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Ever wondered why okra can be so, well, gross? When cooked incorrectly, this veggie can transform from a geometric pod into a brown, slimy mess. Turns out, this textural problem is due to a gelatinous substance called mucilage that is secreted when the plant is sliced open. This nasty-sounding compound is what makes okra such a great thickener in gumbo…and what makes it such an unwelcome component of certain well-meaning CSA stir fries served at vegan tables.
Not that we're knocking the veggie (or vegan communes—we think you're great!) but there is a better way to do okra. According to NPR's The Salt, okra is best prepared flash-fried. A quick cooking will negate the effects of the mucilage, giving the pods delicate flavor a chance to shine.
Still not sure how to cook it? Check out Coby Ming's recipe for Quick-Fried okra at the link below:
Okra: Love The Veggie, Lose The Slime from The Salt