How to cook okra without slime? Tips for choosing okra, storing okra, and chopping okra. Everything you wanted to learn about okra can be found in this post
Raise your hand if you don’t like working with okra?
I see so many of you raising your hand and I agree with all of you. Okra is one tough veggie to cook.
The worst part is the slime, right?
These okra tips will make you a pro at how to cook okra and you will love how great your recipes turn out.
Getting started with okra
Don’t you hate it when okra gets so sticky and gluey?! The first step is choosing the right okra before we even start to think about recipes for it.
Source: My personal cooking experience, Southern Living and Our Every Day Life
How to choose the right okra
- Choose okra that are long and thin.
- Choose okra that are still green and crispy.
- When you bend the okra, it should snap and not stay bent.
- Okra without fuzz are not fresh, so, always look for okra that has a little bit of fuzz
Soaking it in Vinegar
This is a technique I have seen many chefs and cooks use to help cook okra. Its cuts down on the sliminess of the okra when cooking it
I haven’t had much success with this soaking method, so, I am not completely endorsing it. To me, it seems like it adds vinegar to the taste of the end recipe
But, here is how I have seen okra soaked in vinegar before cooking.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the okra first
- Place the okra in a bowl and drizzle vinegar on it
- Make sure all the okra is well coated
- Keep it covered for 30min
- Rinse the okra and dry completely before cooking it
Source – University of Illinois Extension
How to chop it
- Wash the okra thoroughly first
- Dry it completely before you take a knife to it. The less water you use, the less sticky it will be.
- Ideally, wash and dry the okra a day before you are going to cook them.
- Start by cutting and discarding the top of the okra
- Cut the okra into rounds. The thicker the okra rounds, the better they will cook.
- Also, thicker okra rounds will not be as sticky when cooked
- Once cut, use okra immediately. Cut okra tends to brown easily and it will also get stickier.
- Cook the okra with the seeds.
How to cut them, lengthwise
- Wash and dry okra the same way.
- Be sure to dry it thoroughly.
- Cut the top of the okra first
- Place the knife at the top of the okra and gently push down
- This will split the okra into half. Depending on the recipe, you can cut the half lengthwise again.
- If you are stuffing the okra, just make a slit lengthwise without splitting the okra into half
Nutrition in raw okra
I am not a health or diet professional, so, please consult a professional for further okra information. The information below is from Wikipedia, USDA.gov, Diabetes.org and my own personal experiences.
Okra has no sodium, cholesterol or fat. That’s why they are favored by diabetics. Whenever I cook okra, I always make sure I used little to no salt. Why change a good thing, right?
Its one of those rare veggies that is packed with vitamins! It has Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin E. This makes me happy because I love getting my vitamins from foods.
For vegans, proteins and Vitamin Bs are an essential part of our diet and we are always lacking in it. Lucky for us, okra has both and so I try to eat it frequently.
I have a helpful guide on all things vegan. If you have more questions, feel free to comment below.
Want more tips on working with vegetables? Check out my Cabbage tips and my sweet potato tips.
How to cook it
- Make sure the pan is heated and if using oil, make sure the oil is heated too.
- Keep the heat on high and the same level until all the okra is cooked
- Do not add water to the okra. If a recipe calls for water, make sure you add other veggies and ingredients before you add the water
- Stir infrequently. This is the one thing I struggle with all the time, lol. If you have seen my cooking videos, you know that I have an unhealthy level of love for stirring frequently. So, hard as it might be, do not stir often
- To stir, use the pan-flipping method for best results. Stay away from using wooden spoons or any stirring spoons. Jamie Oliver has amazing tips on how to be a “incredible tosser”.
How to cook frozen okra
Frozen okra is great for stews and soups. I usually throw in the okra right out of the frozen bag, without thawing them. This way, the okra stay crispy and retain their unique texture.
Not thawing veggies is one of my favorite tips. I find that the cooking process does a great job of thawing the veggies. Recently, I cooked frozen peas in the dutch oven without thawing them. Want to know how they turned out?
How to cook canned okra
Canned okra is great for casseroles and oven-baked dishes. The oven baking process does a great job of cooking the okra. It takes away some of the after taste you get from eating canned food.
I have only used the canned okra once and that was for a southern casserole dish. Its not a recipe on my blog (yet), but, it did turn out well. If you can’t get fresh okra, use canned version.
Can okra be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze okra, but, the freezing process makes a huge difference.
First, I like to wash and dry the fresh okra. I prefer doing this a day before so that all the water is gone before I freeze it
I place the okra in a ziploc bag and write the date on it. The okra is whole which makes it easier to freeze.
Alternatively, you can cut it into large chunks and immediately place it in a ziploc bag. Write the date and freeze it immediately. Don’t give the chopped okra too much time to interact with oxygen.
This frozen okra is best if used within 6 months of freezing.
Is it the same as Lady Finger
Yes, okra is the same as lady finger or ladies fingers. If you had British or European educational influences, then you refer to it as lady finger.
Fun fact, we used to call it lady finger too while growing up. Our family had British influences because so many of my relatives got British education. I think I was in my late teens before I started referring to it as okra.
Another vegetable that was different was eggplant. We called it aubergines for the longest time. Now, when I refer to it as eggplant, I get confused looks from my family members.
How many types are there?
There are at least 13 different types of okras that can be grown. There are some purple colored okra too! I had no idea how beautiful they look. Sometimes, I have seen them in my local Lucky’s Market and Whole Foods.
Gardner’s Path has a list of 13 different varieties of okra. If you have a vegetable garden, grow them and send me pics of them. I would love to see which variety you like.
How to flavor it
I have seen okra used in Spanish cooking, Southern cooking, African Cooking and Indian cooking. Other than that, its not a common vegetable in other cuisines. I wonder why that is the case?
Some of my favorite ways to flavor okra are using homemade spices
A few okra recipes
Okra is one of my favorite Indian veggies, yet, I have so very few recipes on my blog! I hate that I don’t have more vegan recipes to offer you at this time, but, I intend to change that slowly.
In the meantime, here are some okra recipes from my blog. What kind of okra recipe would you like to see me make?
A classic Gujrati recipe made with lightly stir-fried potatoes and okra with simple spices.
Roasted okra with a cheese stick in the middle and wrapped in puff pastry
Pieces of okra rolled in flour and baked in the oven
Classic Creole recipe of gumbo but made for vegans with extra okra
Love getting to know your ingredients? Get to know Lemon Balm and Amaranth.
- 6 oz okra chopped into large rounds (about 4-5 rounds per okra)
- 1.5 Tbsp oil
- ½ tsp salt
- Heat pan on high for 30 seconds
- Add oil to it and heat for 30 seconds
- Set the heat to medium high and keep it there for the rest of the time
- Add the chopped okra to the oil
- Let it cook by itself for about about 3 minutes
- Add salt to the okra
- Using the pan-flipping method to stir the okra. This is going to reduce the sliminess
- Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the okra is tender
- When you can crush an okra piece easily with the back of a spoon, the okra is ready to eat
Jeannie Shenal says
I am from the South, love steamed okra and fried okra. To fry, slice, pour a little buttermilk over and roll in cornmeal. Fry in hot shortening, when getting brown, drain on paper towels. Love the seeds in the okra, one of the best parts. Can also batter small pods and fry like French fries.
Healing Tomato says
Thank you, Jeannie
Eva I Mason says
The instructions on the package says to place okra in a pan cover the pan with water and boil okra for 3 minutes then drain & season to taste. Ok, what seasoning do I use?
Healing Tomato says
Thank you, Eva. You can use any seasoning you have on hand. Have you tried Creole Seasoning or Greek Seasoning? Or, you use Za’atar, old bay seasoning, etc. I have even just used salt and pepper to season. Let me know what you try and how it worked.
These okra tips are so good. I always have trouble getting my okra to turn out right and now I know why!
Healing Tomato says
Thank you, Jamie