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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!

                1. I like most Indian versions of okra. Saute some chopped onion and garlic in oil until soft. "Top and tail" the okra (take off the stems and long end) and cut into 1/2" rounds. Add to onions. Sprinkle with garam masala, cumin, tumeric, corriander, dried mustard, corriander, or any combination of the above. Toss, season with salt and pepper, cover and let steam in it's own moisture until desired consistency. If you want, let it cool a little and stir in yogurt (I find it best to temper the yogurt with the okra so it won't curdle).

                  1. I like to do mine middle eastern style. Saute onion in olive oil until light browned and tender, add chopped garlic, small okra (can get baby ones frozen at Halal markets), chopped & seeded tomatoes (canned are fine), cook until okra is tender, add ground coriander, chopped parsley, and lemon juice. Serve on rice or couscous.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: weezycom

                      i make okra much like yours, but i sometimes add chickpeas for extra protein.

                      1. re: JenMarie66

                        If I want extra protein, I tend to put crumbled feta or shaved parmesan on mine.

                        Or fix a side of hot fava beans with a supremely garlick-y tahini-yogurt-parsley sauce on top.

                        1. re: weezycom

                          "garlick-y tahini-yogurt-parsley sauce"
                          that sounds amazing -- how do you make it?

                          1. re: JenMarie66

                            Lots of fresh minced garlic (to the point of "people won't talk to me for 3 days" level) a plain greek- or middle eastern-style yogurt that has drained for about 30 minutes, add lemon juice & tahini until it's loose and tastes good and in balance (I add the lemon juice first, and then stir & taste with the tahini), some S&P. I like to do this in a bit ahead so the flavors can blend well. Then add a handful of fresh parsley chopped fine stirred in at the end. I just cook the fava beans until tender (or hot through, if using canned), spoon the yogurt sauce generously on top, and if you want, splot a little harissa on top.

                    2. Wow...thanks everyone for the tips!

                      1. When I see fresh okra, my first thought is curry. I rinse them (I love the slime!) and cut them into one inch pieces and set aside. Then I finely slice 2 or 3 large shallots, crush and chop some garlic and finely dice a chile (jalapeno, serrano, scotch bonnet, habanero, whatever's in the house), saute them all in a large pan until the onions have taken on some color and crispiness, then I add a good portion of curry powder (if you make it yourself, excellent, if you have one pre-made that you like, also excellent), then add the okra. When it starts to release some of the slime, and the green of the okra gets a little brighter, and the okra rounds get a bit softer I add a whole "box" of Pomi crushed tomatoes. Sometimes I add a splash of water to steam the okra before adding acidic tomatoes, which tends to prevent them from getting really tender if you add the tomato too soon.

                        I let everything stew and simmer for a bit, maybe 20 minutes, and then I stir in some chopped scallions and chopped cilantro. If I have it in the house I add a small container of strained greek yogurt and fold in carefully. Let it bubble for a few more minutes and then it's done.

                        I serve over jasmine rice.

                        1. I like it chopped and added to miso soup or chopped and mixed in with natto, raw quail egg yolk, and eaten with rice

                          1. Trinidadian dish-cou cou made with yellow cornmeal,onion and okras-delicious

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: marlie202

                              Y'all are making me hungry. Thank goodness I have some frozen okra stashed at home:)!

                            2. A really simple and easy way to prepare it is to cut into thin slices crosswise, then dress with lime juice and soy sauce to taste. Add bonito flakes on top. Doesn't even require cooking.

                              1. Roast it! Use small, tender okra so they won't be stringy. Toss in olive oil, salt & pepper and pop in a hot oven until nutty and yummy. You must try it!

                                  1. "Roast it! Use small, tender okra so they won't be stringy. Toss in olive oil, salt & pepper and pop in a hot oven until nutty and yummy. You must try it!" mimilulu Apr 13, 2007 09:20PM

                                    This is the way! Roasting changes the texture too. This can be done in an oven or on a grill. You can add onion, garlic and/or spicy sausage. Fresh is best - frozen a poor poor substitute... (but if you gotta have it what can you do?!?)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jberryl

                                      My husband hated brussel sprouts until I started roasting them (thanks to this board!). Now we're both big fans. They get a great nutty flavor to them.