slimy and silky when cooked, particularly in a stew-like dish.
However, okra can be fried into a crispy consistency, which is preferred by those who don’t like the slimy texture.
If anything, fried okra is now a highly popular addition to many dishes, and is often served as a substitute for fried meat or fish.
Okra isn’t exactly expensive or hard to find in grocery stores, but it’s less available in winter, when the okra is imported rather than grown fresh.
Still, it’s not the cheapest vegetable out there, so you’ll want to know exactly what you’re paying for if you intend to fry it.
So, what does fried okra taste like? Here’s everything to know about fried okra, including what it tastes like, and how best to cook it.
What Is Fried Okra?
Firstly, let’s take a look at what fried okra actually is. While technically a fruit, okra is cooked as a vegetable and enjoyed across the world, but particularly in Southern, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines.
It is native to Ethiopia but grown worldwide in the right conditions. It is often referred to as “lady’s finger” due to the long, finger-like shape.
When cooked, okra becomes slimy, making it an interesting feature in a dish to say the least. A lot of people dislike the slimy texture.
Luckily for them, however, okra is commonly fried to stop the vegetable from turning slimy. It is most commonly covered in buttermilk and then deep-fried until it is golden brown.
What Does Fried Okra Taste Like?
If you’ve ever had raw okra, you’ll be surprised to know that fried okra and raw okra taste very different. Raw okra, or even cooked okra that hasn’t been fried, is mild and slightly grassy.
It’s a unique flavor that you can’t find in other vegetables, though it is sometimes compared to green beans or eggplant when it comes to flavor.
The texture of raw okra, however, gets the most attention. When raw or cooked quickly, okra is crunchy and somewhat refreshing. When cooked for a long time, the crunchy texture breaks down into tenderness, resulting in a silky texture.
Fried okra, on the other hand, is less grassy than regular okra. Most of the flavor will derive from how you prepare and cook the fried okra. For example, if you fry it in buttermilk, it will have a sweeter, creamier taste.
The texture of fried okra, as expected, is far crispier than regularly cooked okra. The nature of frying the okra and batter in deep oil makes for a crunchy texture, which is often preferred to the slimy consistency of regular okra.
Is Fried Okra Healthy?
Consuming any type of fruit or vegetable is good for you. Okra is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, magnesium, and antioxidants.
These antioxidants are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Okra is also known to alleviate bowel problems and support the bowel system.
However, fried okra isn’t as healthy as regular okra. It doesn’t matter how nutritious okra might be, if you deep-fry anything, it’s going to eradicate the health benefits of the food. The same applies for okra.
Even though fried okra is fairly light compared to other fried foods, it is still deep-fried in a lot of oil. The oil is packed with trans fat and saturated fats, which isn’t good for long-term health.
Of course, eating the occasional serving of fried okra won’t cause harm, but it’s best not to make a habit of it.
It’s also worth noting that okra contains a compound called solanine. Solanine is toxic for people with specific diseases, including joint pain and arthritis.
As a result, it’s important to inquire about okra in your diet with your doctor if you deal with any of these diseases.
How To Make Fried Okra
Fried okra is actually very easy to make, but there are a few tips you need to know before you chop the vegetable and throw it into the deep fryer.
Firstly, you need to make sure you wash the okra thoroughly before cutting. While it’s not proven, washing the okra is believed to prevent the sliminess of the vegetable.
Others will say that you should soak it in vinegar before cooking to eradicate the slimy texture. It’s worth practicing with various techniques to stop it from becoming slimy, if you’re worried about the texture.
After washing, you’ll need to chop the okra into your desired size. Most people usually chop it into small chunks, but it can also be cut lengthways, or you could leave the chopping altogether.
Then, you have to prepare the wet batter. You can use whatever wet batter mix you like, whether it’s buttermilk or just cornstarch.
One of the best wet batter mixes for fried okra is a mixture of cornmeal, eggs, black pepper, and salt.
You can also use breadcrumbs if you want the fried okra to be extra crispy. After coating the okra in the wet batter, thoroughly coat the chunks in breadcrumbs before frying.
Just make sure that the oil is boiling hot before you add the chunks in, otherwise the batter and breadcrumbs won’t adhere to the okra.
Coat the okra into the batter and deep-fry the chunks in hot oil. Keep frying until the okra is golden brown and crispy to the touch. Once finished, serve with coriander or spring onions, and enjoy!
The key to frying okra is to make sure that the oil is scalding hot, and also to be generous with the oil.
Okra will become slimy if it’s not cooked in enough oil. Instead, stick to a lot of hot oil to cook the batter, while maintaining the crunchy texture of raw okra.
So, there you have it! Fried okra is a delicious dish, enjoyed as an addition to a meal or a quick snack. Hopefully, this guide has shown you what fried okra tastes like, and how best to make it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fried okra is mild in flavor, with notes of grassiness and sweetness. It will mostly taste of the batter and seasonings, with a faint flavor of grass in the background. The natural flavor of okra is likened to eggplant or green beans, but the flavor is subdued when fried.