Okra Seed Couscous (and Cornstarch-Like Thickener) Method

June  1, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Clark Barlowe
  • Makes a variable amount
What You'll Need
  • Overgrown okra
  1. Find large okra. The farmers will have this in abundance in the late summer, July, and August seem to be our best months for it in NC, but it can vary climate to climate obviously.
  2. As soon as you see okra at the markets just put the word out; “you will be willing to buy any "overgrown" okra the farmers are willing to sell.” This will have the added bonus of allowing you to further your relationship with them as, you may be surprised what you are offered in the future.
  3. Once you have the large okra, remove the top and split the pod lengthwise. Wear gloves at this point to avoid any spines the okra pods may have ending up in your hands.
  4. Remove the seeds from the pods and reserve.
  5. With the remaining pods, dehydrate at 160° F for 2 to 3 days until completely dry.
  6. Powder the pods in a bar blender and sift through a fine mesh strainer. We have found this powder offers most of the same thickening properties as cornstarch.
  7. With the remaining seeds, you have two options, we typically blanch and freeze all of them for fall and winter applications when we would be working more with legumes.
  8. For summer applications, you can simply blanch and serve as a hot couscous substitute or cool and use for salads. They also have the bonus of being completely gluten free.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

3 Reviews

Kitchen B. June 18, 2018
This is pure genius. In Nigeria, we use okro both fresh and dried. The dried okro is indeed pulverised and used as a stew thickener. I've bought overgrown okro a few times and tried to saute/ grill. It wasn't awesome. This thus is genius, and I'm eager to try it. Thank you
paizley October 18, 2017
I took the seeds and simmered them in water with garlic, black pepper and butter...kind of like corn kernels!
[email protected] October 3, 2017
THANK YOU!! This is the first viable resource I've found on using overgrown okra pods that didn't say "save the seeds" or "compost." I was thinking about just using them for stock, but feared they'd be bitter. Seed cous-cous + compost pods sounds like a good compromise to me! xo