Gloria Smiley’s Famous Okra Cakes

  • Servings: 4-6 servings
  • Prep time: ~ 10 minutes
  • Cook time: ~ 10 minutes


  • 2 cups 1/4" slices fresh okra, tips and stems removed (about 1/2 lb of okra)
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten or 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cooked medium grain rice, seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt

Serve these fritter like cakes hot off the stove for a late afternoon snack along with a refreshing cocktail or glass of Rose. Atlanta Dame, Gloria Smiley makes these cakes at the height of okra season in late summer and early fall before the first frost. Okra cakes should be light and crispy with a lacy interior full of star-shaped okra, minced onions, garlic, spicy Serrano peppers, hot sauce and salted rice.

By lightly cooking these fritters, you taste the fresh summer vegetables instead of oil. Let the spoonfuls of batter spread out over the pan creating irregular shaped cakes.  Smother them with a creamy Tzatziki sauce along with high summer tomatoes, fresh corn, and juicy pork chops or barbecue.

Mary Moore, owner of The Cook’s Warehouse and guest “sous chef” Harald Wusthof, scion of the German knife making company prepared these okra cakes for the Morningside Market crowd using Crystal Organic Farm’s okra, peppers, onions and cucumbers.  Harald surprised the faithful front rower, Lee Wiggins who turned 95 years old with a special autographed knife set commemorating  Wusthof’s 200th anniversary. It was a special moment I wish all of you could experience.


During the demonstration, Harald discussed the history of his company and how knife making has evolved. He showed us the proper way to sharpen knives and cut an onion.  Did you know a dull knife can increase the chances of you tearing up when slicing into a onion?  It never crossed my mind; I assumed onions affected me since I am so sensitive to smells.  It makes perfect sense a dull knife will crush the membranes releasing the sulfenic acids and active enzymes causing more eye irritation and tears.

My knife is slightly bent from opening all the coconuts so I should invest in a new one.  Since Harald returns the 14th thru the 16th of November to celebrate The Cook’s Warehouse’s 20th anniversary, I will get his advice on the best knife for everyday chopping of vegetables and fruits.  Mary planned a series of events for the anniversary weekend so make sure you mark your calendars to attend.

The Cook’s Warehouse is Atlanta’s premier gourmet store and cooking school with over 15,000 culinary tools and 800 classes per year. Voted Best Place to Buy Kitchen Gadgets in Atlanta and Best Cooking School 2004 – 2013 as well as voted’s 2012 Reader’s Choice for Best Kitchenware Retailer, The Cook’s Warehouse is your culinary resource for cookware, kitchen accessories, cooking classes and large appliances.  Four convenient Atlanta locations in Midtown, Brookhaven, Decatur, East Cobb and on-line at

The reason I frequent the store is the friendly, helpful staff and to support a very smart, kind businesswoman who gives so much to the community.  My kids love all the different cookie cutters and colorful “toys” at the counter.  Next summer my son will be enrolled in several cooking classes for kids.  I am looking forward to having a junior “sous chef” in the kitchen.


1) Cook the Rice- Cook medium grain rice per instructions on package. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt or to taste OR season the rice with a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. This is a stronger seasoning recommended if the cakes are served at room temperature rather than hot off the stove.

2) Mix the Batter- In a large bowl, combine chopped okra, onion, garlic, jalapeño pepper, and cooked and seasoned rice, flour, eggs or sour cream (eggless version), and hot sauce. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight or use immediately.


3) Cook the Okra Cakes- Heat a 12 inch non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. add the vegetable oil and when the oil shimmers and sizzles when a bit of batter hits the pan, drop in spoonfuls of okra-rice mixture into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Saute for 2 minutes or until nicely browned and then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove okra cakes and place on paper towels to absorb oil. Place in a preheated 200 degree oven until all of the cakes are cooked to keep warm.


4) Plate- Serve the okra cakes hot with a side of Tzakziki sauce. Enjoy!


Why You Want to Eat This!

Okra is high in fiber which can help regulate blood sugar levels. The elongated fruit also contains many antioxidants to prevent cell damage. Kantha Shelke, from the Institute of Food Technologists, said okra was served to the athletes at the Beijing Olympics and ”okra is also called “plant Viagra” in the US and “green panax” in Japan, due to the physiological effects it can bring. The okra fruit has been found to contain polysaccharides, food nutrients that can improve blood flow the way Viagra can.” read more




Recipe from Gloria Smiley
Okra provided from Crystal Organic Farms
Pictures provided by TC Brodnax

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