Texas' Cooking -- Fried Okra and Fried Potatoes With Onions!

No, no, no. . . this fried okra has too much batter and lots of good flavor will be lost.
No, no, no. . . this fried okra has too much batter and lots of good flavor will be lost. | Source

We're cookin' with grease today. . .

Amongst the ever vocal health nuts there remains a hard core group of folks (of whom I’m one) who grew up eating fried foods and quite frankly – lovin’ it! Most of us were born and raised in rural settings whether farms, ranches – even dairies – and one ate what one raised be it grown in the ground or walkin’ around on it. I was definitely grown before I knew chicken came cut up in packages with shrink wrap covering it. I was also mystified by the fact that other than the legs and thighs I couldn’t identify one damned piece in the pack – could have been crow or alligator for all I knew. My favorite piece of chicken – the pulley bone – just flat out disappeared altogether!

I, personally, was never a chicken killer but my Granny was and boy, was she good! She had a wire coat hanger all stretched out as straight as one could get it with a hook formed on the end. She’d grab a chicken and have it’s head wrung off before the unlucky chicken knew what happened. From that point on it was just a matter of dressing the thing out, cutting it up (in pieces we could all identify) and Sunday dinner was on the way. And . . . yep, it was as fried as fried could be – in Crisco only as that’s all my Granny used. Now, lots of folks back in the day used lard – and one can still buy it – but Granny was convinced that lard was just way too much grease, was far too heavy for her tastes and I’m convinced to this day if it had been a matter of Crisco or buying medicine for one of us Crisco would have won out.

Frying food has been a part of American cooking for a lot longer than most of us can remember and was, in fact, the cooking mode of choice by many for lots of years. Then came the “healthier than thou” folks who were convinced we’d all die before our twentieth birthday should fried food pass our lips. “Eating healthy” became politically correct (yes, we’re aware it’s proven healthier) – and some of us felt like we’d lost an old friend -- fried food -- to sudden death in a huge puddle of extra virgin olive oil. Well, dear hearts – we’re cookin’ with grease today and trust me – if you’ve not eaten southern fried okra or southern fried potatoes and onions – get ready ‘cause it’s taste bud time for sure.


Whether frozen or fresh -- this is what okra ought to look like after it's cut up and ready for breading.
Whether frozen or fresh -- this is what okra ought to look like after it's cut up and ready for breading.

A good iron skillet is a necessity. . .

There’s a lot of folks that think okra should have been banned as a weed with fur a long time ago. Not so – trust me – not so! Personally, I don’t like boiled okra but then that’s a matter of taste. My objection to it is most often it’s slimey and I just don’t like the texture although the taste is pretty good. I have a friend in Louisiana that does a thingy with boiled okra that involves vinegar in some way or other and it isn’t slimey – but that’s a different recipe for another day. Today, we’re gonna fry and fry and fry – and fried okra’s first on our list. Fresh okra is fine if you have it and it’s the right time of year but we’re gonna go with using unbreaded, cut, frozen okra ‘cause you can find it in nearly any supermarket/grocery store – and it’s cheap.

First thing you do is completely thaw the okra. While it’s thawing mix together a cup of all purpose flour and a cup of yellow cornmeal, and a couple of teaspoons of salt in a fairly large mixing bowl and set it aside. Now, here’s the important part – heat an iron skillet with about an inch to inch-and-a-half of Crisco (when it’s melted) and get it hot, hot, hot. Not quite as hot as you would get grease to fry fish but just short of that. While the grease is heating dredge the okra in the flour/corn meal mixture until it’s well covered and when the grease is ready – pop it in the skillet by the handful. Do not pour it into the skillet from the bowl as you’ll get the excess corn meal/flour in the grease and you don’t want that. Yes, it will be a full skillet and you’ll have to keep using a spatula and turning the okra pretty steadily until it’s golden brown and crispy. The best fried okra will have a few black pieces in it – and they add flavor so don’t be disappointed and don’t pick them out. Have a plate or pie pan ready with paper towels in the bottom to drain the fried okra – remove it from the skillet – let it drain a few minutes – remove the paper towels and serve immediately.


This is the way southern, pan fried okra should look when it's done -- lots of flavor!
This is the way southern, pan fried okra should look when it's done -- lots of flavor!

'Taters and onion. . . fried. . .

The second good, fried food, staple in southern cooking is fried potatoes and onions. A big platter full will feed – and fill up – a table surrounded by hungry cowboys or hungry kids – and there’s few that won’t love this dish (whether they admit it or not). Peel the potatoes – any potatoes – and cut them like you would for French fries. Personally, if the potatoes are big I cut them in half and then turn the half into shorter French fries. This recipe does not lend itself to long, floppy pieces of potato. Put the sliced potatoes in a big bowl. Next cut up a sizeable onion, slice it like you would for hamburgers and then half or even quarter the slices and add the onion pieces to the potatoes and mix ‘em up well. Now – and this is important – add salt to the whole thing – salt the potatoes and onions down pretty good and let them sit a few minutes. There’s something about the salting that makes the flavor of the onions and potatoes intensify and therein lies the basis for good fried potatoes and onions.

Again – get out your handy, dandy iron skillet and put enough Crisco in it to again be an inch or inch-and-a-half deep when it’s melted. The grease should be hot but not blazing hot – test it by tossing a piece of potato in and when it begins to sizzle the grease is hot enough to add all the potatoes and onions. Once you’ve used your spatula and got all the potatoes coated with grease, turn the heat down to (what I call) high medium and continue turning the potatoes and onions as they fry. When the potatoes begin to brown a bit put a lid on the skillet, turn the heat down to low medium and let the potatoes cook for about 3-4 minutes. Take the lid off, turn the heat back up to high medium and continue cooking until the potatoes are golden brown and the onion is done past the glaze stage – in fact you should have a few “over done” pieces in the skillet and that’s a good thing – don’t pick ‘em out as they’ll add flavor. Again, when your potatoes are done drain them on paper towels, remove the towels and serve immediately. This is a dish that screams for catsup so have plenty on hand!


Fried potatoes and onions -- personally, I prefer to cook this dish a little browner than shown here. Also, potatoes are diced in the photo -- your choice -- diced or french fry style.
Fried potatoes and onions -- personally, I prefer to cook this dish a little browner than shown here. Also, potatoes are diced in the photo -- your choice -- diced or french fry style.

Grease vs. olive oil. . .

Well, by now, I should have thoroughly disgusted every healthy eater that ever drew breath – but then again, I’ve found a few of those folks who’ll break the rules just for fried okra or fried potatoes and onion – seems these two dishes are hard for even the most “stick by the rules” eaters to pass up. So, we’re down to the bottom line now and of course, the big question is – are old southern dishes like the two we’ve just talked about good for you? Truthfully, probably not as they obviously do have starch, grease, salt – well, just about everything in the book of “No-No Eating” as we know it today.

On the other side of the argument – (1) both recipes are vegetables; (2) humans are animals and we do need a certain amount of oil/grease in our diets; (3) there’s folks 90-years-old that grew up on this kind of cooking and still eat it today (they’re the ones that still go fishing, work cattle and still put in a full day’s work). If one eats enough fatty foods will it cause obesity? Yep – sure will – and no one’s advocating we should load up on fried foods on a regular basis. However, those of us raised up to eat this way still crave the foods we know and love and the bottom line is – we’re all gonna die of something – someday – and good southern cooking, although it may hasten that process – at least lets us leave this planet with a smile on our face! It’s also kind of a pleasure to shoot the bird at the food nay-sayers who live on two soda crackers, a celery smoothie and a bowl of granola – and still gain weight.

Oh, by the way – you can try substituting extra virgin olive oil for Crisco in both these dishes and you’ve got an ironclad guarantee -- it’ll be a dud every time – just thought you might like to know that ‘cause educated, extra smart, healthy people think extra virgin olive oil is the answer to everything – and, for a fact it might cure bark on a stump, I don't know – BUT it won’t make good fried okra and good fried potatoes and onion – takes grease, darlin’ – just plain, old, country grease!

More by this Author


Comments 40 comments

Skarlet profile image

Skarlet 4 years ago from California

You made me hungry. There is nothing like deep fried everything with a chocolate malt.

I will have to try the fried okra though, as I never have. When I was in Tennessee I had a deep fried hamburger, and I am telling you, fried makes it all so much better. Voted up!


mvillecat profile image

mvillecat 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

"Crisco will do you proud every time." Loretta Lynn

Great Hub, I voted up!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Funny--I like your style! Do you think Crisco oil compares to Crisco shortening. I grew up with my mom using Crisco and bacon grease. And I love the foods you mentioned.

You are so right about the okra. I'm not crazy about those thickly beaded fake things. There is nothing like plain okra cooked in a bit of corn meal. Sometimes we did flour. Fried okra is awesome. Thanks for this reminder of good ole southern cooking!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hi Skarlet -- we agree -- if it's fried I'm for it! Thanks for commenting. Best/Sis


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

mvillecat -- my Granny swore by Crisco -- and I've just followed her lead -- I'd forgotten about that slogan - thanks for reminding me and the vote up. Best/Sis


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Victoria Lynn -- wellllll...can't be sure about Crisco and Crisco Oil -- they both fry well but Granny always thought the plain 'ol Crisco was best for biscuits and pie crust. As I can't make a pie crust that could be broken with a sledgehammer I don't know about that but it's sure the best for biscuits! Appreciate you stopping by -- and yep, bacon grease can't be beat for anything as far as I'm concerned! Best/Sis


lj gonya profile image

lj gonya 4 years ago

Ok - so I'm sitting here thinking that this is the day that I start my low carb diet, and then I see this. I grew up on these foods too, and now I am going to go and fry some potatoes and onions, and anything else I can find in the kitchen!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

My grandmother cooked exclusively with lard and Crisco, despite the many scoldings from her daughter and daughters-in-law. They all died in their 70's and 80's. Grandmother lived to be 100, and enjoyed every delicious, fried minute of it!

I'm going to try this one, Angela!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

lj gonya -- here's to it -- enjoy, enjoy! Thanks for commenting! Best/Sis


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Sounds like your grandmother is the type "eater" I'm talking about -- they eat the old fashioned way and live good, long lives. I listened the other day as a 70-something lady visited her 101 year-old-mom in a nursing home and the 70-year-old was telling all about her ailments -- the 101-year-old was crocheting and smiling -- who knows? Best/Sis


Free2writ3 profile image

Free2writ3 4 years ago from Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania

Hmm yummy, thanks for sharing.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Free2writ3 -- You're surely welcome -- appreciate you stopping by and commenting. Best/Sis


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Will definitely have to give this a try. thank you


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

What time is dinner Sis?

The Frog


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Mhatter99 -- You're very welcome -- hope you like these recipes. Best/Sis


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hi Frog -- dinner's anytime you can get here, put your feet under the table and I can get the cornbread out of the oven! Best/Sis


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Hi there Angela. My Grandmother cooked in Crisco grease too. None of that fancy stuff at her house. It was home grown chickens, (which she dispatched herself) fried up nice and crisp with rice and gravy and mustard greens and pound cake for dessert. Thanks for a great trip back to the world of real food and for the recipes. Peg


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hi Peg -- can tell by what you described that you and I come from the same "eatin' place!" Granny used to always fix rice and gravy with fried chicken, too -- not mashed potatoes! Appreciate you stoppin' by and commenting. Best/Sis


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona

I grew up on foods fried in Crisco and fried okra is one of my absolute favorites. I totally agree with you on the breading amount --lightly breaded, please!

I grew up in Louisiana, then moved to Texas and then Georgia, so I know, like you, what good food is! Thanks for sharing your memories and down-home food ideas with us. Loved it!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

lindacee -- always good to hear from you -- and also to know we're kindred eating spirits! Best/Sis


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I'm not an okra fan but I'd try this because of the frying and the onions. Voting this Up and Useful.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

alocsin -- good, glad you're gonna try it -- here's another tip -- you can even chop up some onions and add it to the okra and the flavor is wonderful! Thanks for stopping by. Best/Sis


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

This hub is right up my alley, girl! There is little better than fried okra and fried potatoes with onions. I'll take some chicken and dumplins on the side! Crisco was the only thing my mom ever used. I don't think I knew any other kind. I still have her big cast iron skillet, it's the only thing I use to cook my okra and fried potatoes. No, it's probably not real healthy, but it sure is real good! Voted this up and awesome! :)


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

sgbrown -- wow, glad you're a bonafide member of the iron skillet/Crisco club -- and sure appreciate you commenting. Healthy or not there's some of us that are just addicted to old time southern cooking! Best/Sis


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago

I love your Hub! And I am quite fond of fried okry and fried taters with onions is my favorite meal of all.

My grandma lived to be 87 and never saw a doctor in her life, delivered 9 children, and cooked most things in lard. Myself, I make my taters fried in butter. I make them regularly and nothing tastes better.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

James -- you absolutely passed the "country eaters" test when you said "fried okry and fried taters" -- that's the one real clue that identifies us as bona fide members of the club! I'll have to try fryin' my taters in butter -- sounds really, really good -- and rich! Best/Sis


TS Garp profile image

TS Garp 4 years ago

This sounds too good. My mother cooked all the time with Crisco! Okra too! The fried potatoes and onions is a favorite in our house to this day. Great recipe.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas Author

TS Garp -- thanks for commenting -- I think fried potatoes and onions are just plain, 'ol, American good food -- glad so many agree! Best/Sis


internpete profile image

internpete 3 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

Sometimes you gotta make food that tastes good and not worry too much about how healthy it may or may not be. The friend onions and potatoes sounds delicious! Great hub!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 3 years ago from Central Texas Author

internpete -- thanks - -and we definitely agree on sometimes just having to cook something good. I've always thought that, after all, we are animals and all animals need some grease -- some of us just more than others (I'm one of those)! Thanks so very much for commenting! Best/Sis


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

My mother and her mother before her made the best fried potatoes and onions! And they were Yankees, so don't be thinking you have a corner on it ;) They're great and your recipe for fried potatoes and onions here along with the okra (I love okra fried the way you describe) is fantastic. You really have to put a recipe book together and sell it on Amazon/Kindle. You have some of the bestest recipes for food that everyone loves -- at least if they've tasted it they do!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 3 years ago from Central Texas Author

Au fait -- thanks for the kind words -- and I think we all need comfort food now and then which I consider these two recipes to be. Of course, there's also the thing about grease -- and like you said, seems like that's not just a southern thing. Best/Sis


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

As one country gal to another, there is nothing like food fried in grease! When I was growing up, everyone ate fried foods (fried in lard), and they lived to be 100! I still love my fried food, and I'm very healthy: no high cholesterol, etc.

I love fried okra. One of my favorites!

Voted UP and shared.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 3 years ago from Central Texas Author

mary615 -- for me life would indeed be less without country fried foods. Like you, when I was a kid if you ate it it was fried -- and we had a lot of oldsters back then. Thanks so much for commenting -- dearly love folks who love grease like I do! Best/Sis


OhMe profile image

OhMe 2 years ago from Pendleton, SC

Frying in Olive Oil sure changes the taste and it isn't a good change. I have a friend that bakes her Okra in the oven with Olive Oil. I haven't tried that yet but might. We just have to have some fried okra in the summertime. I think it must be a rule or something.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 2 years ago from Central Texas Author

OhMe -- yep, fried okra -- anytime -- is a real treat. I personally come from the old school of frying -- if it's good enough to fry it's good enough to use Crisco -- but to each his own. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! Best/Sis


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 23 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i must try this, i love okra but never try with fritters type, tq


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 23 months ago from Central Texas Author

peachpurple -- hope you enjoy! Happy New Year and thanks for commenting! Best/Sis


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago

Ordinarily I try to avoid fried foods, but anyone who has discovered the slimy experience which is boiled okra knows why you want to fry those suckers.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 22 months ago from Central Texas Author

Poetryman -- you are absolutely correct! I eat fried okra only -- if it's boiled it's too rough for me! Thanks so much for your comments. Best/Sis

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working