Okra is one of those vegetables that gets a bad reputation. When someone says “okra”, I believe 95% of the population immediately thinks “slimy”. It’s kind of like peanut butter and jelly – people think okra and slimy. Including me, until I actually tasted it for the first time.
I’m not going to lie; there was much trepidation before I took my first bite. We were having dinner with the couple who leads our Bible Study and the theme for dinner was Indian – which I love. We’ll call the couple John and Mary for simplicity. John and Mary have a garden, and they also made okra with dinner – heavily spiced and cooked in a wok. I watched as John added all the spices, tossed the okra in the pan, and then started cooking…and I couldn’t help but notice that there was a lot of slime. However, once it was all said and done, John blotted most of the excess liquid from the wok and I have to say – from that first bite? I loved it. It was perfectly spiced and not at all slimy and at that moment I knew I wanted to try to make my own okra.
The funny thing is – John is a lot like my husband, in that when we texted him to get his recipe the response was something like, “Oh, I don’t know – I threw in these different spices and just sort of cooked it.” Yep, just like my husband. He did however give us a list of the primary spices he used, and so I just started with that and came up with my own version of this delicious vegetables.
After a quick google search I learned that the key to making okra not slimy is to make sure your oil is extremely hot, so that when you add the spice coated okra to the pan the oil essentially flash fries the seasoning onto the pieces – somewhat like fried okra, except a lighter and healthier option. Also, you want to make sure you keep moving the pan around – you want to sauté the okra until it’s nice and brown, but if you leave it sitting in the oil too long it will get slimy and stay wet. (If you do end up with slightly slimy okra, don’t fear! Just take a clean paper towel and blot off the excess oil.)
Not surprisingly, okra went from being one of the vegetables I never thought about to one I now cook on a regular basis.
*NOTE: all measurements for the spices are suggested; this recipe is largely “to taste” and will vary based on your personal preferences and spice tolerance.
1 lb okra, chopped into half inch coins
1 Tbsp Garam masala
1 Tbsp Moroccan seasoning
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Chili powder
1-2 tsp Turmeric
Rinse and chop your okra into small, half inch coins. In a small bowl, combine your spices – you’ll want enough of a mix to coat the okra evenly. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a pan until hot. Toss the okra into the hot oil and sauté, keeping your pan moving, for about five minutes until okra turns brown and crisp. Serve!