Okra, commonly referred to as gumbo in some parts of America, is both a pod and nightshade vegetable. The scientific name for Okra is Abelmoschus esculentus, but sometimes it is also referred to as Hibiscus esculentus (1). Most people use it to make creole dishes, Cajun, and thick soups because of its ability to significantly increase the consistency of the dish. However, okra has several health benefits owing to the many nutrients it contains (1).
Okra contains a high amount of soluble fiber, which has significant contributions to good health. In addition, half a cup of cooked or sliced okra provides at least 10% of the daily recommended intake of folic acid, vitamin B2, and Vitamin B6. Okra also contains significant amounts of magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron, proteins, and carbohydrates (1).
The following are some health benefits that individuals can accrue from regular consumption of okra. the article will also present a few healthy and delicious okra recipes that you can make at home for you, your family, and friends.
Health Benefits of Okra
- 1. Okra is beneficial for digestion
- 2. Okra can help in the stabilization of blood sugar
- 3. Okra has beneficial implications for heart health
- 4. Okra can help improve eyesight
- 5. Okra is rich in antioxidants
- 6. Okra is good for healthy blood, skin, and hair
- 7. Okra is beneficial for pregnant women and their offspring
- 8. Okra can help prevent and manage toxicity
- 9. Okra is good for the bones
- 10. Okra can help in weight management
- 11. Okra can help in the prevention and management of cancer
- 12. Okra can help in the management of PMS symptoms
- 13. Okra can help prevent cognitive diseases
- 14. Okra can help boost moods and relieve anxiety
- 15. Okra can help in the treatment of migraine attacks
- Tasty Okra Recipes
1. Okra is beneficial for digestion
One study showed that extracts from okra inhibit the adhesion of Helicobacter pylori on the gut (2). This prevents the bacteria from spreading in the gut. Thus, okra can help prevent a number of digestive complications such as gastric inflammation, and ulcers.
In addition, another study showed that okra helped decrease gastric muscular contractions at the beginning of digestion, and then increased it after three hours (3). This significantly aids in proper nutrient absorption.
The same study also showed that okra decreases the time it takes the digestive system to empty itself.
Okra is rich in insoluble fiber, which is essential in keeping the health of the intestinal tract intact (1).
Due to its high fiber content, okra is useful in aiding laxation (4). The fiber increases the weight of the stool, which makes defecation easier.
The fiber can also prevent constipation because by adding the weight of the stool, the fiber is decreasing the time it will take the stool to go through the intestinal tract (4).
Fiber has also been shown to prevent or reduce the risk of diverticulitis, which is an inflammation of the intestines that can cause digestive problems (5).
In addition, a high fiber diet has been speculated to be effective in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (6).
Okra is also an excellent source of dietary calcium, and studies show that calcium is essential in the proper functioning of digestive enzymes (7).
In addition, calcium can prevent indigestion by improving the muscle function of the LEM valve, which is the valve between the stomach and the esophagus. Studies have shown that calcium intake can help reduce GERD symptoms.
Bottom Line: Okras contain calcium, and fiber, and these nutrients have been shown to be effective in the prevention and treatment of digestive problems. In addition, okras can help prevent the proliferation of harmful gut bacteria, as well as aid in gastric muscular contractions.
2. Okra can help in the stabilization of blood sugar
Several studies have shown that extracts from okras possess anti-hyperglycemia activities, which can be extremely helpful in combating diabetes (8).
The high fiber content of Okra is effective in the regulation of blood sugar, which has significant health implications for individuals suffering from diabetes (1). The fiber affects the rate at which the body absorbs sugar from the intestinal tract.
One study showed that the fiber also helps reduce blood sugar levels by slowing down the process of assimilating sugar, which goes on in the intestines (4).
One large multi ethnic study conducted in Hawaii demonstrated that high dietary fiber intake significantly reduced the risk of type II diabetes (4).
It has also been established that okra can help prevent kidney disease that is associated with diabetes (1). Studies have shown that nearly 50% of kidney damage is often as a result of diabetes.
Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Applied Sciences demonstrated the effectiveness of okra peel and seed powder in reducing blood sugar levels in subjects suffering from diabetes (1).
Scientists have also discovered that dietary calcium, found in high quantities in okra, is important for optimal glucose metabolism, and consequently, the prevention of type II diabetes (9). One study published in the Diabetes Care Journal followed nearly 80,000 women with no history of diabetes for twenty years. The study concluded that a regular dietary intake of calcium over those twenty years resulted in a 33% reduction in type II diabetes risk.
Okra also contains significant amount of magnesium, and the large Hawaiian multi ethnic study showed that high magnesium intake reduced the risk of diabetes.
Studies also show that magnesium helps improve insulin sensitivity, as well as reduce hyperglycemia (10).
Scientific research has also indicated that there is an inverse relationship between intake of vitamin C, a nutrient also found in okras, and risk of diabetes (11).
Manganese, also found in okras has been shown to improve glucose tolerance in diabetic
subjects, as well as insulin secretion, and mitochondrial function (12).
Bottom Line: Okras contain fiber, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and manganese, all of which have an essential role in the prevention and management of diabetes.
3. Okra has beneficial implications for heart health
Studies have shown that okra has the ability to lower the levels of cholesterol in the body (1, 8). Hyperlipidemia is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases especially in individuals with diabetes. This is because the condition often results in atherosclerosis, which develops into coronary complications and stroke.
A study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Applied Sciences demonstrated the seeds and peels of the okra had the ability to reduce lipid levels in diabetic subjects.
Okra is a good source of dietary fiber, and studies show that fiber reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases as well as cardiovascular diseases. This is because it helps in the reduction of LDL levels, which is the bad cholesterol (1, 4).
It is important to note that the fiber can reduce the levels of blood LDL without affecting the levels of the HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol (4).
In particular, okra contains a significant amount of the viscous fiber, pectin, which studies show reduces high blood cholesterol levels by regulating the manufacture of bile in the body (1, 4).
Fiber has also been shown to reduce blood pressure levels in individuals suffering from hypertension (13). High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Calcium, also found in high amounts in okra, is responsible for the smooth contraction of heart muscles, promoting good heart health (7).
In addition, studies have shown that dietary calcium has a direct effect on blood pressure in individuals suffering from essential hypertension (14). The studies conclude that a deficiency in blood pressure can increase blood pressure, which then increases the risk of heart problems.
One study found that an increase in dietary calcium intake, especially in people with habitually low calcium intake, helps reduce the systolic and diastolic blood pressures, thereby inhibiting the development of hypertension.
Okra is also rich in magnesium, and studies show that high magnesium dietary intake is inversely related to the risk of cardiovascular diseases (10).
In addition, research has shown that magnesium intake reduces blood pressure, improves the effectiveness of antihypertensive drugs, as well as improving conditions such as dyslipidemia, and left ventricular hypertrophy.
Okra also contains vitamin C, which researchers have shown activates the transformation of cholesterol into bile acids (11). This helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, and inhibit CVD development.
Okras also contain folic acid, and research has shown that the acid can help lower the levels of homocysteine, which is a significant biomarker of cardiovascular diseases (15).
Bottom Line: Okras contain nutrients that are effective in preventing hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and increased levels of homocysteine, all of which are significant risk factors for CVDs.
4. Okra can help improve eyesight
The Okra pods are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, and studies have shown that these nutrients are essential in preventing age related macular degeneration (1).
Furthermore, okra contains significant amounts of vitamin C, which helps in the formation of collagen in the eyes, as well as prevents oxidative stress in eye tissue (16).
Okra also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the only carotenoids found in the retina and the lens (16). These nutrients prevent oxidative damage in the retina, and studies indicate that an increase in dietary intake of the carotenoids can significantly decrease the risk of age related macular degeneration.
Bottom Line: Okras contain carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, as well as Vitamin A and C, all of which have significant parts to play in maintaining eye health.
5. Okra is rich in antioxidants
Several studies have demonstrated that different parts of the Okra plant possess antioxidant activity (1). One study showed that the methanol extract from the fruits of Okra possessed antioxidant properties.
Another study also found that the seeds of the Okra were rich in phenolic compounds, which demonstrated significant free radical scavenging activities (1).
Okra also contains high levels of vitamin C, which is considered one of the most important antioxidants in the body (16). It scavenges free radicals in the body, and prevents oxidative damage and stress.
Okras are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which have proven to be efficient antioxidants especially in the eye (16).
Beta-carotene, another carotenoid found in okras, is also an effective antioxidant, which is important in preventing inflammation and serious diseases (16).
Okras contain significant amounts of manganese, and studies have shown that this micronutrient is an effective antioxidant (17).
Bottom Line: Okras contain numerous nutrients that have antioxidant properties, aiding in the reduction of oxidative stress and damage in the body.
6. Okra is good for healthy blood, skin, and hair
Okra contains a significant amount of vitamin K, which is essential in blood clot formation (1, 18). People who suffer from excessive bruising, heavy periods, bleeding gums, and constant nosebleeds can suffer from blood thinning. Eating foods rich in vitamin K such as Okra, can help prevent blood thinning by promoting blood coagulation.
Studies demonstrate that calcium, also found in significant amounts in okra, is essential when it comes to blood clotting (7) among other cell functions.
Iron is also found in adequate amounts in okras, and studies show that a deficiency in the mineral is the leading cause of anemia around the world (19).
Iron deficiency anemia is also characterized by malformed red blood cells, which can seriously hamper oxygen delivery (20).
Okras also contain manganese, and conclusive studies have shown that a deficiency in the trace element can lead to bleeding disorders (20).
Okra also contains magnesium, which helps reduce the oiliness of skin by breaking down different oils and fats. In addition, since magnesium is a natural stress reliever, its intake can help prevent stress related skin issues such as rosacea and acne (21).
Studies have also shown that magnesium can prevent wrinkles by preventing oxidation and inflammation. In addition, the mineral can aid in the management of skin allergies such as eczema by inhibiting the production of histamine (21).
Vitamin C, another constituent of okra, has been found to be effective in promoting and accelerating wound healing because it stimulates the synthesis of collagen (1).
Okras contain beta carotene, which scientific research shows that it has photoprotective properties, thereby protecting the skin from UV damage such as UV-induced erythema (22).
Studies have also shown that increasing the fiber, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, all of which are contained in okras, can help in the reduction of risk of skin cancer and acne (1, 23).
Studies also indicate that these nutrients are also essential in the prevention of psoriasis (23).
Studies also show that manganese, another trace element found in okras, is useful in aiding wound healing, when accompanied by calcium, copper and zinc (24).
Okras also contain both iron and the essential amino acid, lysine, which studies have shown are essential in preventing hair loss, as well as increasing hair numbers in people suffering from excessive hair loss (25, 26, 27).
Studies have also shown that the leaves of okras when mixed with egg albumin can improve the texture and the look of hair (28).
Bottom Line: Okras has significantly high amounts of nutrients that are effective at promoting the health of the blood, skin, and hair of human beings.
7. Okra is beneficial for pregnant women and their offspring
Okra is a calcium rich food, and one study showed that eating foods rich in calcium during pregnancy leads to the birth of children with higher bone mineral content (29).
Okra is also rich in folate, and research shows that pregnant women with a higher folate status during gestation gave birth to children with higher bone mineral density (30).
Studies also indicate that an increase in folate intake during pregnancy has beneficial effects on the length of gestation, the weight of the placenta, as well as the weight of the new-born (31).
Research has also shown that folate is essential when it comes to the proper growth and development of the brain of the fetus (1).
Conclusive studies have shown that a deficiency in folate during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of congenital abnormalities such as neural tube defects, as well as complications of the peripheral nerves and anemia in the mother (1).
Okra also contains significant amounts of magnesium, and one study showed that the mineral is essential in preventing preeclampsia, a form of high blood pressure induced by pregnancy (32).
The study showed that the mineral stopped the progression of preeclampsia to eclampsia, as well as the related seizures.
Okras contain good amounts of iron, and studies have conclusively shown that a deficiency in the mineral during pregnancy can result in an increased risk of low birth weight, mother and child mortality, as well as sepsis (19).
In India, iron deficiency anemia is a leading cause of maternal deaths with more than half directly attributed to the deficiency, and the remainder associated with the deficiency (20).
Manganese is another trace element found in okras, and studies have shown that the mineral plays an essential part in preventing oxidative stress in the placenta (33). Studies have also shown that the element is important in maintaining proper fetal growth as well as birth weight.
Bottom Line: Okras contain several nutrients including trace elements that are essential for healthy and safe pregnancies.
8. Okra can help prevent and manage toxicity
Okra has been shown to possess hepatoprotective properties against some of the common chemicals that cause liver disease (34). One study showed that okra significantly reduced the level of carbon tetrachloride in the body thereby offering hepatoprotection.
Okras also contain vitamin C, and scientific investigations have revealed that the vitamin is effective in protecting the body against lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury toxicity (11).
Bottom Line: Okra is an effective food when it comes to minimizing toxicity in the body.
9. Okra is good for the bones
Okra contains a significant quantity of calcium, almost 5% of the daily recommended intake of the mineral. Dietary calcium is essential in promoting high bone mineral density in people, especially in postmenopausal women and elderly individuals (7).
Studies show that a calcium rich diet in pregnant women contributes to better skeletal growth and bone mass density in the offspring (7).
Another study published in the Osteoporosis International Journal showed that children who suffered from a calcium deficiency were at a higher risk of developing fractures before puberty.
Several studies have shown that high intake of calcium rich food can help in the prevention of bone loss, fractures, as well as osteoporosis in adults (7).
Studies have shown that calcium availability is essential for bone mineralization, and its deficiency results in rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults (7)
Okra is also rich in proteins, which scientists have found works alongside calcium to promote proper bone health across all ages (35). Calcium and protein intake must be adequate for the nutrients to positively benefit bone health.
Okra also contains magnesium, whose deficiency in the body contributes to osteoporosis. Studies show that magnesium deficiency results in inflammation, formation of crystals on the bones, decreased bone formation, oxidative stress, which are all contributing factors for osteoporosis ( 36).
Furthermore, okras are rich in manganese, which is an essential nutrient when it comes to promoting bone health.
Studies have shown that an increase in dietary intake of manganese, alongside calcium, copper, and zinc, can help prevent spinal bone loss especially in postmenopausal women. Some studies also indicate that manganese is effective in easing the pain in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis, as well as promoting their mobility.
In addition, studies have shown that the intake of vitamin K, another essential component found in okras, is inversely related to the risk of fracture, bone loss, low bone mass, and osteoporosis (18).
Bottom Line: Majority of the nutrients that are essential in promoting bone health can be found in okras.
10. Okra can help in weight management
Owing to its high content of fiber, okra consumption can help in weight management. Studies have shown that fiber is effective in increasing satiation and satiety (4), which can help people avoid overeating, the main contributor to weight gain and obesity.
Studies have also shown that higher regular intake of fiber can help decrease body weight, and that people who eat more fiber in their diet often weigh less than those who eat little fiber (4).
Researchers have demonstrated that dietary intake of calcium from food sources such as okra directly reduces the levels of fat stored in the body (37).
Scientists also speculate that a dietary calcium deficiency in the body can result in increased hunger, which can have an effect on weight loss attempts (37).
One study published in the Obesity Research Journal found that an increase in dietary calcium resulted in a significant decline in fat around the torso region, as well as total body fat.
Okra is also rich in manganese, and early scientific studies suggest that the mineral has an important part to play in aiding weight loss amongst individuals who are overweight.
Bottom Line: Consumption of okras can help with weight loss management owing to its many nutrients that have a direct and positive impact on weight loss.
11. Okra can help in the prevention and management of cancer
Okra contains a substantial amount of calcium, and studies show that high dietary intake of this mineral, as well as adequate intake of vitamin D, significantly reduces the risk of total, invasive breast and breast cancer in women (7).
In addition, the dietary calcium intake helps reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in women by almost 17%.
A review of ecological studies shows that calcium deficiency increased the risk of and mortality from 15 different types of cancers. These include lung, endometrial, colon, ovarian, rectal, renal, gastric, and breast cancers.
Okra also contains vitamin C, and scientists have found conclusive evidence that it plays a preventative role in cancer development (11). Studies have also shown that increase in vitamin C intake helps to increase the survival rate amongst cancer patients.
Scientific research also suggests that a chronic deficiency in vitamin K, a constituent of okras, can lead to an increased risk of cancer (18).
Bottom Line: Okras also contain nutrients that science has shown can help in the prevention and the management of cancer.
12. Okra can help in the management of PMS symptoms
Due to its high calcium content, Okra can help prevent or manage PMS symptoms. Studies have shown that increase in dietary calcium intake reduced appetite fluctuations, fatigue, and depression in women with PMS (38).
Okra also contains relatively high amounts of both vitamin B6 and magnesium, which studies show are effective in reducing the severity of premenstrual syndrome (39). These symptoms include depression, anxiety, headache, lower back pain, bloating, and frequent urination.
Studies have shown that an increase in magnesium intake during menstruation can help in reducing migraine attack (40).
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in okras, is efficient in the treatment of symptoms related Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (41). These symptoms include irritability, mood swings, and dysphoria.
Okras are also fairly rich in manganese, and early research indicates that regular dietary intake of the mineral alongside calcium is effective in treating the symptoms of PMS that include anxiety, mood swings, restlessness, crying, and tension (42).
Bottom Line: Studies have also demonstrated that some of the nutrients contained in okras are effective in easing the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.
13. Okra can help prevent cognitive diseases
Okra contains a substantial amount of magnesium, and studies indicate that the mineral is essential in preventing dementia, and the cognitive diseases that can lead to dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease (43).
A study published in the John Libbey EuroText found that individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease had lower levels of magnesium than healthy populations.
Another study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that increased dietary intake of both magnesium and calcium (also found in okra) resulted in a lower risk of dementia.
Studies have also shown that vitamin C, a constituent of okras, is needed in higher levels in people suffering from schizophrenia (11). The vitamin prevents the generation of free radicals, which in turn helps slow down the progression of the condition.
Studies also indicate that adequate vitamin C intake can have a beneficial effect on age related cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Okras also contain tryptophan, and scientists have found that a deletion in this amino acid leads to cognitive issues such as impaired learning and memory retention problems (41).
Okra is an important source of iron, and researchers have found that its deficiency in the body often results in learning impairments as well as other cognitive challenges (19).
Iron deficiency anemia also characterizes itself through hampered ability to pay attention, as well as a lower memory (20).
Okras are also surprisingly rich in manganese, and scientists have shown that a deficiency in the micronutrient could result in epilepsy, as well as modification of neural activities (42).
Bottom Line: Majority of the nutrients found in okras have been shown to have a direct influence on the health of the brain, and their deficiencies can result in cognitive diseases and decline.
14. Okra can help boost moods and relieve anxiety
Okra contains high levels of magnesium, and scientists have found that magnesium can help in the treatment of major depression, as well as anxiety (43).
Okra also contains the amino acid, tryptophan, and conclusive studies show that a depletion of the amino acid is responsible for a decrease in moods especially in people who suffer from major depressive disorders, or have a family history of the disorders (41).
One specific study showed that an increase in the consumption of foods rich in tryptophan, such as okras, helped reduce depression and stress in elderly subjects.
In addition, one study was able to prove that less dietary consumption of tryptophan led to more anxiety and irritability in individuals.
Bottom Line: Okras contain nutrients such as magnesium and tryptophan that can help improve moods and relieve anxiety.
15. Okra can help in the treatment of migraine attacks
Okra contains the essential amino acid, lysine, and scientific evidence points to the fact that this amino acid helps in relieving migraine attacks (44).
Okra also contains magnesium, and several studies have shown that it could be used in the treatment of migraines, including those that occur during menstrual distress (40).
Bottom Line: Okras contain substances that prevent or minimize the severity of migraine attacks. These substances include lysine and magnesium.
Tasty Okra Recipes
1. Buttermilk Fried Okra with Basil, Tomatoes, and Onions
This is a colorful blend of nutritious ingredients, and some people call this dish the Okra Panzanella (45).
1 pound of fresh okra
1 red onion (diced)
¾ cup of buttermilk
5 Coarsely chopped tomatoes (fresh)
¼ teaspoon of red pepper (grounded)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 ½ cups of self-rising white cornmeal mix
1 teaspoon of sugar
The first step in preparing this dish is making the buttermilk fried okra. To do this, take the okra and the buttermilk and mix them well in a bowl. Let the okra rest in the buttermilk for a while as you mix the cornmeal, sugar, salt, and red pepper in a separate bowl.
Remove the okra from the buttermilk mixture in small batches using a well-suited spoon. Put each batch in the cornmeal mixture, and then place on a wire-mesh strainer. Do this for each batch consecutively.
Pour the vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet, and allow it to heat to 375 degrees Celsius. Put in the okra, in batches, and allow each batch to fry until it becomes golden brown. It is advisable to only turn the okra once to ensure that they are well-cooked through. This should only take at least four minutes on each side. Drain the batches of okra of excessive oil, and let them rest for a while.
The final step is to toss the buttermilk fried okra with the red wine, chopped red onions, chopped tomatoes, and fresh basil. Serve immediately after tossing.
2. Chicken and Okra Stew
The chicken and okra stew is a famous Greek dish, although most Greeks prefer using baby okras. The meal takes two hours and twenty five minutes to prepare, and it can serve four-six people (46).
2¼ pounds of okra (fresh or frozen is fine)
2 ¾ kilograms of chicken (cut into pieces)
6 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 dice onion
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1 1/3 cups of water
1 1/3 cups of olive oil
1 can of tomato pulp/ 3 grated tomatoes
Rinse the okra under a tap of running cold water. You can use a colander to help you with this objective. Sprinkle the teaspoons of salt over the okras, and shake so that the salt can spread to all the okras. Next, pour the tablespoons of lemon juice over the okras, shake, and then allow to rest. The salt and the lemon juice will help draw out liquid from the okras.
Place the chicken in a pressure cooker over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil, tablespoon of sea salt and onion over the chicken. Mix gently and allow the onion and the chicken to brown. This should take approximately 15 minutes, and you should leave the pressure cooker partially open. Stir a few times.
Pour in the grated or the can of tomatoes and the water into the pressure cooker once the chicken starts to brown. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then seal the pressure cooker. When pressure is attained, reduce the heat, and let the chicken mixture cook at low heat for the next seven minutes.
Drain the lemon juice from the okra, and put the okra in the pressure cooker. Let the mixture boil once more by increasing the heat, and then seal the cooker. Once pressure is achieved, minimize the heat, and let the mixture slowly cook for the next five minutes.
Remove the pressure cooker from the heat, and unseal the cover. Stir the mixture, and let it rest without a cover for the next fifteen minutes. Once it has cooled, you can serve.
3. Okra with Salt Pork and Collard Greens
This savory and healthy meal takes approximately 110 minutes to prepare and cook (47). Please ensure that the collard greens are well rinsed before you use them. In addition, you can use either frozen or fresh okra.
1 ½ cups of okra (sliced)
2 pounds of collard greens
Cajun seasoning (if unavailable use seasoned salt)
A cup of chicken stock
A large onion (chopped)
1 cup of diced salt pork
Rinse the collards thoroughly, and ensure there is no more grit at the bottom of the sink when rinsing them. Cut the collards into narrow strips.
Place the collards in a cast iron along with the salt pork, chicken stock, and adequate amount of water. Add the okra, and let the mixture come to a boil. Once it has begun to boil, reduce the heat, and allow the mixture to cook for the next hour.
Once the hour is up, add the Cajun seasoning or the Kosher salt, and allow the meal to cook for another half an hour. Turn off the heat, and allow the mixture to cool a little bit before serving.
4. Okra and Tamarind Stewed Fish
This healthy and flavor infused meal is traditional to the people of Singapore (48). The meal can serve four individuals, and it takes approximately one hour and twenty minutes to prepare and cook.
4 cups of fresh trimmed okra
1 ¼ pounds of mackerel or cod
2 cups of water
A teaspoon of salt
1 ½ tablespoons of tamarind paste
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of peanut oil
2 Serrano chiles
A cup of sliced shallots
2 teaspoons of turmeric (ground)
2 tablespoons of ginger (chopped)
2 teaspoons of cumin
Half a teaspoon of mustard seeds
3 cloves of chopped garlic
A tablespoon of chili powder
Cut the tomatoes into mid-sized wedges, and stem and halve the Serrano chiles. In addition, cut the fish selected into 4 portions.
Mix the tamarind paste with water in a shallow bowl.
Next, pour the peanut oil in a skillet, and place the skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, ginger, garlic, and the shallots, stir and allow to cook preferably until the shallots begin to soften. Add the chili powder, along with the turmeric, coriander, and cumin, stir often until they become fragrant.
Mix in the brown sugar, the salt, chiles, tamarind paste, and the okra. let the mixture simmer and stir gently. Cover the mixture and allow it to cook until the okra becomes tender.
Once they have tenderized, add the tomatoes, stir, and then add the fish. Let the mixture simmer, and then cover. Allow it to cook until the fish is tender and opaque. This should take an
additional five minutes.
5. Pickled Okra
This is a really simple recipe that only takes about twenty minutes to prepare, and will require at least three weeks of standing time (49). This recipe will yield at least five jars of pickled okra.
3 pounds of okra pods
3 small red peppers (halved)
3 cups of white vinegar
5 cloves of peeled garlic
A third of a cup of canning and pickling salt
2 teaspoons of dill seeds
Ensure that the jars and their lids are sterilized by boiling them.
Meanwhile, wash the okra, and discard their stems. Mix three cups of water with dill seeds, vinegar, and salt, and pour the mixture into a large saucepan. Let the mixture boil.
place a garlic clove and a hot pepper in each of the boiling jars. Put as many okra pods in each jar as possible, and make sure some have their stems facing up while the others have them facing down. Pour in the pickling liquid made above, and then seal the jars, allowing them to process for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the boiling water, and let them stand for the next 24 hours. Ensure that they are properly sealed, and then store them in a cool place void of light. You should refrigerate the jars after you open them.