Okra is a significant food in Southern and African-American cuisine. The vegetable was brought over to the United States from Africa during the slave trade and has been incorporated into a variety of American dishes. Okra is now grown in the United States and in some regions, like the Southeast, the vegetable can be found year-round. Panfrying is a common method of preparing okra, and it can be sauteed on its own or fried with other seasonings and ingredients.
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Prepare the breading if you plan to fry the okra. Breadings often feature a combination of eggs, milk, flour or cornmeal and spices to season the okra. Mix these until you achieve a consistent blend.
Cut small pods of okra into 1/4-inch slices.
Place the pan on the stove top over medium heat. Place a small amount of oil in the pan -- or a thin layer across the bottom for frying -- and wait until the oil starts to smoke.
Dip the okra in the breading before placing it in the pan for frying. If you are sauteing the okra, place it in the pan and sprinkle it with seasonings as desired -- for example, black pepper and cayenne are common seasonings used in the cuisines that feature okra.
Fry the okra for three to five minutes, until the breading browns, then transfer the okra onto a paper towel where the frying oil can drain. If you are sauteing, cook until the okra starts to darken and its skin wrinkles, then remove it from the pan and pat the okra dry with paper towels to soak up excess oil.