Okra is a vegetable that people tend to have strong opinions about. Many show outright disdain for okra, finding its sliminess and viscosity to be a turn off.
Those of us who love okra take advantage of the short window of opportunity to cook with fresh okra. There’s an abundance of okra available at Farmers Markets throughout the South in July and August, but try to find suitable okra during the other months, and you’ll most likely go home empty-handed.
Indian spices have a natural affinity for okra. This recipe uses cumin, ginger, and coriander but other spices would work well- curry, paprika, and turmeric to name a few. In fact, okra does well with a lot of flavors and I’m surprised that there are so few ways it has been utilized in the kitchen. Traditionally in southern cooking you find fried okra, pickled okra, stewed tomatoes and okra, okra in gumbo, and that is about it. One of my favorite recipes of all time is this Okra Corn Salsa. And of course Fort Mill’s Heather McDonnell won The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars with her Gumbo Cupcake topped off with a piece of fried okra. That may be the most unique way I’ve seen okra used.
I find that whole okra is best eaten as a finger food.
Do you have a recipe that uses okra in a unique way?
Indian Spiced Okra (adapted from Allrecipes.com)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 pound fresh okra
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
- Cut the stem parts off the okra. I cut midway through the part with the widest circumference. This gets rid of most of the tough part, but does not expose the interior of the okra pod, which can cause sliminess to occur.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook just until beginning to soften.
- Add okra and seasonings. Stir to coat okra well.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove cover and turn heat back up to medium and cook several more minutes, until tender.