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Okra Help. (!)

Alright, okra whisperers: I have a bounty of the stuff. I've fried it into oblivion, which is great. Now I'd like to make some sort of stew (maybe tomato-based?), but all of my precious attempts have turned gummy and gross. Who's got tips or tricks to share?

asked by Rivka almost 7 years ago

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29 answers 3186 views
Droplet
added almost 7 years ago

I personally don't like okra too much, but it was cooked into a stew in our house when I was growing up, and my grandmother makes it occasionally too. The stew they make has potatoes, onions, eggplant and carrots in it and it all cooks in a tomato based sauce in a dutch oven for several hours. I can't recall how they treat the okra when it is fresh, but they blanch and freeze it for making this in the winter, in which case the frozen okra is spread in a couple if layers in between the slightly precooked vegetables directly without precooking it, and then goes directly in the oven. The blanching removes part of the sliminess, though not all. I have heard that adding vinegar to the blanching waters really helps with this. I also recall my grandmother using canned okra in tomato sauce. What is important about canning it though is that it needs a really long water bath time ( somewhere in the range of 3 hours, compared to 10-15 minutes for other things).
http://blog.al.com/living...

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petitbleu
added almost 7 years ago

I've had a lot of luck with slicing the okra into 1/2 inch pieces (you can also just cut the okra in half lengthwise) and roasting them in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. This seems to take out a lot of the sliminess. After roasting, proceed with your recipe.
I also love pickled okra, and, believe it or not, raw okra. Eaten raw, okra does not have the sliminess that cooked okra often has.

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mrslarkin
added almost 7 years ago

I hate the slimy goo factor, too.

I once sliced okra into reallllly thin rounds and quickly tossed it in a hot pan w a little oil, and I can't remember what else. Didn't cook the hell out of it, and it was pretty enjoyable. Full disclosure: I was the only one in the house who ate it...we have veggie issues.

Sorry i'm no help whatsoever with your stew!! Good luck with that, and keep us posted.

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TheRunawaySpoon
added almost 7 years ago

Okra is traditional in gumbo, and it works as a thickener. Google traditional gumbo recipes, or look into a Louisiana cookbook and you should find some great ideas.

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susan g
added almost 7 years ago

Best okra I ever had (though I haven't had much)
From Time-Life Cooking of India --Sabzi Bhendi -- Wash 1 pound fresh okra, scrape away the fuzz. Pat dry. Heat 3 Tb ghee in a 10 - 12" heavy skillet. Add 1 sliced onion, 1 tsp salt, stir 7-8 min, til golden brown. Add okra, 1 Tb ground cumin, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper. Cook and stir for 25 min, when okra is tender and most liquid is evaporated. Serve at once.

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Sam1148
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 7 years ago

Pickle it like you would dill pickles, whole okra not sliced. I hate okra slime stuff in stews.and prefer fried.

But pickled it's rather nice...especially for a bloody mary garnish.

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Rivka
added almost 7 years ago

Thanks for all the ideas, everyone! I'm also a big fan of pickled okra, and am contemplating doing that instead of risking the goo in stew. An added bonus: it's hot here, and I'd love to avoid the cooking. Wish me luck.

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Sam1148
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 7 years ago

Another thing you could do with some is dry it...grind it.

I'm not an expert for New Orleans style cooking. But I seem to remember dried okra was used in some gumbos as a thickening agent.

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Panfusine
added almost 7 years ago

Any acid would tackle the proteinaceous slime, so maybe you could cut it & drizzle some lemon juice on it. before adding to a stew
Disclaimer: I'd rather starve than pop an okra down my throat. Despise the vegetable!

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lorigoldsby
added almost 7 years ago

When I make gumbo, I use frozen okra....add it the last 20-30 minutes. This allows it to retain some shape as it slowly thaws in the stew and does provide some natural thickening.

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creamtea
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added almost 7 years ago

My kids really like okra. I haven't made it in awhile, but my farm-bred babysitter used to advise slicing with a very sharp knife then don't allow to sit around: cook right away (we sautee'd it till some parts were brown). Moroccan recipes call for stringing them whole on a sewing thread then adding them to stew or sauteeing. Love the crunchy little seeds inside that burst in your mouth.

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Summer of Eggplant
added almost 7 years ago

I usually try not slice okra, if I do, I slice it vertically rather than horizontally. I have no scientific evidence for this but I find it does not get slimy this way, perhaps it's an okra urban myth. And I never remove the cap. However, that doesn't help your stew dilemma. My favorite way to make okra is whole on the grill. I toss it with some olive oil and soy sauce, skewer it with two skewers for easier turning, and throw it on the grill for a few minutes over medium high heat. The other night I julienned it and sauteed it with olive oil, salt and sherry vinegar. I'm also a huge fan of bhindi masala.

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mcd2
added almost 7 years ago

i grew up in east tennessee in a family from northern ohio. i loved the crunchy fried okra circles that the locals made but didn't really know how to make it their way. when i started cooking in my teens i disliked the slime factor too so i just cooked the whole pods-battered-in oil (NOT deep fried), can't remember the exact batter i used (probably just egg and then flour). they were delicious. crunchy outside with seeds inside that kind of popped in your mouth. NO slime. i'll have to try that again just for fun.

maybe that would be a solution for your stew-leave the pods whole (not battered of course). the slime would dry up or disappear in the cooked pod but not goo up the stew. the flavor of okra in a gumbo is pretty important to distinquish it from a vegetable soup taste. it does add a flavor that you wouldn't want to leave out .

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mcd2
added almost 7 years ago

just thought of another idea. maybe you used too many okra pods in your stew. in the gumbos i've made the proportion of okra was about half as much as any other vegetable. just to add a flavor but not a gelatinous quality to the broth. i think i sliced it just before adding it to the stew-near the end (maybe 20 min before the end)-when the shrimp went in. i haven't made gumbo in years either because i couldn't find okra in minnesota until recently.

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lorigoldsby
added almost 7 years ago

SummerofEggplant....okra urban myth--LOVE it! Wasn't enough to "like" it...I needed something to chuckle about after reading Jenny's column this morning.

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Panfusine
added almost 7 years ago

Speaking of okra... CNN had this article today
http://eatocracy.cnn.com...

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healthierkitchen
added almost 7 years ago

I recently read (maybe in Fine Cooking?) to BBQ it! It was great! Just a little olive oil and salt and threw it into one of those grill baskets. Let it get a little charred - no slime - and there was a nice remoulad type dipping sauce that I didn't do, but I could track it down if you're interested.

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Rivka
added almost 7 years ago

Hey healthierkitchen, good call! I can't grill at the moment - no outdoor space - but all that will change in the fall, when we move to a place with a real, live, actual deck. Can't wait.

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Droplet
added almost 7 years ago

I came across these:
http://www.saveur.com/article...
http://www.saveur.com/article...

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pauljoseph
added almost 7 years ago

TIP : Saute okra in oil till the sides turn light brown in color. Remove and toss with salt.
Very good recipe http://en.petitchef.com...

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pierino
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 7 years ago

Learn to love the slime! Gumbo absolutely---Sam, file is actually dried sassafras root, not okra, but fresh okra does act as a thickening agent. Okra originated in Africa and made it's way to the southern USA as a by product of the slave trade. It made it's way into the creole kitchens of the south via slave cooks, New Orleans being the perfect example. Maybe try a cornmeal batter and deep fry it. Honestly, I love the stuff and it's a very healthy vegetable to eat.

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Rivka
added almost 7 years ago

Nice recipes, droplet! I'm going to try both this weekend.

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aargersi
aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 7 years ago

I am a fan of stewed okra - I find that when I cook sliced okra with tomato and onion it isn't slimy - maybe the acid in the tomato helps? Also don't cook it to death, only until just tender. And, incidentally, grilled okra is on the menu tonight (after reading the snot just for frying article above)

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SKK
SKK
added almost 7 years ago

You are so luck to have an abundance of okra! It is selling for $8.99 a pound here in Seattle! My brother-in-law has a barbecue restaurant and he smokes everything. He tosses them whole in a little bit of oil, seasons them with whatever sounds good and smokes them. Kind of along HealthierKitchen's recommendation. They are so, so good!

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Rivka
added almost 7 years ago

$8.99/lb? Yowza. Mine were 2.99 at the local farmers mkt. I love the idea of smoking them - will have to try that.

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SKK
SKK
added almost 7 years ago

@Rivka - Yowza pretty much captures it for the price!

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Knuka
added almost 7 years ago

I think I can help you with this. I'm originally from Greece and we have some basic rules in Greek cuisine about cooking okra. The most basic is that you should always cook the okra whole and avoid stirring. Only when you cut or damage the okra by stirring, it becomes slimy. You should try to maintain it as intact as possible when cooking. For the same reason, just before we cook okra, we sprinkle it with vinegar and let it sit for 30mins. The vinegar helps keep them firm and gives them an amazing taste after they are cooked. Last tip, try to avoid using okra that is big and therefore hard to stew. The best okra is the small okra that you find frozen in Middle Eastern shops.

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jdkjd
added almost 7 years ago

As I get random ripe okra in the garden, I throw them into stirfrys or veggie sautes (squash, onions, garlic and sometimes jalapenos) both in thick slices and whole. Yummy.

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jdkjd
added almost 7 years ago

As I get random ripe okra in the garden, I throw them into stirfrys or veggie sautes (squash, onions, garlic and sometimes jalapenos) both in thick slices and whole. Yummy.

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