Okra is popularly known as Bhindi or Lady's Finger. Okra is a good source of vitamin C, A and also B complex vitamins, iron, and calcium. It is low in calories, a good source of dietary fibre, and is fat-free.
It is a rich source of many nutrients, including fibre, vitamin B6 and folic acid. In addition to being highly nutritious, they are utterly delicious and fairly effortless to prepare!
Washing & Cleaning Tips:
- The Okra may be sticky as it is filled with Mucilage (a clear goop also found in the Aloe Vera Plant). To remove the stickiness, wash the Okra thoroughly with water.
- You can also wipe them down with a clean cloth or a tissue to ensure they are completely clean.
Choosing & Basic Prep:
- Always ensure that you pick firm Okra. If they are wilted or have dark patches, you should avoid using them.
- Once cleaned, place the Okra onto a cutting board, stacked a few at a time and swiftly chop off their heads.
- Cutting them together saves time.
- You can cut the Okra into various sizes and shapes.
- For smaller pieces, cut the Okra into pieces of 1-2 cms long.
- This is the size most commonly used in Indian cooking.
- For slightly larger pieces, cut the Okra into pieces of 2 inches or so in length. Most of the time this can be achieved by simply cutting the okra in half.
- Larger pieces take slightly longer to cook than the smaller pieces, which should be kept in mind when preparing the dish.
- Slit okras are popularly used in dal, sambar or other soupy preparations.
- Keep the top on so it can be used to hold the okra in place. Slit the okra down the middle with the tip of your knife starting from the head region.
- These can be further cut into smaller pieces as desired.
- Okras are a very popular vegetable for stuffing.
- To stuff the Okra with a filling, create a pocket by slitting the Okra lengthwise down the middle, but not all the way through.
- You can add in any combination of spices for the stuffing. A combination of chilli powder, cumin (jeera), coriander powder and turmeric powder is a popular choice.
- When you've grown tired of all the usual ways to cut okra you can try out a diagonal cut to switch things up.
- To cut the Okra into a slant shape, hold the top of the Okra, and cut diagonally.
- These look great as garnish and will fry up nice and crispy to be tossed with some spices and served as a snack.
Other Information About Okra:
- Okra helps lower blood sugar levels and is great for diabetics.
- Rich in vitamin A, Okra helps improve eyesight.
- Okra is traditionally used as a home remedy for cold.
- Rich in folic acid, Okra is highly beneficial for pregnant women.
- High in fibre, Okra keeps you full for longer and thus aides in weight loss!
- Tip: A foolproof technique for avoiding the slime when cooking with okra is to use it for what it’s good at - thickening. Add it to any good soup or gumbo for more body and a delicious crunch.