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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

All About Okra

Okra


Okra
Pronounce it: oh-kra

Originally from Africa, okra is now widely used in cuisines such as Caribbean, Creole, Cajun and Indian. It's also known as bhindi or lady's fingers, in reference to the long, elegantly tapering shape.

Ridged along its length, the green, slightly fuzzy pod contains rows of edible seeds that release a mucilaginous (sticky, viscous) liquid when chopped and cooked, which has led to it being used to thicken soup and stew recipes, such as Cajun gumbo, but it's also served whole as a side dish.

Its flavour is quite subtle, so it benefits from being cooked with strong, spicy ingredients.


Availability:
All year round.

Choose the best:
Look for firm, brightly coloured pods. Avoid those that are limp or which have brown marks - they won't be so fresh. The bigger they are, the tougher they are; around 7-10cm is best.

Prepare it:
Wash and dry. If you are serving the okra whole as a side dish, and don't want the liquid to be released during the cooking, trim around the stalks in a cone shape, so that the pod isn't pierced.

Soaking the whole pods in acidulated water for an hour can also help eliminate some of their liquid. If you do want to release the liquid, so that it can thicken a stew or soup, chop or slice thickly or thinly, according to your recipe.

Store it:
In a perforated bag in the fridge; they will keep for a few days.

Cook it:
Stir-fry, chopped or whole (6-12 minutes); steam whole (5 minutes); grill whole (2-3 minutes each side); chop and add to soups, stews and casseroles.

The above information from here

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), Fresh, raw pods,
Nutrition value per 100 g. 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)/p>

Principle   Nutrient Value   Percentage of RDA
Energy 1.5% 31 Kcal
Carbohydrates 7.03 g 5.4%
Protein 2.0 g 4%
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 9% 3.2 g
Vitamins
Folates 88 µg 22%
Niacin 1.000 mg 6%
Pantothenic acid 0.245 mg 5%
Pyridoxine 0.215 mg 16.5%
Riboflavin 0.060 mg 4.5%
Thiamin 0.200 mg 17%
Vitamin C 21.1 mg 36%
Vitamin A 375 IU 12.5%
Vitamin E 0.36 mg 2.5%
Vitamin K 53 µg 44%
Electrolytes
Sodium 8 mg 0.5%
Potassium 303 mg 6%
Minerals
Calcium 81 mg 8%
Copper 0.094 mg 10%
Iron 0.80 mg 10%
Magnesium 57 mg 14%
Manganese 0.990 mg 43%
Phosphorus 63 mg 9%
Selenium 0.7 µg 1%
Zinc 0.60 mg 5.5%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 225 µg --
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 516 µg --

the nutrient details taken from here

Okra is popular, and used in many 'Gumbo' recipes - have you tried it yet?

All the best Jan

2 comments:

fitteratfortyish said...

I love okra! Just recently I made a batch of homemade pickled okra. Sooooo goooood.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hi Wendy (fitteratfortyish)

"Just recently I made a batch of homemade pickled okra"

Now that sounds a good idea ......

All the best Jan