An Ode to Okra

I’ve spoken before about my love of quinoa, but never about my obsession with okra.  Unless you are from the south or the tropics, you have probably never heard of okra.  Okra is a long green pod that looks like witches fingers, yum appetizing!

It is a summer vegetable meaning it should be available in grocery stores now.  Now, how do you cook these pods?

Okra can be steamed, stir fried, fried, or baked just like most other vegetables, but be warned ,Okra has some interesting properties.  The plant is mucilaginous, meaning that when the seed pods are cooked they secrete a slime or goo.  Witch fingers indeed!  This goo actually contains a usable form of soluble fiber, and can add depth and thickness to a sauce or curry.

For those who dislike slime, the pods can be cooked whole.  This should minimize the slime.  Cooking the pods for a long period of time in a stew should also reduce the slime.

A glimpse into my fridge the other day showed a bag of okra and a cup of yellow heirloom tomatoes from my neighbor’s garden waiting to be cooked.  Here’s what I made:

 

Quinoa over a bed of Okra and tomato stew (serves 1)

IMG_3371

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pre-cooked quinoa

1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive)

1/4 vidalia onion chopped

1 cup chopped okra

6 small tomatoes cut into quarters

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

In a large frying pan or skillet, saute the onion with the melted coconut oil and a pinch salt until the onion is soft and golden brown.

Add the okra and tomatoes and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until the okra is a dark green and is no longer crunchy to taste.  The tomatoes should also form a type of sticky sauce with the goo from the okra.

Season with fresh basil and cracked pepper and serve with the quinoa.

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