Our version of this Southern favorite uses egg whites instead of whole eggs, resulting in a lighter, crispier coating. A cast-iron skillet works best, but any heavy skillet will do.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a large shallow bowl, whisk together egg whites and 2 tablespoons cold water. Add okra, and toss to coat completely.

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  • Combine cornmeal, flour, cayenne, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper; divide between two shallow bowls. Lift half the okra from egg mixture, letting excess drain off; add to cornmeal mixture in one bowl, and toss to coat evenly. Repeat with remaining okra, adding it to second bowl.

  • In a deep 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat oil to 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Carefully place half the okra in oil. Gently stir pieces (without disturbing coating). Cook until golden brown, 3 to 6 minutes; adjust heat as needed to keep oil temperature between 300 degrees and 350 degrees. With a slotted spoon, transfer okra to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

  • Return oil to 375 degrees; repeat with remaining okra. Season with salt, and serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Cook's Notes

Look for cornmeal in the baking section of your supermarket. Be sure not to buy a mix, which may contain flour and other ingredients.

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