The terms okra, okro, gumbo or lady's fingers all refer to the crunchy, tasty, slimy, green seed pod of the flowering plant, abelmoschus esculentus, of the mallow family.
Okra is incredibly healthy and nutritious that it has recently been declared a super-food!
First and foremost, it is low in calories (about 100g of okra has around 40 calories). It has considerable levels of protein, fibre and vitamins such as vitamin K, A, B6, C and Thiamine. Okra is also high in minerals like calcium, magnesium and manganese.
It has also been found that okra has the ability to stabilise blood sugar, improve bowel function and has a healing effect on ulcers and lung inflammation.
Origins: Okra is believed to originate from Africa, possible West Africa, but is cultivated across the world particularly in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions.
Eating okra could be a bit of an acquired taste but once you get used to its texture and flavour, its uniqueness in taste will amaze you!
Okra forms part of the signature dish in several regions of Asia, Africa, North and South America and even Europe.
Okra is desired for its texture and taste. It becomes gelatinous when cooked in soups, a desired property for many and not so desirable for some. The sliminess of okra can be reduced by frying lightly, or treating with lime or vinegar before cooking.
Okra is suitable for frying and adding to stews and soups.
Tip: Smaller or younger okra pods are better to use. At this stage they have maximum nutrient content and have a tender and less woody texture. Click off okra tips to check tenderness.