Okras long and elegant pods, also known as lady’s fingers, are high in vitamins A and C.Okra is cultivated as a vegetable and used extensively in Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Indian and Southeast Asian cooking. Okra's long distinct shape and tendency to get slimy or sticky sets it apart from other green vegetables.Certain cooking techniques will prevent your okra dish from being overly slimy.Okra can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as boiled, baked, breaded ,fried, microwaved & sautéed, and is also used in soups and stews. A common complaint when cooking okra is that it becomes too slimy. It is important to remember that you cannot avoid some slime when cooking okra. However, you can reduce the amount of slime by using tips mentioned below.
WASH WHEN READY :-Water enhances the sliminess so hold off on washing the okra until you are ready to cook them. After washing make sure to dry them really good..( I use a paper / kitchen towel to wipe and dry each okra before cutting).If your okra was refrigerated, bring it to room temperature first and pat it dry before slicing or cooking the okra.
LET IT DRY BEFORE COOKING:-Cut okra into rounds, diagonally or long slices. Once cut, put into the sun for at least 30 mins to dry and remove some excess moisture. Alternately, spread them on kitchen towel in single layer and leave it for few hours on your counter top at room temperature.It is a must that the okras are dried properly to reduce sliminess.If you are serving the okra whole as a side dish, and don't want the liquid to be released during the cooking, trim around the stalks in a cone shape, so that the pod isn't pierced. While chopping them; make sure that you have dry chopping board and knife. Keep dry kitchen paper next to you and clean the slime from knife using it whenever needed.
COOK LOW AND SLOW:- This i learned from my mom to cook okra on low heat without stirring too much. When sauteing okra, be sure that it is spread out in an even layer in the pan ( i always like to use non stick pan). If the pan is over crowded, the okra will begin to sweat and release moisture (slime).NEVER NEVER cover the pan while the okra is cooking. Covering the pot will cause steam and unwanted moisture.
ADD SALT LAST:-Add salt to okra only when it is just finished cooking. To add the salt, let the okra cook completely, remove it from the heat and then sprinkle salt to taste and toss quickly. If you add the salt at the beginning of the cooking process or during, it can result in a release of moisture (slime).
More KITCHEN TIPS
SOME OTHER TIPS TO REDUCE SLIMINESS OF OKRA
1)Soaking the okra in vinegar before cooking may help reduce the sliminess of the cooked vegetable.Rinse the okra with fresh water and pat the pods dry after the vinegar soak. Prepare and cook the okra as directed in the recipe. (soak them in water with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar for at least 15 minutes). ( I have yet to try this one).
2)Reduce the amount of slime by adding a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice or Dried mango powder or soy yogurt to okra while cooking.