Do You Know What This Is? Okra
Sweet Summer Salad and Okra Tempura
Don't settle for medio-okra (gettit?!) and try these recipes for introducing a serious summer superfood into your diet.
Okra or okura, not to be confused with okara, and sometimes called “Lady’s Finger”, can be intimidating for first-timers. This is because inside the okra pod there is a slippery gel similar to the consistency of fermented beans, or natto, Japan’s infamous love-it-or-hate-it dish.
However, it’s this slimy gel, called mucilage, that gives okra its unique super powers.
Though available all-year long, Japanese summer is the best time to consume mounds of fresh okra. Mounds, you say? Yes. Because a single cup of raw okra boasts 3 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of protein, 21 mg of vitamin C and 57 mg of magnesium with as little as 30 calories and 0.1 grams of fat — making it your health coach’s best friend.
According to medical research, consumption of okra can alleviate asthma symptoms, lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, manage diabetes, prevent kidney disease and promote healthy pregnancies.
Now that’s some serious superfood.
So how do you eat it? Just like any other vegetable! Raw in salads, or cooked in soups, stews, curries and stir-fries. Though do be aware: the more okra is cooked, the slimier its texture, which is why you’ll most often find it fried or deep-fried to prevent oozy gooeyness. In Japanese cuisine, it is commonly prepared as tempura.
Sweet Summer Salad
2 cups cooked corn kernels
10 okra, cap removed and sliced small in rounds
1 punnet red and yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced small
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Serve chilled with bread, crackers, brown rice or quinoa.
1 free-range egg
1 cup ice cold water
3/4 cup plain flour
Pinch of baking soda
10 okra, washed and dried well
Beat egg and water together until fluffy.
Add flour and baking soda to the egg mixture, mixing quickly yet carefully so as not to over-beat.
Coat the okra in batter then fry in very hot oil until golden. Serve with other tempura vegetables or over rice for a vegetarian tempura-don.