“Oven-Fried Okra Poppers” in the Wintertime

Here is a way to enjoy “Southern Fried Okra” all year long. “Oven-Fried Okra Poppers” is an adaptation of a recipe which I posted in the summer for traditional fried okra. That recipe uses fresh okra which is available in the summer months. We love fried okra and so I adapted the recipe as a way to enjoy home cooked okra in the wintertime, too. Plus, this okra is baked in the oven rather than frying cutting down on the calories and fat.

Okra has never been my favorite vegetable probably because of the way it was prepared. If cooked improperly, it can be slimy. Over-ripened okra is full of fibrous strands which are hard to chew. But when cooked properly, okra is delicious with flavor and punch. I have learned to enjoy this southern vegetable since living in Louisiana and have discovered several great okra recipes. Okra is easy to grow in a Louisiana garden in the summertime and we enjoy watching the tall stalks grow and the okra pods ripen. Here are some of the pretty okra flowers. In the hot months we check the okra plants daily as the pods grow rapidly.

During the winter, cut okra is available in the freezer section of grocery stores. Occasionally my husband will come home a large bag of frozen okra. Oh my. Luckily, I have found a way to prepare these little cut okra gems by cooking oven-fried okra. This preparation rivals fried okra made with fresh-picked okra. I like my recipe for these little okra poppers much better than any commercial breaded okra product, too.

Recipe

Here are the ingredients for my recipe. I use approximately 2 cups of frozen, cut okra. The punch for this recipe is the homemade breading mix — cornmeal, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and a pinch of pepper. These common kitchen spices, when mixed with cornmeal, make the “oven fried” okra come alive.

To make this recipe, let the frozen, cut okra defrost on the kitchen counter and soak in a small amount of milk for about 30 minutes. (The breading sticks better on a “wet” surface provided by the milk.) Coat a baking sheet with PAM olive spray. Mix together the ingredients for the breading. Working in small batches, drain the excess milk from the okra and coat the okra in the breading mix. Transfer to the baking sheet and spray again with PAM olive spray.  The okra may still be slightly frozen. That is okay.

Bake in a hot oven until crispy and brown.

This is a great way to enjoy cut okra pods all year. I am pleased with this recipe and the breading mix — the seasoned cornmeal brings out the flavor of the okra. There are never leftovers of “Oven-Fried Okra Poppers” in our home. I hope you like this simple recipe for a new rendition of okra, too. Enjoy!

Oven Fried Okra Poppers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • PAM olive oil spray
  • 2 cups frozen cut okra
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Method and Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil. Gently spray a light coating of olive oil spray on the aluminum foil. Set aside.
  2. Add 2 cups frozen, cut okra to medium-sized bowl and let defrost for 30 minutes on kitchen counter. Occasionally stir to break up cut okra pieces. Rinse off the ice.
  3. Mix milk into the okra and shake on 1/2 tsp salt. Gently stir to combine.
  4. Meanwhile, add cornmeal, chili powder, garlic powder, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper to small bowl. Stir to combine.
  5. Drain excess milk off cut okra.
  6. Take several spoons of drained okra and toss to coat with cornmeal mix breading. Shake of excess breading. Place your hand inside a utility cooking plastic glove to make this easier. Place the breaded okra on a single layer on the oiled baking sheet.
  7. When all the okra has been breaded, spray the okra with olive oil spray.
  8. Place in pre-heated 400 degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove, carefully transfer to serving bowl and serve.

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