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Suvir Saran

Okra

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What do you do to reduce the sliminess of Okra?

I am sure there are some that love the slime... but a larger number do not.

In fact, it is a great favorite of hundreds of millions of Indians.. and mostly because in most all of its renderings, you never find it slimy.

I am sad to see that most Indian restaurants do not make an effort to get rid of the sliminess. And in homes, one finds amazing preparations... I have never met an Okra hater that has eaten a meal with me and not become an Okra fan.

That leads me to ask all cooks here what they do to make Okra edible to those that do not care for the slime associated with Okra.

I am sure there are many recipes for those that like its slime... But I am always asked for recipes that do not have slime.... :wink:

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I like okra that has been cut and then cooked because the slime is gone, such as what is found in gumbo.

I cannot stand whole fried okra, which is much like biting into a snotpod. :shock:

I am also interested in slime-reducing recipes.

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I buy small, under 2" long, pods, roll them around on a plate with salt, pepper and olive oil, then grill them on a stove-top grill. They are crunchy, not slimy. I usually include them in a larger platter of assorted grilled vegetables. Perhaps prolonged cooking releases the slime?


eGullet member #80.

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I buy small, under 2" long, pods

I do the same. It is an ordeal... at Union Square market... I am always sneered at for picking Okra so carefully. But I cannot stand eating old overgrown Okra. There is not much worse than Okra that is old, tough and slimy.

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I like okra that has been cut and then cooked because the slime is gone, such as what is found in gumbo. 

I cannot stand whole fried okra, which is much like biting into a snotpod. :shock:

I am also interested in slime-reducing recipes.

I cut it into fine pieces when making chopped okra. And also arrange the pieces in a single layer. That helps in cooking them evenly and also makes sure you do not need to handle them too much.

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But I cannot stand eating old overgrown Okra.

How are large (over 4 inches), extremely tough and stringy okra cooked? I've seen people buying them at farmer's markets and I made the mistake of buying them once. They were freshly picked and the tips had a nice snap, so I thought maybe big okra aren't always tough. I was very wrong. They were hard and completely inedible even after braising for hours. I wasn't going to eat them afterwards, I was just checking to see if they would ever soften.

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Growing up in Cleveland, I had no experience whatsoever with okra until I moved to Japan in my 20's.

Here in Japan it is particularly revered for its sliminess and most recipes actually make the most of it. Of course there are lots of slimy things over here.

There only way I prepare it that it is not slimy, is an Indian recipe I use for "dry" okra (sookhi bhindi) were they are sliced (about 1/2" thick) and then "sauteed" with lots of oil and spices.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Growing up in Cleveland, I had no experience whatsoever with okra until I moved to Japan in my 20's.

Here in Japan it is particularly revered for its sliminess and most recipes actually make the most of it. Of course there are lots of slimy things over here.

There only way I prepare it that it is not slimy, is an Indian recipe I use for "dry" okra (sookhi bhindi) were they are sliced (about 1/2" thick) and then "sauteed" with lots of oil and spices.

And how I love Sukhi Bhindi...

It is actually a treat for all of ones senses... Not sure why I feel that way.. but I love okra.. and that particular rendering can be a most basic okra recipe from the Indian repertoire, but if cooked right... not many dishes come close to where it can take ones palate...

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But I cannot stand eating old overgrown Okra.

How are large (over 4 inches), extremely tough and stringy okra cooked? I've seen people buying them at farmer's markets and I made the mistake of buying them once. They were freshly picked and the tips had a nice snap, so I thought maybe big okra aren't always tough. I was very wrong. They were hard and completely inedible even after braising for hours. I wasn't going to eat them afterwards, I was just checking to see if they would ever soften.

They get used in my compost pile....

I have never understood what people do with that dry and hard stuff....

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There was a previous thread on okra here, but it dealt with reducing its sliminess. What we haven't had yet is a thread that's exclusively concentrated on ways to use okra to make delicious dishes.

As far as I know, there are basically two paradigms:

(1) Deemphasize the mucilagenity and emphasize its quality as a vegetable all its own (e.g. in Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian cuisine)

(2) Use it as a thickening agent (e.g. in gumbo)

But in any case, I think this vegetable needs some advocacy here. So share your thoughts about how to get best use out of this unique bean.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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We love okra but I agree that it is not very versatile. I like to cut off the stems and sauté whole with tomatoes (preferably fresh) until crisp tender. Okra alone are good this way, especially if you add a squeeze of lemon juice.

I too would like to hear other suggestions but I do not like them (or any other vegetable) when they are cooked to a soft state


Ruth Friedman

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my mom always made it by cutting into small-ish piece or halving lengthwise, rubbing with chili powder and turmeric, and a little salt and sauteeting past the stringiness so it was crispy.


Edited by tryska (log)

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I am from Missouri, so of course I like mine breaded and deep fried. In an effort to cut calories, I tried sorta dry-frying, without breading, in a lightly oiled cast iron pan--pan-roasting on top of the stove?--and enjoyed the result. I used little ones and left them whole or maybe cut in two pieces.

I love okra.


sparrowgrass

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Sliced into rounds, breaded in a light milk/flour/egg batter and fried - no cornmeal in the breading, that just makes it gritty. The flour batter makes them turn out like tempura - much nicer, and less likely to turn into little hard inedible knots.


"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard

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hannah - i love your sig.


Edited by tryska (log)

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Oh good lord... this is going to set off Mayhaw Man.

Rob Walsh's Are You Really Going to Eat That? has a great essay on the slimy, creepy little vegetable. :raz:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I have yet been unsuccessful duplicating the okra at Malay Satay Hut... It's cut in large pieces, soft, but not quite mushy, and the seeds are crunchy and have a fish-egg like bursting texture. The salty/pungent flavor of the belachan (shrimp paste) sauce its in is great with the bitter/vegetal flavor of the okra.

The best way I've made it is whole, in a curry with scallops and tomatoes:

p8260005.jpg

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Many thanks to everyone on the okra suggestions. All of a sudden my local market has them in abundance, but the slime factor was intimidating.

I have a question: when frying or 'crisping', does that eliminate the mucilagenous (sp??) factor? Should it be very high heat, quick fry, serve immediately or it turns to mush?

I'm a major fan of pickled okra if anyone has a recipe.

thanks!

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Now I am curious, hathor. Fresh okra this time of year? Is it greenhouse grown? Okra is a hot summertime climate vegetable.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I looooove okra! :biggrin:

You can do millions of things with it, you can eat it raw, blanch it, boil it, sautee it, stirfry it, braise it, deep-fry it, bake it, grill it......

Blanch it and mix it with some wasabi and soy sauce for a great accompaniment to rice, sautee it with some fresh tomatoes and corn splashed with tabasco, slice it raw and drop it into soup or natto! :biggrin: Skewer them and grill them at your next BBQ, or blanch them, mash them up with some ginger and serve them with cold blocks of tofu and tomatoes drizzled with a good soy.

i2040.jpg


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Hathor, the Indian dishes I'm most familiar with panfry okra in a masala (spice mixture) that was previously fried in oil or ghee (a lot or a little fat, depending on your preference). The key for that style is not to have lots of liquid and not to overcook. But if you turn up the heat too high, you'll burn the masala, and that won't be any good.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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Oh good lord... this is going to set off Mayhaw Man.

Rob Walsh's Are You Really Going to Eat That? has a great essay on the slimy, creepy little vegetable. :raz:

After that excited intro I will have to be very careful about just how I go about praising this noble pod.

I like okra and while I will be the first to admit it is not exactly the Swiss Army knife of vegetables, it can be used in a number of tasty and family impressing recipes (just don't ever cook any if Fifi is coming over, she is immovable in her dislike of okra-Texans just dig in and are kind of hard to deal with sometimes :wink: ).

My favorite is plain old Okra and Tomatoes (O and T around the M. household).

Sautee one medium yellow onion in BACON GREASE

When the onions are just starting to go soft throw in 1 lb. of okra and 4 or 5 cloves of garlic (resist yelling BAM! at this point)

Add 2 large ripe tomatoes and about 1/2 cup chicken stock

Cover and simmer for about twenty minutes.

Call your friends and sit down to a delicious okra feast. :raz:

I will be back later in the program with more exciting recipes from our Long Green Friend, Mr. Okra. :laugh:


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I've seen some interesting Carribean recipes that sound good but that I haven't tried.

Fungi -- basically polenta, add in cooked chopped okra, butter, salt and pepper

(I'm thinking the 'slime' may not be an issue here, and for me, that's a good thing)

Callaloo -- stew with okra, scotch bonnets, and special greens (but can sub spinach and/or kale). Can also make a crab version.

Anyone had or made either of these? I've been intrigued and have heard personal raves on the crab callaloo...

I should probably also post this on the Carribean board.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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