By Daisy Cuinn

The native African okra pod, also called gumbo, can be cooked as a vegetable or added to soups and stews as a thickener. It's a central ingredient in a dish that also goes by the name gumbo, a one-pot meal containing meat, tomatoes and other vegetables, thickened with sliced okra pods. Once it's harvested, okra only lasts a few days, but it freezes well. Pan fry frozen okra, purchased or from your garden, right out of the freezer for a tasty Southern side dish. Here's how:

how to fry frozen okra
credit: bhofack2/iStock/GettyImages
how to fry frozen okra

Step 1

Place the frozen okra in a bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes, so the ice crystals start to melt.

Step 2

Combine one part cornmeal and one part flour, enough to coat the okra. Add the mixture to the okra and toss to coat, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3

Heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in the bottom of a cast iron skillet or a frying pan over medium heat. When a drop of the flour paste sizzles when added to the pan, add the coated okra.

Step 4

Fry the okra on one side for about five minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Turn the okra with a wooden spoon or spatula and continue cooking until the okra is golden brown on all sides. The okra will both defrost and cook during this time.

Step 5

Remove the okra from the pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate. When the excess oil has drained off, it's ready to serve.