Image credit to http://www.physiology.wisc.edu/
Okra’s are cool. They look weird, they cut into cute shapes with patterns and once they get some cooking they turn into something out of this world….and let’s not forget how amazingly nutritious they are. But first what is an okra? Of course it is a vegetable (if you’re interested in the amazing power of the Okra please read)
I first met an okra years ago living in Melbourne when I decided that I wanted to spice the kitchen up with some different kind of vegetables and from studying alternative medicine I found that it would help with what was wrong with me at the time. I wasn’t a fan of the Okra, I’ll be honest.
Then at the end of last year I met them again and was determined to find dishes that the family would love and either love the okra part or not even know they were in there.
For such a small little vegetable they are quite versatile. You can slice, cook whole, fry, bake, add to soups, stews, stir-fry’s and curries. You see; Okra’s are very popular in Indian cuisine and Southern American cooking. They have this unbelievable capability to gelatinise and thicken liquids (hence fabulous for soups and curries). I started adding them to my dishes unnoticed and it didn’t bother me. I crumbed in nuts and seeds and fried; they were nice. But I was still determined to create a meal that was fresh and tasty so I could say that it is a vegetable I use on all platforms of my eating lifestyle.
Mixed with a variety of cooked and raw vegetables, with different seasonings and fresh citrus, you can love Okra too.
Introducing Okra salads….. different, great, versatile.
Grilled Vegetable Okra Salad
A doz Okra pods sliced
2 Zucchini’s cut into 1 cm cubes
½ Eggplant cut into 1 cm cubes –keep other half for next nights curry 😉
2 red chillies finely diced– seeds optional
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Himalayan salt and black pepper to season
2 tsp fish sauce – check the ingredients of the brand you buy
2 tsp of Tamari or coconut aminos
1 tsp 100% maple syrup – or like sweetener
Bunch of mixed herbs (we love basil and mint)
Juice of 1 whole Lime
Toss Zucchini and Eggplant in Coconut oil and chopped chillies, season with salt and pepper.
Grill on BBQ or Bake in hot oven at 180c until soft and tender
Meanwhile make dressing…
Combine all ingredients but herbs in a jar with a lid and shake until the sauce turns opaque.
Let vegetables cool slightly
To a bowl add okra, vegetables, dressing and herbs.
Toss and eat.
Try a sprinkle of crushed nuts on the top (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
RAW Okra Salad
A doz okra pods sliced
1 Bunch of coriander
1 Cucumber cubed
2 sticks of celery sliced
1 Zucchini ribboned with peeler
1 Cold roasted beetroot cubed
Walnuts to serve
Juice of 1 Lime
A few drops of sesame oil
¼ cup of macadamia oil
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
½ cup mint leaves
2 stevia leaves torn (or 1 tsp maple syrup – or like sweetner)
Mix dressing in a jar and pour over salad mix
Either eat fresh or let sit with the dressing for 5-10 and enjoy
Try different vegetables. I add Avocado and Tomato, Capsicum and Kale. Whatever is in season.
Mix a pesto through your salads, add eggs, nuts, prawns and chicken. Get creative and get the family involved. There’s nothing more encouraging than a kid that eats what they have created.
Now I’m off to ferment some Okra and I may even try to dehydrate the little fingers.
Handy Info; Did you know that okra is a rich source of beta-carotene, B-Complex vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and sodium? It is an very hydrating food due to its rich electrolyte content and it helps preserve the body’s balance of fluids which is necessary for nerve impulse transmission. The pectin in okra is known to lower blood cholesterol levels. (Great for runners like me)
my images to come