what can I do with okra?
- lynne campbell Jan 21, 2004 11:28 AM
Besides gumbo, of course. I love okra but have never prepared it myself. I've had it in a tasty yellow curry and have also enjoyed it sauteed with corn and tomatoes. Any ideas? Thanks.
Fried okra is great. It's hard to know when it's done if you've never fried it before. So, I suggest deep frying it. It's done when it's golden brown, and not burnt looking, like bacon, 1 minute can mean the difference between crispy and burnt. You want it crispy, so the oil should at least be 375º. I slice the ofra, in about a 3/4 inch cut, soak it in a little water, very little, because with okra you don't need egg to bind the batter. I prefer dipping it in flour then cornmeal, but there are people who say cornmeal or flour only. Also, unless making gumbo, to get the slime content down for okra stews, you cut it, and put it in an iron frying pan, and saute it dry, but don't let it burn, for a few minutes on medium heat. Fried okra is right up there with fried green tomatoes in my book, too die for!
Well I'm embarrased to say, I don't know how to fry anything, although I do love fried okra. I just have to buy it rather than make it. However, after eyeing fresh okra at a local veggie stand, the owner told me to put some (2 big handfulls) in a glass bowl with a lid, add a little water and nuke for 8 - 10 minutes. Pour the water off and then season. We used S&P, Durkee's, and who knows what else. Every time was different. Ate them whole with out hands. YUM!
This is what converted me to okra, long ago. You can make it with frozen sliced okra (usually better than fresh, this time of year), either defrosted on towels or tossed in frozen. For a bag of okra:
Heat a little oil in a skillet (big enough to hold all the okra in a shallow layer) over medium-high until quite hot. Add some cumin seeds (a tiny pinch to 1/2 tsp., to taste) and stir until they pop. Add the okra, stir (if frozen, stir for several minutes). Lower the heat and cook very slowly, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until okra is very reduced, dry, dark brown and crispy. Salt and serve. The okra will cook down quite a lot--I can eat a bag's worth easily.
(Alternatively, cook on higher heat for less time--maybe 10 minutes on medium high, stirring. Results are different but still good.)
Optional: Add some cayenne or crushed red pepper just before the okra goes in (remember it cooks down!).
One of my favorite dishes in a local Turkish restaurant is baby okra with lamb. It is stew-like and contains some tomato and onions. Try to Google for a recipe.
there are some good indian-style recipes out there that feature okra as the main ingredient. try googling these too, cuz they're good and easy to make.
Cook with tomatoes and onions.
Salad-steam whole, chill, and serve with vinaigrette
Fry them whole.
Wash and pat dry okra. Brush with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, grill.
I am unable to find fresh okra this time of year and it is difficult even in the summer where we currrently live. My favorite frozen okra preparation is roasting at about 400 for ten or fifteen minutes. You can do what you like with seasoning - olive oil, salt and pepper are required, but Indian spices are nice, too. I was surprised at how good this was, when first I made it. Many veggies are improved by roasting,IMO. I was surprised to find I quite like zucchini, split and cooked in this fashion. I would always eat it, but never happily, and now I seek it out.
re: Marcia M. D'A. (formerly Marcia M.)
That's funny, because I just tried roasting okra for the first time last night and was really happy with the results. I oiled a casserole, tossed the okra (with the ends trimmed off) with mango powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, scallions and cherry tomatoes put it in the broiler for 10 minutes or so, stirring often.
I usually do stuffed okra with mango powder on top of the stove, which is much more labor intensive. I think I can achieve similar results broiling, and without using nearly as much oil.
I always find the best okra at Asian grocery stores, particularly Vietnamese and Korean. It must be in season somewhere right now, because the stuff I bought yesterday was very tender.
Cook 1 cup of long grain rice in whatever manner you're used to. Fry some bacon (amount according to how much you like bacon). Remove from pan. Chop an onion and fry it in the bacon grease until the onion is transparent. Remove from pan (getting all the onion out is the hardest part of the whole preparation). Trim the okra (amount up to you, but at least a pound - I'd use more) and cut into wheels about 1/2 inch in length. Fry these in the bacon grease until the goo is gone (be careful about the heat, since the okra will scorch easily), add the rice and other ingredients (break up the bacon), season with S & P to taste (watch the salt), stir the whole thing up well and heat through.
Some people put the mixed stuff in a casserole and bake covered in the oven at about 350 F for about 1/2 hour.
If you substituted cowpeas for the okra, you'd have Hoppin' John.
My favorite way to cook okra is to just steam it until tender and eat plain, dressed with a little salt. My second favorite way is to cut into half inch thick pieces and stew with onion and tomato.
Both ways it comes out "slimy" but I like that.
I like it fried Indian style but just recently was looking at Steve Raichlen's "Barbacue USA" in which he suggests grilling it whole either skewered or just on the grill. What makes it slimy is cutting into the pods so the best thing is to just carefully wash and dry the pods and trim off a bit of the stem, brush with a bit of oil, sprinkle on the coarse salt and put them on the grill. I can't wait for it to be back in season so I can try this method! I love okra but only fresh!