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Apr 10, 2007 01:14 AM

Easy & Tasty Way to Cook Okra

I would like to eat okra more often because I really like the taste and texture of it. I've mostly had it fried so I was wondering what was an easy and delicious way to prepare okra. Please keep in mind that I am a college student and am not a very experienced cook. :)

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  1. Try to get young and small okra. More likely to be tender. Above all do not over cook or you will have a gelatinous mess (the thing that makes most folks not like okra).

    You can dust fresh chopped okra with cornmeal and lightly stir fry- good eatin's.

    Although there are many Gumbo debates (Louisiana vs Southeast, Tomato vs no Tomato, seafood or not), it is easy to make. Just put the okra in last and cook for a very short period of time.

    If you can't get fresh okra, frozen okra is a cheap and decent alternative.

    Make sure when handling fresh okra to be careful. They have prickles that can make your hands hurt. Putting on a pair of rubber gloves is not a bad idea. Home grown okra is truly a taste sensation and not so hard to plant and grow. They can even grow in containers.

    Good Eatin'!

    From your friend Dr. Mimi aka "Dr Gumbo traveling road show and flying circus" (the name I gave for my informal catering service when I was in college oh so many years ago)

    1 Reply
    1. re: drmimi

      Agree with the dusting of cornmeal and lightly pan fry. Rinse briefly and then cut them into about 1/2 inch thick wheels and then toss with cornmeal then fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Then sprinkle immediately with salt and chili pepper. Make sure to let it cool for a few minutes or you'll burn your mouth on the lava hot slime. I could eat 50 lbs of okra this way. Much better snack than popcorn or chips.

    2. I like it fine just steamed. If you don't like the little hairs you can rub them off with some salt and then rinse them well before you steam them. I eat them just like that or sprinkle them with a little soy sauce and olive oil.

      1. I like them in bhindi masala, which you can find in many Indian restaurants. Julie Sahni has a good recipe for this in her Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking. It's not a difficult recipe at all.

        Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Food cookbook (I forget the exact title) also has a good recipe for okra with lamb. This one's easy.

        If you want either of these recipes, let me know and I'll paraphrase for you.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Kagey

          Here is a recipe given to me by Hema Parekh, a vegetarian cooking instructor and all around great cook in Tokyo.
          Bhindi Masala
          Spiced Okra with Onions
          This recipe turns okra into a marvelous surprise for the Westerners who sometimes dislike okra because of its slimy texture
          Ingredients Serves 4-6

          400g bhindi (okra)
          1 onion, thinly sliced
          1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
          1 tsp coriander powder
          ½ tsp chili powder
          ½ tsp turmeric powder
          salt to taste
          1 tsp lemon juice
          1 tbsp oil
          1 tsp cumin seeds

          1. Wash the okra under running water & slice off the ends. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
          2. In a wok or a heavy skillet heat the oil add cumin seeds. Let them sizzle.
          3. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until translucent.
          4. Add the okra and stir fry for a minute. Add ginger, turmeric and salt to taste.
          5. Cover and steam over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes until tender.
          6. Add the coriander and chili powder. Stir to mix.
          7. Sprinkle the lemon juice and serve while hot.

          Note: You may add a chopped tomato to the onions and add all the dry spices including ½ tsp of garam masala. Saute the spice mixture for a minute, before adding the okra. This would give you a richer version of the Bhindi Masala

          1. re: Kagey

            Okra and lamb...that sounds awfully good!

            1. re: crystaw

              It is! To paraphrase...

              Saute about 2 cups of onion and a couple of garlic cloves in butter or oil until they start to color (Claudia Roden says you can add a teaspoon of ground coriander at first as well, if you like). Add a kilo of lamb stew meat, cut into cubes, and brown all over. Then add a kilo of okra (washed, stems cut off--the smaller the better). Saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add about 500g of chopped tomatoes (I use canned), and a spoonful or two of tomato paste, diluted with water if that makes it easier to mix in. Add water just to cover meat, season with salt and pepper, stir all together. Simmer gently for 1-2 hours, until lamb is tender and sauce is reduced.

              Claudia Roden suggests adding the juice of one lemon at the end if you want to (optional). Taste for seasoning, add water if sauce is too thick.

              I've actually halved this recipe when I made it, and it comes out really well.

          2. 1. do not wash, brush off with paper towel, water makes them gooey
            2. chop in 1/2 in. pieces
            3. sautee 1/2 onion to 1/2 lb. okra in canola oil until carmelized
            4. add cumin seeds
            5. add chopped tomatoes canned or fresh about 1/2 lb.
            6. add chili pepper if you like a kick

            it's our favorite way to have okra.

            buen provecho

            2 Replies
            1. re: revets2

              Yes. This recipe is also a good one if fresh okra is not available. It works well with the frozen (un-breaded) type. It doesn't get any easier than canned tomatoes and frozen okra.

              If you don't yet have cumin seed, the Indian groceries will have it at 1/3 the price of the regular grocery store.

              1. re: revets2

                I made a recipe similar to this but I added onion, garlic, and chipotle peppers...served it over rice and it was fantastic.

              2. I read recently that if you soak briefly in white vinegar it makes them less slimey. Haven't tried the technique yet!