Saturday, April 12, 2008

What the heck is Okra anyway?

Have to say I'm enjoying interjecting my recipe and cooking posts with brief descriptions of various foods that I had no idea what they really were beforehand. In order to make great food it is important to build your knowledge base by looking into things you have never cooked with before. I'm still on the fence about whether to add Okra to my upcoming Brunswick stew. It looks kinda funny and nobody has really had anything good to say about so far. I have seen it featured on the food network for it's thickening properties which sounds ideal for a stew.

Consulting Wikipedia Okra, also know as "lady's finger" (pretty funny looking finger if you ask me) originated West African and is widely used in thick stews of meat and vegetables. It also one of the most heat and drought tolerant vegetable species in the world. More recently, it has become popular at Japanese restaurants where it can be found fried up tempura style. The seeds themselves can even be roasted and ground to be used as a coffee substitute.

This all sounds good and well, but it appears do to the "mucilaginous" nature of the plant, that a goo of sorts is released when cooking, making it ideal for stir frying or pair with acidic fruits and vegetables (citrus, tomatoes etc.). Have to say I'm kinda undecided here. I like the idea of a good hearty stew, but anything described as having mucilaginous properties doesn't sound so great either. I will make this call when I'm the grocery, but I can't it's looking too promising.


jj said...

Such a good point about trying new foods...we really do get ourselves stuck in a rut eating the same foods over and over. you never know what wonders you'll discover when you explore, right? ;)

Jared said...


Very true. You do run the risk of making a meal you may not enjoy, but the reward of opening things up is definitely worth it.

Thank for reading.

southerncooker said...

southern style. Roll wet okra in flour/pepper or cornmeal coating, and fry. Delicious!

Irish said...

I use Okra in my Jambalaya, and in my Spaghetti, also you can stew it in tomatoes, onion and garlic. I like to use the Peeled Tomatoes with Jalapeno Peppers in tomato juice. They are also great to add to soup. Try it you will learn to love this veggie. Pati