A staple of southern U.S. and southeast Asian cuisines, okra is a classic addition to stews, sauces and bakes. However, the small vegetables are tasty on their own, becoming a great finger food for dipping and stuffing when deep-fried. Whether cooking a large quantity and freezing for later, or purchasing frozen pre-fried okra at your local grocery store, the best way to reheat these morsels so you retain both the flavor and crunch is through baking. The heat allows the outside to crisp up without becoming soggy.
Prepare a baking sheet for the okra by lining it with parchment paper. Take the individual pods and place them on the sheet in one even layer, ensuring that there is space between each. Don't stack the pods on the baking sheet, as this makes them soggy where they touch. Set the oven rack to the middle setting -- this allows the heat to evenly circulate around the pods as they cook.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or the temperature called for on the okra package. Each individual okra pod or piece is so small that this high temperature cooks the pieces through without allowing them to go soggy. If wanting a deeper browned color than a light golden when the okra is ready, turn the temperature to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for several minutes at this temperature, tossing the vegetables frequently.
Bake the okra for only a short time in the oven. Generally between 15 to 20 minutes is long enough to cook the vegetables through as well as provide a crispy exterior. If cooking on a lower heat than 400 degrees Fahrenheit, extend the time accordingly, adding on 5 to 10 minutes for each 25-degrees-Fahrenheit decrease.
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For a lighter option, purchase okra that has been prepared and frozen, but is not fried. Bake it the same way you would the fried version and while it may not have as much flavor, it still retains the crunch gained through the baking process. Fried okra is often done in a deep-bottomed skillet, and can be reheated the same way. Place the okra in single layer in a skillet with a small amount of oil drizzled in the bottom. Fry on medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.