Okra connoisseurs are like pound cake lovers – everyone has their favorite recipe. Around the Southern Living offices, it’s this Nutty Okra recipe, which gets added crunch from pulse-chopped peanuts. So what is this little green veggie and how do Southerners eat it? Our Test Kitchen has the answers.
- Okra – slender, green, fuzzy, fingerlike pods containing numerous small, edible seeds.
- It’s available fresh all year long in the South, but for the rest of the country, it’s at its peak during the summer months. You can always get okra canned or frozen, although they yield entirely different results.
- When choosing okra, our Test Kitchen experts recommend the smaller ones – they’re more tender.
- Okra has a mild flavor, but when cooked in liquid, it gives off a viscous substance that thickens the liquid. That’s why it’s such a key ingredient in gumbo.
- You can also fry it, steam it, or grill it as a vegetable.
- To coat okra for frying, our Test Kitchen recommends getting the vegetable “slimy” first. There are two ways to do this: You can pour boiling water over sliced okra in a colander or cut it, salt it, and let it stand for 20 minutes. The okra will get sticky and it’ll be much easier to coat it. The sliminess also means you don’t have to use an egg wash (which leads to thicker, breadier coating) and your final product will be more crispy!
- For this nutty recipe or any time you coat with nuts, remember that they burn quickly, so watch the okra as you fry it to prevent it from turning to a crisp.
- In general, avoid overcooking okra. They’re done in 5 to 10 minutes, so if you’re preparing a long-simmering dish, add it toward the end of the cooking time.
Test Kitchen Tip: If you love boiled peanuts in the summer, you’ll love this nutty okra recipe. Grab an RC Cola and enjoy this snack in true Southern style.
What’s your go-to okra recipe?
Can’t get enough of our Southern Staples? Get all the recipes you need in our 100 Ways to Cook Southern slideshow.