Have you tried okra before? As am sure you know, they are also called ‘ladies fingers’. Less well known is the vegetable called ‘gentleman’s toes’ – I kid you not! They are also known as ‘tindora’ or ‘ivy gourds’ – check out my recipe here if you interested – it’s actually super tasty. Anyway back to okra. I’ve been eating them a fair amount on my recent travels so thought I would continue to include them in our diet now that we are back home in London.
Thankfully I live near loads of Asian grocers so sourcing them is very easy. I had a lot of positive feedback on instagram about sharing the recipe with you when I put it onto my instastories.
My friend, Harriet aka @thenutritionalbean who is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, Nutritionist and Health Coach, based in Bruton, kindly shared some nutritional facts on okra with me that I thought you would benefit from reading too.
“Overall, okra appears to be a nutritional powerhouse and particularly useful for diabetics and those with digestive complaints. It delivers carotene (vitamin A), folate, vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, C, E and K needed for our immune system, energy production and cardiovascular health, plus amino acids for growth and repair. Okra is packed with minerals and antioxidant-rich phytochemicals (the plant’s natural defence system that also help keep our cells protected from damage). Not only nutritionally replete, okra is used for its wide-ranging medicinal qualities. As you may know, once cooked, these ladies’ fingers become mucilaginous and for this reason are used, like marshmallow, for soothing an inflamed and irritated digestive tract. Okra may also stop Helicobacter Pylori, a wide-ranging and often nasty bacteria that can lead to ulcers, from adhering to the stomach lining. The specific fibre content is shown to help keep our blood sugar levels stable, keep inflammation in check and improve triglyceride and lipid profiles. Studies on Type 2 Diabetic rats are finding that their condition improves after eating okra.”
Some people are put off with the texture, but I find if you dry the okra properly after washing then the gooeyness is minimal. I have another similar recipe for okra here which uses less ingredients and has a slightly different taste. If you want to make the dish more Middle Eastern then try this one, which includes tomatoes and butterbeans.
Indian Spiced Okra
2 tbsp vegetable oil
10 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (optional)
2 small green chillies, sliced lengthways
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
- First wash the okra and then lay them out on a tea towel and cover with kitchen roll so that they become dry completely.
- Slice off the end of the okra and discard and then slice them, width ways, to one inch pieces, or you can slice on the diagonal, about three times per okra.
- In a deep frying pan or wok, add the oil and when it is hot add the mustard seeds and curry leaves for 20 seconds before adding the onion. Keep on a medium heat and move the onion around the pan for about 5 minutes, so that the onion begins to colour.
- Stir in the spices and then add the garlic, chilli, followed by the okra.
- Add the salt and gently fry for 10-15 minutes, moving the okra around the pan until it softens.
- This is a dry dish so do not expect there to be much of a sauce. The spices will coat the okra.