A Global Roundup of Okra Recipes

Simple Fried Okra with Onions
Spicy African-Style Okra
Basic Indian-Style Sauteed Okra
Spiced Indian-Style Sauteed Okra
Indian-Style Okra and Tomatoes
Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh)
Okra and Corn Casserole
Southern Fried Okra
Louisiana Gumbo
Dill Pickled Okra

Okra is from the same plant family as cotton and hibiscus. So the crop thrives where those plants also grow well — in hot climates around the world. Okra has been incorporated into the cuisine of many countries in hot climes, from the American South to Africa, the Middle East and India. Generally speaking, the larger okra pods get, the tougher they become. But some varieties remain tender even when the pods grow to six or eight inches in length. The true test of tenderness occurs when you slice the pods with a knife. If you have to saw your way through them, they’ll be too woody to eat. Rinsing the okra will reduce the sliminess somewhat.


Okra from the farmers market in Santa Monica, Calif., Sept. 14, 2005

Simple Fried Okra With Onions [top]

1 lb. okra
3 tablespoons oil
2 large onions
1 teaspoon salt

1. Wash the okra and pat dry with absorbent paper. Cut into 1 1/3-inch disks.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and fry onions till soft. Add the okra and salt, and stirring gently, continue frying until the okra is cooked, about 10-12 minutes.

Spicy African-Style Okra [top]

1-1/2 lb. okra, sliced in 1/3-inch disks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large, ripe tomatoes, diced
1 fresh hot chile (habanero, serrano or jalapeno), pierced with a fork
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Rinse sliced okra in a colander under hot water.

2. Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes (including juice) and chile and boil, stirring, until tomatoes are softened and liquid is reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Add okra and cook, gently stirring, until okra is tender, about 5 minutes. Discard chilis and stir in salt and pepper.

Basic Indian-Style Sauteed Okra [top]

1-1/2 lbs okra
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, sliced thin
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper

1. Saute the onions and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. Add the okra and saute another 5 minutes. The okra should be a bright green after this.

2. Add the spices and mix to coat the okra with them. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the okra is tender.

3. Uncover and cook down until any water is gone.

Spiced Indian-Style Sauteed Okra [top]

1 lb fresh okra
2 big onions
1 ripe tomato
1 tablespoon fresh or dry coconut powder
1/4 bunch of cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoon any vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon any sambar powder
Salt to taste

1. Wash okra in a bowl of lukewarm water, and remove all the moisture using paper towels, it should be dry to cut. Slice okra crosswise into1/2-inch thickness. Chop onions, tomato and cilantro into small pieces.

2. Heat oil in pan and add mustard seeds, stirring until they split up, then add chopped onions and fry till golden brown. Add chopped okra and fry until dark brown. Add chopped tomato and continue frying on medium high heat until water evaporates.

3. Add coconut powder, tamarind paste, sambar powder, cilantro and salt with a bit more water and cook for 15 -20 more minutes. If you like, you can add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.

Indian-Style Okra and Tomatoes [top]

2 pounds okra
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
16 ounces stewed tomatoes
1 onion, minced
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons vinegar
4 each garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 chopped green chilis
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Wipe okra gently with moist kitchen towel. Cut each into 4 pieces and set aside.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet. Add onions, garlic, cumin seed, chilis (optional), and cilantro. Saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add turmeric. Stir once or twice.

3. Add tomatoes, vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.

4. Add okra, black pepper and salt. Cover and cook until okra is tender, about 20 minutes

Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh) [top]

1 pound small okra pods
1/2 pound stew meat cubed
4 oz. tomato paste or
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon turmeric
3 tablespoons cooking oil
salt and pepper

1. Trim the stems from the okra pods. Avoid cutting into the pods, leaving the caps on the ends intact so that the pods will retain their shape while cooking. Wash and drain the okra.

2. In a medium pot, fry the onions in oil over medium heat until they turn golden brown. Add the meat, garlic, salt, pepper and turmeric, stir, and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato sauce or the tomato paste dissolved in hot water, stir and let it cook over medium-low heat.

3. Simmer the meat as long as necessary until it becomes tender, adding more tomato sauce or water if necessary. When meat is done, stir it and then place okra on top. Cover the pot and cook for 15 or 20 minutes until okra has lost its green color. Stir and serve with rice.

Okra and Corn Casserole [top]

2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra
3 to 4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups cooked corn kernels
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup dry bread crumbs

1. Stir-fry okra in 2 tablespoons butter for 10 minutes. Place in baking dish alternating layers with drained corn. Make a white sauce by melting remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat and blending in flour.

2. Milk should be added all at once, cooking quickly and stirring constantly. Cheese is stirred in until blended. Pour this mixture over vegetables. Melt remaining 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with bread crumbs. Sprinkle buttered crumbs over casserole.
3. Bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes, until the casserole is heated.

Southern Fried Okra

1 pound fresh okra
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk (optional)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Vegetable oil

1. Wash and slice okra; pat dry with paper towels.

2. Combine eggs and buttermilk. Add okra, and let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper and cayenne.

4. Working with small portions at a time, drain okra with a slotted spoon and dredge in cornmeal-flour mixture.

5. Pour oil to depth of 2 to 3-inches in a Dutch oven of deep-fat fryer and heat to 375 farenheit. Fry okra until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Louisiana Gumbo [top]

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup oil
4 cups sliced okra
1 cup onion
3/4 cup bell pepper
1/4 cup celery
2 large chicken breasts, ribs attached
4 quarts water
2 lbs. shrimp
1 lb. smoked sausage
1/2 cup green onion
Salt and pepper

1. Boil chicken breasts in water 30 minutes to make light broth. Remove, debone and dice chicken breasts.

2. In a large pot with heavy bottom, make a roux by browning the flour and oil, stirring constantly until the mixture turns deep brown.

3. Add okra, onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté until they wilt.

4. Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add diced chicken, shrimp, sausage and green onion tops. Cook for 30 more minutes at medium boil. Serve over rice.

Dill Pickled Okra [top]

(makes 4 pints)

2 pounds young okra
celery leaves
4 cloves
4 sprigs dill
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
4 tsp salt

1. Scrub okra and pack whole pods into clean, hot jars. In each jar insert a few celery leaves, 1 garlic clove, peeled, and 1 sprig of dill.

2. Bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil. Pour the boiling liquid over the okra.

3. Seal and process 10 minutes in simmering hot water.

4. Let okra stand for about 1 month before using.

Source: UCLA Cooperative Extension