Sinful Flash-Fried Okra with Garlic Aioli

Sinful Flash-Fried Okra with Garlic Aioli

I can’t say that I’ve been eating fried okra all my life; in fact, it was not until I was a full-fledged adult that I tasted this culinary delight.  Tossed in either flour or cornmeal (or both!), this succulent green vegetable fries up crisp and crunchy and turns a gorgeous golden brown that no one can resist. Eat it on its own or with a spicy sauce such as a remoulade or a garlic aïoli like we’ve done here. This flash-fried okra with garlic aioli will be the perfect appetizer or a side dish at your next outdoor barbecue.

How to flash-fry okra

  • Marinade the okra in buttermilk (or egg) for 15-20 minutes. This will give the batter something to stick to.
  • In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 tbsp. oil to 375 degrees (nice and hot). This will take 10-15 minutes.
  • Dredge the okra pieces evenly in cornmeal or flour (or both, as we’ve done here).
  • Fry for 1-2 minutes a side until nice and golden brown.


The history of okra

Okra is a staple of Louisiana gardens in the summertime and a classic Creole and Cajun ingredient; it’s easy to grow and one of those rare vegetables that love to soak up the intense heat of a tropical summer sun. A versatile vegetable, It can be eaten and prepared in a variety of ways — raw, pickled, stewed, sautéed . But Louisianians like it best either flash-fried crisp on its own or as a thickening agent in stews and gumbos. One of Marion’s cardinal rules is that you should NEVER make a gumbo without fresh or frozen okra.

I’ve read that gumbo gets its name from the Angolan word ngombo, which means “okra.” The English word “okra” itself comes from Igbo, another African language (largely spoken in Nigeria), which called the sticky plant okuru. What’s clear is that both the name and the plant came across the Atlantic from Africa in the 18th century, and that okra has become a favorite across the South.

But our favorite way to eat this succulent vegetable is fried a long side some lemony garlic aioli. Trust us when we say your guests won’t be able to resist the crisp, golden yumminess that is flash-fried okra. There’s a reason they call it ‘southern popcorn.’ It’s simply addicting.

Sinful Flash-Fried Okra

July 29, 2019
: 4
: 30 min
: 10 min
: 40 min
: Medium (two glasses of wine)


  • 1 lb. fresh okra (smaller is better)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. papkrika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Step 1 Place flour and cornmeal in a shallow bowl and whisk in seasonings.
  • Step 2 Wash okra in water and drain in a colander.
  • Step 3 Take out and dry with paper towels.
  • Step 4 Snip off both ends, then cut into 1/2 inch slices.
  • Step 5 Marinate the slices in the buttermilk for 15-30 minutes in the fridge.
  • Step 6 With a slotted spoon, place slices on a plate.
  • Step 7 Pour about 2 inches of peanut or other vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot and heat to 375 degrees (will take 10 to 15 minutes).
  • Step 8 Place a handful of the slices in the flour cornmeal mixture and roll around, then shake off excess flour and fry in the hot oil. Alternatively, you can put the seasoned flour in a gallon plastic bag and shake slices in the bag.
  • Step 9 Batch by batch, fry the slices until they are golden brown and then flip over. This will only take 1-2 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel.

Garlic Aioli

July 29, 2019
: 4
: 15 min
: 15 min
: Easy (one glass of wine)


  • 1/2 cup Hellman’s Organic mayonnaise (or plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash or two of hot sauce
  • Step 1 Stir ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.