Carolina Okra Beignets
photograph by Matt Hulsman

1 pound small, firm, fresh okra
2 medium onions, minced
½ small green bell pepper, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon half-and-half
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Vegetable shortening for deep-frying

Rinse okra, remove stems, and thinly slice pods. In a bowl, combine okra, onions, and bell pepper, and toss until combined.

Add flour, bread crumbs, and ½ teaspoon salt, and toss again.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, half-and-half, and Tabasco. Pour over the okra mixture, stir until all ingredients are incorporated, and let stand for about 30 minutes.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat about 1 inch of shortening to 375° on a deep-fat thermometer, drop okra mixture by tablespoons into hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crisp on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes, and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with a little extra salt and serve piping hot.

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For several years, Our State featured recipes from the pages of community and church cookbooks from around North Carolina. These dishes continue to be among some of our most popular and enjoyed.