Fried Okra or Fry Okro/Ochro (if you are Guyanese) is one of my favorite ways to eat okra/o. I love vegetables that are sautéed in fat, with minimal seasoning so that you really taste the flavor of the vegetable. This recipe is a classic Guyanese way of cooking okra/o with a little twist! If you love the taste of Fried/Sautéed Okra (ochro) but don't like all of the time and oil it takes to get rid of the slime, then this recipe is for you! Although this recipe is titled Fried Okra, please note that most Guyanese and Caribbean people often use "Fry" in place of sauté. For example a recipe labeled Fried Baigan is more often than not, sautéed baigan/eggplant. Speaking of Fried Baigan, please check out my recipe here!
Included in this Fried Okra Post:
In this post you will find tips for:
- Choosing the best okra/ochro
- Using fresh versus frozen
- Options for removing the slime from okra/ochroes
- Cooking on stove top versus roasting in the oven and air fryer
- Protein options
Choosing the Best Okra/o for this Dish
My first choice for okra/ochro is always fresh is best! I get okra from my local asian market. Sometimes if I'm lucky I can find them at Sprouts. To test if the okra is fresh snap a small piece of the tip off. If it breaks off easily and with a little snap, then it is fresh and is perfect for this recipe. If it bends and folds but doesn't snap, the okra is hard and will be hard to slice and fibrous when cooked.
Using Frozen Okra/Ochro for your Fried Okra
Sometimes I can't find fresh okra even when it is in season. Desperate times call for desperate measures and a good substitute for the fresh okra is frozen okra. Have you seen the Pictsweet whole and cut frozen okra? I don't like using the cut version because it is not sliced thin enough but if I am really desperate, like when I'm craving okra and dhal and rice, then I will buy the frozen cut okra and spend time cutting those pieces into thinner slices. I know, I know. This is a judgment free zone, so don't judge my craziness.
Preparing the Okra
I cut my okra into very thin slices, then spread them in a thin layer on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, before roasting in the oven. Lining the baking sheet with parchment paper makes it easy to scoop them up after roasting. In Guyana we simply set the cut okra out in the sun to "dry." A day or two in the equatorial heat dries all that slime up. This step made it easy to fry up (sauté) the okra into a crispy stir-fry.
Removing the slime from okra:
Most people enjoy the slimy texture of okra, but for some of it, we just can't get down with that sliminess. Here are a few ways to remove or minimize the slimy texture of okra:
- Dry sliced okra in the sun for a day or two: This may not always be an option in temperate climates or if you
- Roast the okra in the oven: Perfect for cooler months and allows you to prep your protein while the okra is roasting
- Air Fry the okra: Love how quick this option is, however you may have to do it in batches
- Lime or lemon juice to okra: A quick squeeze of lime or lemon juice while sautéing your okra helps to reduce the sliminess but does not completely eliminate it.
- Amchur (dried mango powder): This can mostly be found in Indian grocery stores or on amazon. Check out my affiliate link to see what Amchur looks like.
Oven roasting versus drying in the sun
I now live in Denver, Colorado and I do not always have the option to put my okra out in the sun. So in the winter months I started putting my thinly sliced okra on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Then roasting in the oven. 20 minutes in the oven is the equivalent of 2 days in the sun! Roasting in the oven also is great for time management because while it is roasting, I prep my protein.
Roasting in the oven is perfect for frozen okra
The oven method works particularly well with frozen okra which tends to be really slimy when defrosted. After the okra has completely defrosted (don't soak in water to defrost or it will become soggy), I slice the whole okras into thin slices and spread on a baking sheet. Just like I do with the fresh okra. I bake this for 20 minutes and then sauté for a few minutes on the stove top. The frozen okra will not get to the same level of crispness as the fresh okra but just like the fresh okra, "baking" removes all the sliminess.
Can I roast okra in the air fryer?
You absolutely can. Add some cooking spray to your air fryer basket, then add the sliced okra and another spray of your favorite cooking spray. Then 10 minutes at 450°F and toss after 5 minutes. This will give you the same results as roasting it in the oven. I've also done this with defrosted frozen okras and it works really well.
After Roasting the Fresh Okra
After roasting the fresh okra becomes slightly dehydrated and shrinks but it is still absolutely delicious, with a slight crispiness that I love in fried okra. Below you will see how the completely slime free these okra slices.
Roasting/Air Frying okra versus using Amchur (dried mango powder) or lime/lemon juice
I prefer the air fryer or oven roasting method versus adding the amchur or lime or lemon juice because it does not alter the taste of the okra. Adding these ingredients to okra does reduce and often eliminates the slime, completely but leaves a bit of a sour taste behind. It's similar to if you added a lot of tomatoes to a dish and can sometime be over powering.
Finishing Off the Fried Okra/ochroes
While the okra is baking, I prepare my onions, garlic and tomatoes (if I am using). Then I sauté those in a little bit of oil until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes are soft. Once the okra is to the desired crispiness, I remove the tray from the oven and transfer the okra slices into my sauté pan. Just a minute or two more of sautéing is needed and the okra will be the best okra you've ever made! Trust me.
Adding Protein to your fried okra/ochro
When I was growing up we didn't typically add protein directly to fried okra. The protein was cooked on the side. Fried fish and sautéed salt fish were our typical protein sides when eating fried okra. However, in many Guyanese households, tiny white belly shrimp are the most common protein paired with fried okra, and is added directly to the dish. In my Guyanese husband's household they added any and every protein directly into their fried okra/ochro and over time I started to do the same. There is no wrong way to eat okra! Here are some of my husband's favorite protein additions for fried okra:
- Sautéed Small Shrimp: Called salad shrimp in the US or white belly shrimp if you are in Guyana, these little shrimp are loaded with big seafood flavor
- Sautéed Salt fish: Use this recipe and then add the roasted okra at the end
- Stir-Fried Beef: Thinly sliced steak marinated in some all purpose seasoning, then stir-fried, works really well with this recipe.
- Fry up boneless chicken thighs: I use my boneless brown stew chicken recipe and cook it all the way down until there is no gravy, then I add the roasted okra. Here's a link to an Instagram Reel showing how I do it.
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The Printable Fried Okra Recipe:
Guyanese Fried Okra
- 2.5 lbs Fresh Okra or
- 2 Packets of Pictsweet Frozen Whole Okra
- 1 small Yellow Onion thinly sliced
- 4 cloves Garlic grated
- 2 large tomatoes diced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoons Avocado or similar oil for sautéing
- Cooking spray
- Prepare your okra!
- If using fresh okra rinse then dry your okra thoroughly before proceeding to the next step
- Next, slice off the head and the tip of the okra, then slice the remaining "body" of the okra into thin circular slices
- If using frozen okra, allow the okra to defrost completely, then use a few sheets of paper towel to pat away any moisture on the okra
- Then remove the head and the tip of the okra and slice the remaining "body" of the okra into thin circular slices
Roasting the okra
- Preheat your oven to 400°F
- Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray then place the sliced okra in a thin layer on the baking sheet. For this recipe you will need two full sized baking sheets
- Next place the baking sheet on the top rack in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until all the sliminess is gone or until you've achieved the desired crispiness
- While the okra is in the oven add the oil to a large sauté pan on medium heat and bring the oil up to temperature
- When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté until they are soft and translucent
- Then add the garlic and tomatoes (if using) and sauté until the tomatoes are soft
- When the okra is ready add the okra to the sautéed onions and tomatoes and sprinkle with the salt
- Continue to sauté for about a minute or two to bring the flavors together
- Then remove from the heat and enjoy with your favorite sides
For extra crispiness you may also spray the okra with cooking spray before baking.