Okra

Okra

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

The rigid green seed pods, elegantly curved and pointed, have a flavour resembling that of eggplants (aubergines) but with a somewhat mucilaginous texture. Okra, also called ladies’ fingers or gumbo, is used extensively in Creole cooking, particularly in the soup-stew Gumbo. It is also used in Indian curries, and in many Middle Eastern dishes.

Choose crisp, fresh, green-coloured pods that are no more than 10 cm long. The pods should snap easily and the seeds be firm but not hard. Avoid any pods that are shrivelled, limp, bruised or a dull green.

Okra can also be purchased tinned from most supermarkets or delicatessens. Rinse the pods well in cold running water to get rid of the viscous juices before using unless the recipe is for gumbo, curry or meat stew, which may need the juices to give the texture required.

Basic preparation: Wash the pods, carefully remove the tip and the cap – a fringe-like top where the pod meets the stem. Do not cut the pod and expose the seeds and sticky juices inside. This helps prevent the pods splitting and losing shape during cooking when serving whole.

Buttered Okra: Place prepared whole okra pods in lightly salted simmering water. Simmer, uncovered, for 8–10 minutes or until tender and still crisp. Drain and serve tossed in butter.

Okra with Fresh Tomato Sauce: Prepare as for Buttered Okra, but omit the butter and serve in Fresh Tomato Sauce, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

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