One of my favorite comfort foods from my childhood is deep fried okra. I can still remember going over to my grandmother’s house when I was young and eating fried okra by the plate full. Anyone with with family from the South will probably agree that this is a staple favorite that pairs great with fried catfish, mac & cheese and any other traditional southern fare. Now days, I skip the mac & cheese and grill or bake my fish, but the okra is still my fav!
A little bit about okra…
Summer, when okra is in season, is the best time take advantage of fresh okra, using it for gumbos and soups or frying it up as I will explain below. Believe it or not, okra belongs to the same family as hibiscus and cotton and likely came to the U.S. from Africa centuries ago.
Okra is packed with fiber and contains nearly 10% of your daily recommended levels of B6 and folate. For only 33 calories per serving, this super veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals, including calcium. It’s also known for its anti-diabetic and lipid lowering benefits.
Traditional fried okra recipe make-over…
Fried okra is traditionally fried in vegetable oil, which has pro-inflammatory effects in our bodies. In an effort to stave of inflammation and keep this recipe as healthy as possible, I swapped out vegetable oil for expeller pressed coconut oil. The expeller-pressed version of coconut oil is tasteless so will not contribute to any wacky coconut undertones that might make this dish less appealing. I also added a dash of cayenne pepper to the breading which adds some heat and excitement to this dish. You are more than welcome to experiment with other herbs and spices that are familiar to you.
Enjoy the recipe and leave your comments below!
Coconut Oil Fried Okra
- 20 pods okra, fresh
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1-1/2 cups cornmeal, fine
- 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- dash cayenne pepper(or to taste)
- 1 cup expeller-pressed coconut oil
Soak okra in egg for 5-10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, and spices.
Heat 1/2 of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Dredge okra in cornmeal mixture doing your best to coat evenly. Carefully spread a single layer of okra in the hot oil. You will likely have to do this in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your skillet. Stir continuously. Reduce heat to medium when the okra begins to brown. Continue to cook until golden.
Remove okra from pan and cool on a paper towel so as to absorb extra oil.
Add remaining coconut oil as needed to skillet and continue to cook remaining okra one batch at a time.
Enjoy immediately. Okra can be refrigerated and reheated, but will taste the best when fresh.