“Fried” Okra or Fry Okro as it is called in Guyana, 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/o 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, try my recipe here!
Choosing the Right Okra/o for this Dish
My first choice for okra/o is always fresh okra. 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 snaps 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.
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. In Guyana we set the okra out in the sun to “dry.” This step removed the sliminess of the okra and made it easy to sauté the okra into a crisp stir-fry.
Since I now live in Denver I don’t have the option to put my okra out in the sun, year round. In the winter months I put my okra on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray. Then I put it in the oven for 20 minutes and it is completely cooked and slime free. All that is needed is for it to be tossed together with your seasoning and your perfect fried okra is ready! If you are adding protein to your dish, you could cook your protein while the okra is “baking” then add the okra after the protein is fully cooked. If you time it just right everything will be ready at the same time.
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), then 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.
After Baking the Fresh Okra
After “baking” the fresh okra becomes slightly dehydrated and shrinks but it is still absolutely delicious, with a slight crispiness that I love in fried okra. See below to see how 100% slime free these okra slices are.
Finishing Off the Fried Okra
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.
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The Printable Fried Okra Recipe
- About 2.5 lbs of fresh okra, or
- 2 Packets of Pictsweet Frozen Whole Okra
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, grated
- 2 large tomatoes, diced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2-3 tablespoons of avocado or similar oil for sautéeing
- 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
- 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.
Fried Okra is delicious on its own or when paired with these yummy protein dishes