Okra has a public relations problem. Bring it up with most people and they'll wrinkle their noses. Okra? Eww! That weird, slimy vegetable? Why not eat your own mucus? The word "nasty" comes up a lot. And that's how I used to see okra, too. But lately friends of mine have been urging me to give it another chance -- so I have. And you know what? Okra haters are missing out. It doesn't have to be slimy, but it can be fantastic. Here's what you should know about this poor, misunderstood vegetable.
It's all about how you cook it. Cook it for a long time, and the seed pods inside would melt into that viscus goo everyone hates. But stir-fry it, deep-fry it, or try it roasted, and it's a whole 'nother vegetable. Marinating it in salt and vinegar is also supposed to cut down on the slime.
And now, the health benefits of okra. Here's why your body will thank you for giving this vegetable a try. It's loaded with fiber and vitamins A, C, and B6. It has beta carotene. It can promote a healthy pregnancy and helps prevent diabetes. It will feed your skin and it may even help with respiratory issues like asthma.
Roasted: I never would have thought to roast okra, but this Mediterranean roasted okra recipe looks fantastic.
Deep-Fried: The secret here is, again, not to cook it too long. By the way, a quick fry in very hot oil actually means your food absorbs less fat. This deep-fried okra recipe looks great. This deep-fried okra recipe calls for 3 to 6 minutes.
Grilled: Of course you can grill okra! It makes a great side dish for barbecue. Here's how -- grilled okra recipe.
Poached: This Japanese okra salad recipe is a very light take on the vegetable.
Stir-Fried: I threw this together the other day, and it's not exactly a recipe. Chop your okra into bite-sized chunks. In a wide, shallow pan, add a splash of sesame or vegetable oil, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. When it's hot, throw in your okra and cook, stirring, until just barely done, about two minutes. Remove it immediately. When I made this, I happened to have some shiso leaves, so I topped with that. Mint or cilantro would also be tasty.
Do you like eating okra?