How can I cook okra without it getting a slimy texture?
– Cook, Philadelphia, PA
I am an okra-lover, slime and all. But many guests find the mucilaginous texture off-putting and, as a result, the vegetable may not have the prominence on menus that it deserves.
That squeamishness is too bad because okra is affordable, healthy (low fat, decent fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K, folates and minerals), its unique shape and plump round seeds can make for a cool presentation, and it can be cooked with a variety of methods—stewed, sautéed, roasted, fried, to name a few.
Thomas Smyth, a New Hope, PA-based chef and innkeeper prefers using okra in soups and stews like the traditional gumbo, where one can embrace the gummy texture, but recommends frying for those who want to minimize the slime. Roasting or frying the okra whole rather than cut can also help with the texture.
Selecting smaller younger pods, storing in a warmer part of the refrigerator and minimizing storage time will also aid in product quality. Some cooks swear by rinsing the mucilage off of cut okra before preparing.
At Devi restaurant in New York, Chef-Owner Suvir Saran prepares a slimeless okra that is the best I have had. The okra is julienned, fried, and tossed with red onion, tomato, spices and lemon juice. It will convert even the most okra-phobic guest.