Discover 4 Mouthwatering Ways to Cook Okra and Transform Your Opinion on this Delectable Vegetable
Okra is a unique vegetable that garners a devoted following of diverse eaters. With its eggplant-like flavor and meaty texture, vegetarian cooks appreciate its heartiness in meatless dishes, while omnivores find it to be a versatile accompaniment to just about any meat, particularly when it comes hot off the grill. If you're skeptical about okra, it's likely because you haven't had it cooked correctly. However, with our secrets to preparing it, we're confident that you, too, will become an okra convert.
Test Kitchen Tip: Wondering how to cook okra without the slime? Fresh okra contains a thick, shiny liquid that may seem offputting to the uninitiated. Fortunately, cooking okra quickly at high heat removes the viscosity, or slime, making it more palatable. Therefore, our methods for cooking okra, such as grilling, roasting, and stovetop cooking, are all about speed.
Before you begin cooking, it's crucial to wash the okra thoroughly. Here's how:
- Place fresh okra in a colander and rinse it with cool tap water.
- Drain the okra well.
- Slice the okra, if your recipe calls for it.
How to cut okra: First, using a sharp paring knife, remove and discard the stems. Then, cut each okra pod crosswise into ½-inch slices, or as directed in your recipe. Keep in mind that 8 ounces of fresh okra will yield about two cups sliced.
To cook fresh okra on the stovetop, follow these steps:
Place the sliced okra in a saucepan, add enough water to cover the okra, and add salt to taste. Bring the water to a boil.
Cover the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the okra is tender.
Drain the okra well and, if desired, toss it with a little butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Test Kitchen Tip: Conveniently, okra season coincides with fresh tomato season, and the two pair excellently on the plate. Try this classic stovetop recipe for Southern Okra Mix, spiced with hot pepper sauce, for a delicious way to enjoy okra and tomatoes together.
To prepare the okra using the microwave, start by washing and slicing it as previously instructed. Then, follow these steps:
Place the okra in a microwave-safe casserole dish along with two tablespoons of water. Cover the dish and microwave on high for four to six minutes, or until the okra is tender. Make sure to stir it once during cooking. Once it's done, drain any excess liquid and add some butter for extra flavor. Finally, season with salt and pepper and serve.
If you're wondering how to cook frozen okra, it's easy – just follow the directions on the package. Frozen okra is particularly great for thickening soups and stews due to its viscous interior liquid. For a classic Louisiana-style frozen okra recipe, try making Chicken and Sausage Gumbo by following this link.
When it comes to frying okra, deep-frying is the way to go. A deep fryer is perfect because it allows you to set and regulate the frying temperature, but if you don't have one, you can use a large heavy pan and a deep-fry thermometer. Here's how to do it:
Wash the okra as previously instructed and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Prepare a coating using cornmeal and spices. Then, prepare an egg wash by beating an egg and adding one tablespoon of milk or water. Next, preheat your oil to 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip the okra pieces in the egg wash and then coat them with your desired mixture. Fry them in batches for three to four minutes until they're tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil, and place them onto paper towels to drain off any excess oil.
If you need to keep the okra warm while you fry the other batches, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and keep the already-fried okra inside.
Although our recipes call for fresh okra, frozen okra is softer in texture, making it ideal for recipes such as soups and stews – including gumbo, of course.
Roasting vegetables is an excellent way to enhance their flavor, and okra is no exception. Here's what you need to do:
Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil and set it aside. Wash a pound of whole fresh okra as previously instructed, but do not slice it. In a large bowl, mix two tablespoons of olive oil with one clove of minced garlic. Add the okra and toss it to combine. Arrange the okra in a single layer in the prepared baking pan, and then sprinkle it with salt, pepper, or any desired spices. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the okra is light brown. Shake the pan once during cooking to allow for even roasting. Finally, transfer the okra to a serving platter and enjoy!
If you're wondering if you can grill okra, the answer is yes! Remember, high heat is this veggie's best friend when it comes to preparation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Okra, a member of the mallow family, has long been a staple in Southern cooking. It originally traveled to the United States with Ethiopian slaves and the edible part of this plant is its oblong green pod.
What Are the Different Ways to Cook Okra?
Okra can be cooked in a variety of ways and remains delicious. While frying is the most common method, any technique involving high heat will yield great results.
What Is Okra's Nutritional Value?
One cup of raw okra contains only 33 calories and only 0.19 grams of fat. However, it also contains 3.2 grams of dietary fiber, 82 mg of calcium, and 299 mg of potassium.
When Is Okra in Season?
Fresh okra is at its peak from March through November, but it is also available year-round throughout the southern United States. When shopping for okra, look for small, crisp, brightly colored pods without any blemishes or brown spots. Avoid any shriveled pods.
How Should I Store Fresh Okra?
To keep your fresh okra as crisp as possible, keep it refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to three days.
So, for all you okra enthusiasts, we've shared our tips on how to prepare and enjoy this cherished vegetable. And to any skeptics out there, we encourage you to give okra a try using one of our proven methods. We're confident you won't be disappointed.
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