The author and cook, Heather

Cornmeal-Coated Okra Bites

Brown Sugar Kitchen

My family loves fried okra; we've made it twice before on the channel, so that might be obvious. But we haven't made one quite like this before...even though this is much more like the fried okra you'll usually find in the south.

The method here results in fried okra with a relatively thick batter, a lot like what you find in most restaurants (most of which I am fairly certain just use frozen, pre-battered okra.) If you like that, this is the recipe for you!

This recipe is available here; it includes a tomato jam not included in the cookbook:

Serving Size1/6 recipe, not including oil
Carbohydrates41g (6g fiber, 4g sugar)


[00:00]: [Music]
[00:04]: hello and welcome to cooking the books
[00:06]: with heather on this episode we're going
[00:08]: to be cooking from tonya holland's brown
[00:11]: sugar kitchen cookbook and we're going
[00:13]: to be making cornmeal coated okra bites
[00:16]: now okra is
[00:18]: really available pretty much everywhere
[00:20]: in the south
[00:23]: but i don't know of most people in the
[00:25]: north who eat this so
[00:27]: because this requires me to actually cut
[00:29]: this up i'm going to show you how
[00:33]: you trim it
[00:34]: and what you trim off what what is
[00:36]: normal and
[00:39]: how she wants you to cut this for this
[00:41]: particular recipe so this is just fried
[00:44]: okra
[00:45]: it's a lot it's very similar to
[00:48]: most fried okra recipes in my experience
[00:51]: so this one is pretty large and might be
[00:53]: a little woody and sometimes you might
[00:55]: want to discard some of those pieces if
[00:57]: it is um
[00:59]: these are generally okay you see sort of
[01:01]: the difference in sizes there
[01:03]: um
[01:05]: but i usually cut up a few at a time but
[01:06]: i'm gonna start with just one you cut
[01:08]: off the top part
[01:11]: of the
[01:12]: you know of the stem area and it exposes
[01:15]: um the middle
[01:16]: and usually you don't use the very
[01:18]: tip
[01:20]: and that's it and she says to cut these
[01:22]: into one-quarter inch slices
[01:25]: so
[01:27]: let's see
[01:28]: about like that
[01:30]: so
[01:34]: i usually
[01:36]: do find three or so that are about the
[01:39]: same size
[01:41]: and cut those up all at the same time
[01:46]: but
[01:47]: do whatever works for you
[01:49]: this is the amount of okra
[01:51]: that this recipe calls for
[01:53]: it is an awful lot i don't think even my
[01:56]: family who love fried okra can eat all
[01:58]: of this in one sitting so
[02:00]: you can reheat it
[02:02]: in an oven
[02:03]: it'll be okay
[02:05]: um
[02:06]: not quite as good as the first day you
[02:08]: fry it but it'll be fine
[02:10]: so
[02:12]: my
[02:13]: backstage person wants to go outside
[02:15]: well person slash dog
[02:18]: i'm gonna put these in this
[02:20]: uh zip top bag because that's what i
[02:23]: usually how i usually prepare my okra i
[02:26]: put it in a zip top bag and salted
[02:27]: pepper anyway
[02:28]: i'm going to follow this recipe except
[02:30]: i'm going to put this in the zip top bag
[02:32]: instead of like it doesn't tell you what
[02:34]: to put it in anyway
[02:35]: but we're going to slice all of this all
[02:37]: of this up and we're going to put it in
[02:39]: the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
[02:42]: and
[02:43]: we'll be back when it's time to actually
[02:45]: fry some okra
[02:47]: so
[02:48]: my okra has been in the refrigerator for
[02:50]: quite a while now plenty of time
[02:52]: definitely cold um
[02:55]: now i'm just going to get the sort of
[02:56]: dredge uh ingredients ready here before
[02:59]: we move over to fry i've got
[03:02]: now sadly
[03:03]: my large cast iron skillet
[03:07]: is in use right now
[03:09]: so we're making something else in it so
[03:12]: i couldn't use that as directed i didn't
[03:15]: want to use my 10
[03:16]: inch skillet because that just i
[03:18]: couldn't fry as much at one time and
[03:20]: there's a lot
[03:22]: of okra to get through here so
[03:25]: um
[03:27]: i'm go i've got my
[03:29]: sort of i guess that's about a 12 inch
[03:32]: deep skillet
[03:33]: heating on medium heat we're looking
[03:36]: we're going to be looking for 350 when
[03:37]: we're ready to fry i'm pretty sure at
[03:39]: that
[03:40]: temperature on my stove it won't be 350
[03:43]: i'll have to bump it up a little bit
[03:44]: right before i'm ready to fry but it's
[03:45]: sort of starting to come up to that
[03:47]: temperature
[03:49]: and all we need to do is make sort of a
[03:51]: wet and then a dry
[03:54]: dredge so
[03:55]: the wet is really easy it's just some
[03:57]: buttermilk
[03:58]: so i'm just going to pour my buttermilk
[04:00]: in this um
[04:04]: uh wide shallow
[04:07]: bowl that i have which is really
[04:09]: impossible but you know it'll work i've
[04:11]: used it for dredging before
[04:13]: and i'm going to put this
[04:15]: over
[04:17]: by my
[04:22]: by my pan and then we're going to put in
[04:25]: make our wet
[04:27]: ingredients
[04:28]: our wedding no our dry part of our
[04:31]: dredge which is you know where the
[04:32]: cornmeal comes in so i'm going to add
[04:37]: quite a bit of cornmeal here
[04:40]: and it really doesn't matter uh
[04:43]: the exact measurements here
[04:45]: but because i've been measuring i've got
[04:48]: this all ready so i'm gonna do that
[04:51]: so i've got my cornmeal
[04:55]: i've got some flour
[05:12]: there we go
[05:16]: and then into this we're going to add
[05:19]: some seasoning
[05:21]: um this is more unusual from my
[05:23]: experience but she adds some of her
[05:26]: creole spice mix which we have made
[05:32]: i think for the shrimp and grits i'll
[05:33]: link whatever recipe we made this in
[05:36]: up here so you can find it but we had
[05:38]: some left over and so i didn't have to
[05:40]: make it this time thankfully
[05:42]: so we're adding quite a bit of this
[05:45]: creole
[05:46]: spice mix here i don't remember if there
[05:49]: was salt in it but in the end we're
[05:51]: gonna salt uh the final product before
[05:54]: we serve it so
[05:56]: and then we're just gonna mix this up i
[05:58]: like to mix it with a fork or if you
[05:60]: have a small whisk or something you can
[06:02]: do that i'm not using a whisk because
[06:04]: i'm sure i would get my dry ingredients
[06:05]: all over my countertop because that's
[06:07]: what i do
[06:13]: i probably will anyway so you know
[06:20]: so there we go we have a creole
[06:23]: spice mix
[06:25]: corn meal blend
[06:27]: for our
[06:29]: okra bites
[06:32]: all right we're ready to put it together
[06:34]: we're gonna move over to the stove
[06:37]: i've got my chilled okra out of the
[06:40]: refrigerator um
[06:43]: and
[06:43]: my goodness this is more okra than i
[06:46]: usually cook at once
[06:48]: i had to clean my knife
[06:50]: sort of in the middle because it gets
[06:52]: all of the sort of slimy stuff that's on
[06:54]: the okra um which when it's done it will
[06:56]: not be slimy don't worry but it gets on
[06:58]: your knife and on your cutting board and
[06:60]: i had to clean that off in the middle
[07:01]: and i've never had to do that i don't
[07:02]: think while i've cut okra for my family
[07:06]: but
[07:07]: everything's set up here and now we're
[07:10]: going to fry it i'm going to turn my
[07:13]: temperature up on my
[07:16]: oil and use
[07:22]: so the i have an infrared thermometer
[07:25]: here that will sort of tell me what my
[07:29]: temperature temperature's doing and yeah
[07:30]: it's nowhere near it's not even 200 yet
[07:33]: so we're going to
[07:34]: bump it up
[07:36]: medium high but that's going to be too
[07:38]: high in the end
[07:40]: it's kind of a balancing game right now
[07:42]: but we'll get it if you don't have an
[07:44]: infrared thermometer you can use the
[07:46]: probe as well
[07:47]: there are
[07:48]: candy thermometers i think or they're
[07:51]: usually used for candy that you can use
[07:52]: to measure the oil temperature their oil
[07:55]: temperature thermometers do what you can
[07:57]: um
[07:59]: [Music]
[08:02]: you can kind of tell by the look but
[08:04]: usually
[08:05]: when you can you put a piece of your
[08:07]: food in it and it immediately sort of
[08:09]: starts bubbling around it
[08:10]: that's when it's done um
[08:13]: if it doesn't bubble soon enough it's
[08:15]: too
[08:16]: low it's not warm enough and if it burns
[08:18]: too fast turn your oil down that's all i
[08:21]: know
[08:23]: i've been relying on this basically
[08:25]: since i got it so
[08:28]: yeah
[08:29]: 220. so it still has a little bit to go
[08:32]: but i'm gonna get my first batch coated
[08:35]: so she says basically put a handful
[08:38]: in your buttermilk
[08:45]: and it likes to stick to my hand
[08:51]: and then
[08:52]: toss it around with a fork
[08:55]: until it's all coated
[08:58]: and this will help the um
[09:01]: the cornmeal stick to it
[09:03]: now
[09:04]: using
[09:06]: a slotted spoon we're supposed to take
[09:08]: this out
[09:10]: and try to let as much as possible uh
[09:13]: drip out so we
[09:15]: don't
[09:16]: get our wet mixture too or dry mixture
[09:19]: too wet
[09:21]: then we
[09:22]: put that into our
[09:24]: cornmeal mixture
[09:27]: this is not the way i usually fry it
[09:29]: but i'm sure it works just fine
[09:39]: i'm going to go ahead and just put all
[09:41]: of this in there
[09:42]: so we're supposed to toss this until
[09:44]: it's well coated she said it doesn't say
[09:46]: what to use i'm just going to use my
[09:48]: hands because
[09:51]: i don't have anything else right now of
[09:53]: course my hand is going to get messy but
[09:54]: that is common when you are frying
[09:56]: things
[09:58]: and so now
[09:59]: let me check my oil again
[10:03]: about 30 minutes 30 seconds
[10:07]: still not quite there 270.
[10:09]: um
[10:10]: so almost there on the oil
[10:13]: it'll come up pretty fast from now
[10:15]: i've got this um relatively small
[10:17]: strainer that i'm going to use
[10:20]: to strain out the
[10:23]: um
[10:24]: dry bits
[10:26]: of the
[10:29]: cornmeal mixture yeah that'll work and i
[10:32]: can get more in here than i can in my
[10:34]: other
[10:35]: um thing anyway so i'm gonna go ahead
[10:37]: and drop in one of these
[10:41]: it's almost there yeah
[10:43]: so that it kind of
[10:45]: relatively quickly started
[10:48]: frying we're at 3
[10:50]: 36 so we're gonna i'm gonna go ahead and
[10:52]: start frying here
[10:59]: these are frying pretty quickly
[11:02]: now i'm supposed to have two inches of
[11:05]: oil in here and i
[11:06]: did not do that
[11:11]: because i don't eat a whole lot of oil
[11:13]: and that is a lot of oil in this
[11:15]: container so
[11:17]: it's fine
[11:24]: all right
[11:26]: this is going slower than i would like
[11:28]: i'm going to turn it down now i think
[11:30]: we're good
[11:36]: yeah this is going to be a huge mess
[11:41]: i'm going to use this to scoop them out
[11:44]: they're they're um
[11:46]: frying pretty quickly getting brown
[11:48]: pretty quickly
[11:49]: and check my oil temperature
[11:52]: yeah clean about
[11:54]: 325
[11:56]: um
[11:57]: it'll come up a little bit more
[11:59]: at this seat i'm sure of it
[12:02]: still coming up
[12:03]: um
[12:04]: i'm not gonna do any more right now
[12:06]: for this batch but i think i'm gonna do
[12:08]: a slightly larger batch next time and
[12:12]: as these brown
[12:15]: my oven is supposed to be
[12:17]: heated to 250 degrees it was much higher
[12:20]: because of something else i was cooking
[12:22]: but as they get
[12:26]: about this brown i'm gonna take them out
[12:28]: and put them on this um
[12:30]: sheet pan that i have
[12:32]: lined with
[12:33]: paper towels and
[12:35]: put a rack on
[12:38]: and
[12:39]: we're going to put these in i have my
[12:41]: warming drawer set
[12:42]: um
[12:43]: to keep these warm until we're ready to
[12:46]: serve them
[12:48]: and when they're all done before we
[12:50]: serve them we're going to salt and
[12:51]: pepper them just sort of on this sheet
[12:54]: and that will be it for our
[12:57]: uh fried
[12:59]: cornmeal coated okra bites so basically
[13:03]: fried okra
[13:04]: um so i'm going to be frying these in
[13:07]: batches for a little while
[13:09]: but uh we'll show you what it looks like
[13:11]: when they're all done
[13:20]: on this episode of cooking the books
[13:22]: with heather you watched me make
[13:23]: cornmeal coated okra bites from tonya
[13:26]: holland's brown sugar kitchen cookbook
[13:28]: and uh
[13:30]: i've had a few problems with this recipe
[13:33]: first off being two pounds of okra is
[13:35]: way too much for
[13:39]: six people well four people for sure
[13:42]: and probably for six people because
[13:44]: we cooked about half of it with this
[13:46]: recipe and that was plenty for us to eat
[13:50]: as a family of four
[13:51]: and uh
[13:53]: made the rest uh kept the rest in the
[13:56]: refrigerator in the bag we had and uh
[13:59]: made another meal from that so
[14:01]: i would go with about a pound
[14:04]: of okra it was just way too much okra
[14:06]: for uh one meal
[14:08]: now this is in the
[14:10]: snacks portion of her cookbook so
[14:13]: maybe if you're serving it as a snack
[14:15]: but even as a snack swerve at a um
[14:18]: dinner party or you know
[14:21]: appetizers whatever i think it'd be way
[14:24]: too much
[14:26]: anyway um
[14:28]: but i also feel that the
[14:31]: amounts of the rest of the things the
[14:33]: um cornmeal like the the buttermilk and
[14:36]: the dredge i think were
[14:38]: not quite enough for
[14:41]: all of the okra so i
[14:43]: basically used up all of that stuff with
[14:45]: about half of the the okra so
[14:48]: that's a that's a little hint there too
[14:50]: much okra
[14:51]: or not enough
[14:53]: cornmeal and buttermilk to make all of
[14:56]: the
[14:57]: okra um
[14:59]: but the the
[15:01]: i like the method you know sort of
[15:03]: dipping it in in buttermilk and all of
[15:05]: that and then putting on the dredge
[15:07]: that's pretty common um and this is a
[15:10]: more
[15:13]: standard way to cook okra we've cooked
[15:16]: it several ways on this
[15:18]: um
[15:19]: on this channel um whole
[15:22]: slice lengthwise but i think this is the
[15:23]: first time we've cooked it
[15:25]: in a
[15:26]: more usual southern way where you slice
[15:29]: it um
[15:31]: i think we've decided we prefer just the
[15:33]: the
[15:34]: uh either whole fried okra or at least
[15:37]: split lengthwise like you do in the
[15:39]: pool's diner cookbook
[15:42]: so
[15:43]: take that as you will you should if you
[15:46]: haven't fried it whole you should
[15:47]: probably try it see if you like it i
[15:49]: think it's easier and i am inherently
[15:51]: lazy
[15:52]: um
[15:53]: so the creole spice mix added a little
[15:56]: bit of an extra
[15:59]: seasoning to this whereas you know
[16:01]: generally
[16:03]: fried okra is like fried okra with
[16:04]: cornmeal or flour
[16:06]: and that's about it salt pepper
[16:09]: um so it was really good for a an okra
[16:13]: um
[16:14]: a a sliced okra fried okra if you've
[16:17]: never made fried okay before and want to
[16:18]: make it
[16:20]: in a way that a southern person
[16:21]: generally would
[16:23]: this is
[16:24]: a good recipe to try um it's a little
[16:28]: uh
[16:29]: messy
[16:31]: especially with the
[16:33]: um
[16:35]: the buttermilk taking it out of the
[16:37]: buttermilk and putting it into the the
[16:38]: dredge
[16:40]: my kitchen was just wrecked afterwards
[16:42]: wrecked frying is always messy this one
[16:45]: was no different
[16:46]: but
[16:48]: i was expecting that so um
[16:51]: and really i could only fry about a
[16:53]: handful at a time like she says um
[16:56]: because it was just there was
[16:58]: too much it fried really fast and so
[17:01]: with all of the steps before it got into
[17:03]: the oil it was it was
[17:05]: difficult and and i just couldn't like
[17:07]: basically fill the pan and then take out
[17:09]: take it out it was
[17:10]: a handful at a time fry it take it out
[17:12]: do another handful so
[17:15]: um anyway
[17:17]: if you've enjoyed watching me make this
[17:18]: please give me a thumbs up hit the
[17:20]: subscribe button and come back and watch
[17:22]: me make something else next week
[17:24]: [Music]