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Suvir Saran

Okra

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I made Mayhaw Man's stewed okra and tomatoes yesterday. Jason had picked up some frozen whole baby okra and some sliced okra at the supermarket and he wanted me to cook it for him. After consultation with MM, we decided that the sliced was for the next batch of gumbo and the whole would be prepared as mentioned above. I tried to find the thread where this "recipe" appears, and can't. There's too damn many threads with okra in them. And that's saying something, if I can't find it. Or, perhaps it doesn't exist? Anyway, this seems like an appropriate a place as any to post.* I made it based on a Skype call with MM, so here's what I did:

  • Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
    2 oz piece thick Bacon, diced
    1 med Onion, diced
    1 lb bag frozen whole baby Okra
    1 28 oz can Italian Plum Tomatoes
    1 concentrated Chicken Stock ice cube
    herbs & seasoning (dried oregano, salt & pepper)
    In a large saute pan (with a lid), slowly cook the diced bacon to render the fat. Remove crisped pieces of bacon and set aside on a paper towel. Saute the onion until it begins to get translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the okra to the pan and combine with the onion. Lower heat. Shove the okra and onions to one side, pick the tomatoes out of the can with a fork, add to skillet a couple at a time and use a couple of butter knives to roughly chop them. (Strain the remaining seeds out of the leftover tomato juice in the can and make a Bloody Mary or Bloody Bull with it.) Stir up with the okra. Add the stock cube, some oregano (or whatever herbs you like, thyme & basil would be good too, I think), salt & pepper. Over high heat, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with something that can absorb the juice, like rice or pasta.

I still don't love the slippery texture of the okra, but Jason loved the dish. This was a damn fine preparation of okra and will go on our regular rotation. Oh, the bacon bits? I put them in with the seasonings and allowed them to stew (and get soft), next time I think I'll add them as a crispy garnish at the end. Brooks, what do you do with the bacon?

*If there's a better place to put this, please let me know and I'll move it.

Note: found the better place and this is it, so I moved it. Dammit! I forgot the garlic. This is what happens when you get a recipe orally and don't write it down. Oh well, next time it'll be even better.


Edited by Rachel Perlow (log)

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I'm trying to like this vegetable, it's healthy, and actually tastes good, but the slime factor is a bit much. I tried roasting, that was somewhat ok. Now I tried a raw recipe, just sliced thinly, some soy sauce, and some shaved bonito. Tastes great, but the whole thing turned into a giant slime ball, a green salty slime ball. Like something out of a giant's nose I guess.

Do you like Okra? If so, how do you make it? Is there a way to avoid the stringy slime? It looks like Alien saliva when I lift a spoon full out of the bowl...

before I give up on this, I'd love to hear from those that like this stuff and have a good or even great recipe to share :-)


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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The funny part of this is that I have always wondered what I was doing wrong as I got little slime. It has been a number of years but as I recall I always used it in soups or stews. I have read about frying it and it sounds good, but I tend to avoid dealing with masses of oil to dispose of. In her book The Spice Necklace Ann Venderhoof has a recipe for okra "poppers" (okra subbing for jalapenos) - the ribs and seeds are removed, stuffed with a cheesy mixture, coated and fried. I have not tried it but it appeals in a decadent way.

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I'd say using it in dishes where it isn't the main component (filé gumbo, for instance) is a good way to start liking okra. On its own it does tend towards the mucosal.... I for one like okra but can't stand it on its own unless it's fried - if you can get large enough pods, it's possible to shallow-fry slices of seeded pod, dusted in spiced cornmeal, like you would a fried green tomato, and that's quite yummy.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Fried or gumbo.

Hmmmmm....The Ann Venderhoof "poppers" sound real good, I'll have to look into that.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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Sliced into rounds, breaded with corn meal, and fried was a treat growing up.

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Dwight

If at first you succeed, try not to act surprised.

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It isn't slimy if it is fried. Don't get big pods. They are more tender if medium sized. Rinse, drain, slice into rounds, toss them in salted corn meal or flour or both together, add Cajun seasoning if you like. Place in strainer and toss to remove excess coating and fry in a little oil until just crispy. They are delicious and not slimy at all.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)

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If you don't want slime, the key is to dry it thoroughly before cooking. And as you will find, they are not easy to pat and wipe dry! Work at it.

Stirfry whole - there are some excellent Indian (especially Bengali) preparations. It's a revelation - a truly meaty, complex vegetable. I adore okra.

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If you don't want slime, the key is to dry it thoroughly before cooking.

That's the key. I assisted an Indian chef in her cooking classes years ago, and she regularly prepared okra for class menus. My job was to rinse the okra and dry each one individually with a dishtowel. Literally pat and rub each one dry with the towel. A flour cloth towel absorbs the dampness better than a terrycloth towel.

I know this method sounds tiresome, but it works. The chef said that ideally you do this individual drying, then let the okra dry further on the counter--on a fresh dry dishtowel--overnight.

It doesn't take as long as you may think. (How much okra do you eat, anyway?) Catch up on your audiobooks, or do the drying while sitting in front of the TV. :smile:


Edited by djyee100 (log)

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djyee is right - water triggers the slime reaction.

Lots of good Indian recipes for okra with no alien saliva. Julie Sahni has a good, simple recipe for stir-fried okra (bhindi sabzi) in Classic Indian Cooking. Sorry, I don't know how to make pretty links any more:

http://books.google.com/books?id=wC-xrLWouSIC&pg=PA309&dq=julie+sahni+stir-fried+okra&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zX9XUvv8HYW14AOIiYGwDQ&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=julie%20sahni%20stir-fried%20okra&f=false

This recipe helped convert Mrs. C to loving okra, There are more complicated versions, but this should get you started. Good luck!

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I've enjoyed them steamed whole until tender, thrown in a nice vinaigrette, eaten warm or cold. Didn't find them too slimy that way for some reason. Perhaps the water in the steam doesn't get in to activate the slime.

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One way I like them is as whole baby/small okra (no more than 2-3 inches long, entire - i.e. unsliced, caps on, just with the stem trimmed off to the cap) tossed into a soup like tom yum soup or other spicy shrimp/meat/whatever soup (all containing other stuff in it) at the last minute and simmered very briefly (maybe a minute or less) so that the okra is still almost raw/just cooked. Crunchy, non-slimy; soup preferably eaten immediately after finishing.

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Okra has been one of my favorite vegetables since I was a child. Fried as described above. Pickled and in gumbo. Any of the other treatments described would land me solidly in the Okra Haters Club.

Other than pickling, okra can be bought frozen already sliced for use in gumbo or even frying.

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I like them tossed with some olive oil and grilled whole on the grill or in a dry cast iron pan over high heat. Cook them until they brown/char some. I usually just use salt and pepper with the olive oil, but I can imagine that other seasonings would work well.


sparrowgrass

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Okra stew is THE national dish of Iraq, by which I mean a proper Iraqi household will make it several times a month. I grew up with it and love it, but even my white American, picky eater dad doesn't mind it.

The basic recipe is:

Brown meat (preferably bone in cuts of lamb)

Deglaze with water, add enough to let the meat braise

When meat is halfway done, add lots of tomato sauce and/or paste (it should be VERY tomatoey), add the okra and at least a head's worth of unpeeled garlic cloves

Towards the end (after about half an hour) add the juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste (it should be slightly sour). Once the meat is cooked and the okra is tender, it's done.

There are a few tricks for cooking it in liquid. The first is to cut off the stem end and tail end such that the holes show, then par-boil the pods and rinse very well. The boiling water will be viscous and slimy, so ditch that. The other way confines everything in the okra itself - just trim the stem such that the holes DON'T show. This is more time consuming, though.

Of course, I don't mind the mucilage :biggrin:

It goes without saying that I like Indian preparations, okra gumbo, pickled okra, etc. I've never had fried okra that was that interesting, it just seems to dry it out.

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oh, thanks all, some very tasty sounding ideas here! I got the breaded and fried from an other friend too, she fries them in bacon drippings, which sounds quite good!

I'll have a go at some of these for sure! I like the flavor and I'll probably make little patties with my left over "salad", bread them and fry them.

And I have to make a gumbo, something I never made but love to eat.

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"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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See, I don't care for ME or Indian food preparations. Okra as used in Indian or ME cookery is slimy and "yucky" to me.

Fresh okra that is tossed in cornmeal and seasoned flour, flash-fried in shallow oil is both crunchy and moist.

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You people are big babies. :-)

The whole idea of eating okra is because it has the "slime". Otherwise you might as well eat beans.

Okra without slime is like risotto without the creamy "cream".

There is a vegetable you can get in an Asian store that is very slimy, which I enjoy. I don't know what it is called.

dcarch

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There is a vegetable you can get in an Asian store that is very slimy, which I enjoy. I don't know what it is called.

I suspect you are thinking of what is commonly called "Malabar Spinach" in English"? Does it look like this or like this when bundled up for sale? It's also available in Indian/Pakistani groceries, Vietnamese & other E/SE Asian groceries...

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There is a vegetable you can get in an Asian store that is very slimy, which I enjoy. I don't know what it is called.

"I suspect you are thinking of what is commonly called "Malabar Spinach" in English"? Does it look like this or l-------"

Yes, it looks like that one. Very slimy and delicious.

dcarch

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In Puerto Rico, okra is often found in stews along with lentils and other root vegetables such as yucca and name (nah-may). Another way I make it is chop it up, dip it in egg, place the pieces in a bag of organic blue corn meal and shake it around until it is all coated. Then I bake it at 350 degrees until it's crispy, maybe for 1/2 hour. It doesn't come out slimy at all! I love okra, and the slimy part is actually what is good for the digestion.

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Y'all are really funny!

I've refrained from replying to this topic so far because of its stated purpose; I've never learned to like okra: not as okra in the USA, nor as "bamya" (just as slimy) in Egypt. There are some treatments uptopic that I'm willing to try. Maybe I too can become a convert.

But here's the challenge: what does okra taste like, to those of you who like it? Does it taste like a pepper, a mushroom, broccoli, celery?

"Tastes like chicken" doesn't count. :laugh:

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

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Uh, tastes like okra? (No, it *doesn't* taste like chicken ;-) )

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