There are plenty of okra haters in the world. Many folks just can’t get past the slimy texture. Despite its bad rap, okra is highly nutritious and when cooked well, the slime just disappears like magic!
Okra is actually a fruit because it contains seeds but isn’t as sweet as others that contain seeds like apples, so it is categorized as a veggie. “Ladies fingers,” another name for okra, can lose its slime when they are roasted or prepared with vinegar or lemon juice during prep work.
But wait, okra can also be eaten raw; you can toss it in salads to add kick. The superfood is not only low in calories but contains calcium, protein, fat, fiber, potassium and magnesium. It also offers a nice boost of vitamins A, C and K that aid in immunity.
Besides being packed with nutrients, okra can help prevent diabetes, relieve constipation, decrease asthma symptoms and help lift the spirits of folks who are depressed, or extremely tired all the time. If you’re battling skin issues, okra can help keep acne away, and give skin a radiant glow.
When shopping for okra, look for smooth, blemish-free and bright green pods. When pods are spotted, shriveled, or on the brown side, they are old and used to make rope and paper, so steer clear!
Tip: Water brings out the sliminess in okra so don’t wash it until you are ready to cook it. Let the okra sit at room temperature for a while before using it. The liquid that makes okra feel slimy comes out when you cut the okra so try to limit your cutting. If you do need to chop okra up, make sure to cut them into big pieces so that there is less slime to escape it. Cook the okra using high heat and make sure its dry beforehand.
Here is a good old southern fave, fried okra:
- 1 pound fresh okra
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
Gather all of your ingredients.
Trim the stem ends off the okra pods.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons water. Beat them well so the mixture is kind of watery. Set aside.
In a second large bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder. Set aside.
In a large heavy pot, heat at least half an inch of oil to 350 F to 375 F. Measure the temperature with a thermometer. Or, test it by dipping a piece of bread or the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil—it should sizzle immediately and steadily. If it doesn’t sizzle, it’s not hot enough. If it bubbles up violently, it is too hot.
While the oil heats, put the okra in the egg and toss it to thoroughly coat the pods. Lift the okra out, letting as much excess egg drip off as possible.
Working in batches of 4 pods, use one hand to put the egg-coated okra in the cornmeal and the other hand to toss it and to coat it completely with the cornmeal mixture.
Put the coated okra on a plate or baking sheet. Repeat with remaining okra pods.
Fry the coated okra in batches. The pods should be in a single layer and they shouldn’t touch. Fry each batch until the coating turns brown and crispy.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked okra to a layer of paper towels to drain.
Repeat the process.
Serve fried okra with horseradish (if you like things hot) or even sour cream.