Okra, also known as lady’s fingers, bhindi or gumbo, is used in a variety of ethnic cuisines. Appearing in curries, soups, stews, and even salad and tempura, okra tends to have a bad reputation due to the sliminess contained within. This, however can be alleviated in a variety of ways including stir-frying or introducing a few drops of acidic liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar (source). Do not let the threat of a little sliminess keep you away from this delicious and healthful food. Raw okra is a very good source of Calcium, Dietary Fiber, Folate, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Thiamine, and Vitamins A, B6, C and K. It is also a good source of Copper, Iron, Niacin, Protein, Riboflavin and Zinc (source).
I never really ate okra until recently, but I must say that I really enjoy it. It is excellent battered and fried, but my recent addiction is coconut okra, fashioned after a popular dish served in Indian restaurants. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!
Savory Coconut Okra
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
3 cups fresh okra, rinsed
salt to taste
Heat oven to 350º F. Spread coconut in a thin layer on a small baking sheet. Cook in preheated oven for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, cut tops off okra just below the ridge and discard. Slice okra in half lengthwise and set aside.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add okra and salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
Add toasted coconut and continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring often, or until okra is tender.