Okra: Exotic vegetables for the home kitchen
Do you know okra? The green pods are among the oldest vegetable plants in the world and are an important ingredient in African and Asian cuisine. According to their shape, they are also called "Lady? S Finger".
The okra belongs to the botanical family of the mallow family and is native to Africa. Today it is grown in many tropical and subtropical areas, with India and Nigeria leading in production. The shrub can grow over two meters high and bears capsule fruits up to 15 cm long. The pods are harvested unripe, otherwise they will become woody. They are mostly green, fluffy, hairy, angular and beak-like. The small, bright seeds in the fruit chambers are also edible. The vegetables contain hardly any calories. Ingredients include provitamin A, vitamins B and C, but also minerals such as calcium and iron.
Before preparation, the pods are washed, dried and the stem and dry tip removed. Then the okra can be prepared in a variety of ways. In salads, for example, it is thinly sliced and combined with tomatoes, onions and coriander. Cooked, roasted or steamed results in a mildly aromatic vegetable that tastes a bit like green beans. However, it also has a tart and tart note. Okra goes well with meat, fish and seafood and is often used for vegetable pans or a spicy curry. The pods contain a milky mucus that escapes when cooked and acts like cornstarch. Therefore, they can be used to thicken soups, stews and sauces. If you want to avoid this effect, blanch the okra in vinegar water for a few minutes and put it off cold. Another option is to soak in cold lemon water.
Okra pods are primarily available in African and Asian shops. Pay attention to freshness and quality when shopping. The pods should be green, crunchy and at most 10 cm long. Fruit that is already shriveled or hard is not suitable for consumption. Okra is also preserved in canned and dry goods. Dried pods, however, have to be watered for 24 hours before they can be prepared. Heike Kreutz, respectively