11 Ways to Use Okra

Okra Double Dippers Photo © John Kernick
By Kristin Donnelly Posted September 18, 2014

Here are 11 dishes to make with okra, from most slimy to least.

A polarizing vegetable because of its, er, slime potential, okra is one of the highlights of the late-summer market. For an okra experience that’s low on the slime scale, here’s the rule: The more parts of the vegetable you expose to dry heat, the less gooey it will be. Here are 11 dishes to make with okra, from most slimy to least.

1. Gumbo. This Louisiana dish is probably what’s given okra its slimy reputation—the vegetable is sliced and simmered so all of its goo leaches out. Believe or not, that goo has a purpose: It thickens the stew into something magical.

2. Quick vegetable stew. Thickly slice okra and cook it briefly with tomatoes so it’s tender but not overly slimy.

3. Stuffed peppers. Add okra to a succotash that you stuff into poblanos. The spicy peppers will distract you from any okra textural issues.

4. Pickled. A Bloody Mary must-have, pickled okra has a slight slime factor but so much flavor that you’ll hardly think about it.

5. Dipped. For a fun take on crudités, blanch okra then double dip them: First in mayo, then in “sprinkles” like sesame seeds and diced chile.

6. Sautéed. Keep the okra whole and sauté them briefly in oil. Add garlic and lime zest for flavor, and cashews for crunch.

7. Grilled. Grill whole okra until charred, then toss them with a flavorful dressing. (You can also roast them whole for a low-slime effect.)

8. Double fried. Fry thickly sliced okra in oil until soft, then stir-fry with a flavorful sauce.

9. Crispy fried. Coat okra in egg and cornmeal, then fry. The crisp coating will distract you from any little bit of slime.

10. Halved and pan-roasted. Halve okra lengthwise, then char them in a piping hot cast-iron skillet, which will render them nearly slime-free.

11. Julienned and fried. For a truly slimeless okra experience—one that will convert even the most vehement okra hater, make okra the way chef Suvir Saran does: Thinly slice the pods lengthwise, then fry the wispy strands. Even the seeds become crisp.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.M

Related: 10 Southern Comfort Sides
How to Make Gumbo
22 One-Pot Meals

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