Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) is an African fruit with good nutritional capacity that is increasingly found in greengrocers and supermarkets and which is also very easy to grow in the garden.
It is also known by other names such as Hibiscus esculentusokra, African chaucha, okra among others depending on the place in the world.
Its shape resembles a mixture of zucchini with green pepper and is widely used in Asian cuisine in general.
Okra can be served raw, marinated in salads or cooked on its own and pairs well with tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers and eggplant.
Its main use is to give body to soups and broths because inside it contains a mucilaginous substance.
It is also possible to cook it in the oven or on the grill. They are cooked whole or cut in half lengthwise, with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. They are roasted for about 30-40 minutes at 180°C, until golden brown. They can be eaten as is or incorporated into other dishes with sautéed vegetables.
Okra does not have a lot of flavor, but well prepared with other ingredients, it provides dishes with good texture and color. Just look for some recipes, especially from Indian cuisine and surely we can enjoy more.
Properties of okra
Okra is rich in protein (about 21%), fiber, vitamins A, C, K, thiamin and B6, calcium, magnesium and manganese.
The fiber in okra is premium and helps both stabilize blood sugar and prevent or resolve constipation.
How to choose and store okra
Small, bright green, unripe okra are best. They taste better and are more tender. Avoid large and overripe ones, with spots or that are soft.
To keep them cool, keep them in a paper bag with holes or half-opened to allow some air circulation and in the pantry (if it’s very hot, in the refrigerator).
You can also freeze them to use them all year round. To freeze them properly, blanch them for 3-4 minutes in boiling water, then transfer them to ice water to stop the cooking. Once cold, wipe them well with paper towel and store them in a tightly closed container in the freezer. They will last about 6 months.
Recipe with okra
This vegetable goes very well with chickpeas and spices of Indian origin.
Bhindi fry or Kurkuri bhindi
This is a very simple Indian recipe for consuming okra as a crispy and delicious snack.
- 300g okra
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (maizena)
- 1 tablespoon chickpea flour
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
- olive oil for frying
- Wash the okra, remove the hats and cut them lengthwise into 4-6 parts, so that they do not form very thick strips.
- Put them in a bowl.
- In another small bowl, mix the cornstarch and flour with the spices. Pour this mixture over the okra and stir well by sautéing them, so that they are all covered with the mixture.
- Let stand for 20 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You don’t need to put a lot, just enough to cover the bottom.
- Put the quantity that suits you and brown them in batches.
- Flip them when they brown on one side.
- Transfer them to a wire rack to drain.
- Sprinkle with salt and serve.
This original Indian cooking video will guide you step by step:
In addition to changing our diet for nutritional reasons, it’s always fun to innovate in the kitchen.