Okra

Got Any Okra Recipes?

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The one and only time I ever cooked okra for my family (it was frozen, chopped okra…I think I tried to fry it.  It didn’t go all that well.), Alex tried it, because he is good about trying new things, and after chewing it for a moment, he burst into tears.

This is the one and only time a food has ever made him shed tears of anguish.  We didn’t force him to finish it.  It’s been several years now, and he has agreed to try okra again. 

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And so we’re growing okra this year.  I’d really like to be able to cook it up right this time around.  We didn’t have it a whole lot when I was a kid, but I vaguely recall maybe a Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo soup that had chunks of okra in it.  I liked it as a kid.  But I don’t have any real okra-cooking experience. 

So I’m asking you, my dear readers, for recipes.  Suggestions.  Advice.  Support.  Maybe a good gumbo recipe.

Do you cook okra?  How do you cook it?  Do your kids like it?  Do any of them cry when they eat it, or is that just unique to my family?

Any and all help would be appreciated! 

And no rush, really – I have a little time – the plants aren’t producing just yet.

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Thanks!

14 thoughts on “Got Any Okra Recipes?

  1. My Nigerian dad cooks a delicious okra soup that you eat with gari. Unfortunately the sight and smell of it generally turns the stomach of most non-Nigerians! A childhood friend called it snot soup…

  2. I always add it to a jambalaya – the glutinous aspect just sort of assists in the thickening process of the stew itself. But that’s the ONLY cooking I’ve ever done with it. It’s tasty, but yeah – kind of slimy…

    Can’t wait to hear what you decide to do with yours!

  3. O.k. Take this for what it is worth. I am southern and okra is a common vegetable here. It can be slimy when it is used for soups, stews, boiled okra, etc… So here’s the number one thing to remember. Always wash prior to cutting and do not apply any liquids to it after cutting unless you are adding it to a gumbo or other dish where the thickening quality is desired. Also, you can soak in vinegar for about 10-20 minutes after slicing and before adding to a recipe to really reduce the gelatinous quality. Also, pick small. Usually the pods should be no longer than 3 or 4 inches. For most varieties, the longer the pods get, the tougher and less edible they are. Frying here is done usually w/ cornmeal, but some people use a combination of flour and cornmeal (be sure to season well). This website (http://www.seasonalchef.com/recipe0905f.htm) provides some recipes that you could try. There plenty of other websites out there as well.

  4. Nena –

    Thank you for your words of advice! Ill keep all that in mind once weve got our okra. (And I know I can just go and research recipes and all that on other sites, but I figured Id throw the question out there and see what kind of response I get first.)

  5. I’m sorry to howl at Alex bursting into tears over okra, but I am HOWLING at Alex bursting into tears over okra.

    And he’s willing to try it again! Brave lad.

    (There must be some kind of Okra Winfrey recipe, right?) Ba dum ching.

  6. When I was a kid here in GA we had it every year fresh from my grandpaps garden. My favorite ways to eat it were breaded and fried, but not completely coated, and boiled till good and slimy! I have not had any boiled okra in forever and we also have some growning in the garden so I can’t wait to make it this year. I bet I will be the only one in my fam to eat it because the kids are happy with the fried kind. I have never seen anyone cry from okra before, but I am from the south where we all love it!

  7. I love okra and like it best with Canh Chua Ca (Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup) or gumbo. Sometimes instead of a real gumbo, I just make a simple soup of smoked sausage, okra, and tomatoes. I like it fried too, but have only eaten that in restaurants. Anyway, for the soups, if you don’t like the slimy quality, then I suggest adding it near the end so it doesn’t release as much of the gelatinous mucus. Or conversely, add them at the very beginning and cook the okra for a long time so it all dissolves. You can also leave them whole and stir-fry them with shrimp paste Malaysian-style. If those all sound too difficult, you can just pickle them.

    I think it’s great that your son is willing to try them again after a bad first impression.

  8. All of that sounds good! The Malaysian style with shrimp paste sounds right up our alley, actually. Now all we need is a bumper crop so I can try out lots of recipes. Thanks!

  9. Ditto on what Nena said, here in Texas we just fry it. My mom, being a Cajun, would sometimes put it in Gumbo (us kids didn’t like it b/c of the slime.) Dad like it boiled, small pods no longer than 2 inches long, VERY slimy. My Aunt in Oklahoma used to make a casserole with okra, hamburger meat and cornbread but I never got the recipe. The thought of it doesn’t set well with me at the moment but I’m sure we ate it years ago, after working cattle all morning you’d eat just about anything, slimy or not.

  10. We eat okra a lot in India. Normally, okra is stir fried at very heat with couple tbsp of oil to eliminate the gooey substance. There are lots of really good recipes on the internet for bhindi masala( which is basically okra with onions…and sometimes tomates).
    As a kid, I only ate okra and tomato…no other veggies, not even potatoes, lol!

  11. First, I completely second Nena — pick SMALL. That’s one of the keys to not having excess fiber to the okra.

    If you don’t mind spicy, I like to eat okra with tomatoes, onion, and bacon. Slice the okra into rounds, liberally salt them and set in a strainer while you do the other steps.

    In a (preferably) deep cast-iron skillet with a lid, fry lardons of bacon until crispy. Add one chopped onion and saute until clear. Add one can of Rotel and two cans of diced tomatoes. Rinse the okra WELL — sweating it like this will pull some of the slimy, nasty out. The acid in the tomatoes will help cut the rest. Add the okra to the pot, liberal salt and pepper, simmer covered and stirring often until okra is tender. We LOVE it.

    As for gumbo recipes, go to http://www.jfolse.com — he really does have the best Cajun recipes to build on. I love okra gumbo, but husband likes it made with a roux, so I haven’t done the okra gumbo in a while now.

  12. Here in the middle east (where this veggie originated, I think) we use it in soups and stews, and as a vegetable side dish (as per the suggestions above, a kinda stewed tomato-onion-okra thing).

    You can search on “bamia” – that’s the Hebrew/Arabic word for both the veggie and the stew.

    If there’s enough other stuff going on in your soup, the okra should not be perceived as slimy. It will just thicken the soup.

    Fried okra consumes enormous amounts of oil – be warned.

  13. I must concur with Nana here. Frying is the only way that I’ve ever had okra where it wasn’t a disgusting slimy mess.

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