what can I do with okra?
- lynne campbell
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.