Why You Should Let Okra Air Dry Before Cooking It

Okra isn't for everyone. A haphazardly prepared plate can offer slimy mouthfuls that can be off-putting to many diners. Yet for those in the know, there are steps to be taken to avoid potentially icky okra, like soaking it in vinegar or cutting it up into smaller pieces before placing them in a pan to fry.

Before you set out to make shrimp and okra gumbo or throw cut slices into your air fryer, you may want to take a breath after you've washed the ingredient to use. Dry pieces of okra can yield crisper bites when seared or fried. Whether you plan in advance and let the pieces air dry on your counter or use a paper towel to blot excess moisture, this subtle move can make a major difference in the overall texture of your finished okra dishes. While other vegetables can be plopped into a hot pan without much thought, okra is a different kind of challenge for those adverse to mucus-like foods. 

Advance planning with significant payoffs

Using fully dried okra pieces will also yield crisper pieces if you are air frying your dish. Air frying is an excellent method to sidestep a slimy recipe, but you'll want to make sure that the okra pieces are completely dry before you start your culinary endeavor. Take some extra planning initiative and let washed pods dry out overnight to use the next day, and, of course, before handling the okra pieces, make sure your fingertips are also dry.

If you're in a hurry, you can add salt to okra to help pull out some of the excess moisture. Should your recipe call for breading the okra before frying, you'll need to adjust your approach accordingly, as whatever kind of breading crumbs you intend to use will not adhere to dry okra pods, so this kind of recipe may be a solid go-to move if you forgot to wash and set out okra before putting dinner together. Otherwise, patience will pay off as you tuck into a perfectly prepared serving of crispy roasted okra that has been made with blotted okra.