra and roll it your flour/corn meal mixture, coating each piece well. Some people like to set these aside to dry a bit and then roll them again for a thicker coat of breading. Carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, usually about 5-7 minutes. It will probably be necessary to fry the okra in batches, and the later batches will cook faster than the first, so watch not to overcook. If there's a secret to this step, it's that it cook evenly. If you let the okra fry too slow, it will have too much time to soak up oil; too fast and the outside is crunchy and charred while the inside is still "slimy", which most of the non-okra-eating world find objectionable. You will likely need to spend some practicing the art of frying if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • Drain fried okra on a paper towel
    Remove from oil individually as each piece is cooked. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil; let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!