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Okra Minus The Mucus

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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

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Comments (5)


about 3 years ago shortcutmaster

Yes slime is positively not nice to either look at, touch or taste so we have to get rid of it. My way is simple. Wash the okra- drain out the water - towel dry by rolling it around in a cloth - chop.
Now place the chopped okra in a baking tin and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of oil on it. Mix the oil into the okra with your fingers. Bake at 200 deg C for 10 mins in a preheated oven. Leave for about 10 minutes in the cooling oven. You will never have slime!


about 3 years ago avimom

If you saute it long enough, the slime does go away. I love it that way with roasted tomatoes and parm.


about 3 years ago HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

I really like okra. It actually has a very subtle almost peppery flavor when it isn't slimy, but then I kind of like the slime :)


about 3 years ago susan greeley

Do any of us really need to hear about mucus with food?


about 3 years ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

We hear that. The gummy substance inside of okra that is released during the cooking process is actually called 'mucilage' though, so all puns/references there were as good as unavoidable!