Okra may be a vegetable most shy away from because of its slimy texture. But this green vegetable that is the main ingredient in its namesake, gumbo, is packed with nutrients and vitamins. It can be cooked in a variety of ways to appease even the pickiest of eaters, and should be a part of your daily diet.

Adding okra to a dish is an inexpensive way to incorporating more fiber to your diet. According to the Department of Trade and Industry’s price watch dated April 10, 2018, okra costs an average of 40 PHP per kilo, or around 12 PHP per bundle (approx. 10-15 pieces of okra). Okra contains a lot of soluble fibers which makes this vegetable a good filler food. It will keep you fuller for longer without adding a ton of calories, and it promotes healthy digestion. The okra helps fight h.pylori bacteria, which causes gastritis.

Okra contains potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium, while remaining low in calories. Studies show that it helps manage blood sugar and stabilizes cholesterol, and fights fatigue because of all its antioxidants.

If okra turns you off because of the slime, prepare or pre-cook it with an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. Cooking it with some oil over very high heat (e.g. roasting, pan-frying, grilling) or blanching it before adding to a dish also cuts the sliminess. You can also pickle okra and add it to salads.

 

Watch my okra video below!

Recipe:

Ingredients

Okra, sliced in half at a diagonal

2 cloves garlic

1 red onion

About 110g ground pork

Black beans

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp vinegar

1 bay leaf

Fresh basil

Black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Sauté okra in oil over medium high heat until brown. Take off heat and set aside.
  2. Add oil to pan and cook garlic, red onion, ground pork, and black beans. Once pork is browned, add soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and bay leaf.
  3. Add okra back to the pan. Add fresh basil and season with black pepper to taste.

 

Recipes that utilize the unique texture of okra are gumbos and stews. The okra helps the stew become thicker and silky. Here are some other okra recipes you can try:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Okra Fry

Skillet-Roasted Okra and Shrimp

Grilled Okra with Lemon-Basil Dipping Sauce

Okra and Chickpea Tagine

Pickled Okra and Shrimp Salad

Spicy Tamarind Stewed Fish and Okra

 

What are your favorite okra recipes? Share them in the comments below so I can try them out!

 

Erwan Heussaff
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