Have you ever eaten okra? For those of you who have not eaten okra, you are missing out! Okra is made of a green pod that contains small seeds and a gooey substance. The dislike of okra by some people can be explained by the mucilage (sticky juices) that is stored inside each pod as well as the soft texture of cooked okra.
My husband is one of those people who hate okra. He is not a picky eater, but since he was very little, he says he hated okra. The reason for this hatred towards okra is due to its soft texture attained after being cooked in a stew. I do purchase okra every once in a while. Each time, he eats just a little bit of it.
Okra is a very common vegetable in Turkish cuisine. It is cultivated in areas with warm temperatures. In Southern Turkey, I have seen vast fields of okra as the temperature there is very suitable for growing this vegetable. Also, it is very easy to find okra in Southern of the U.S. In fact, while living in the Midwest and the Northeast for so many years, I do not recall seeing this vegetable up there. It was very pleasing to be able to find okra and so many other veggies and fruits here in Southern part of the country.
In Turkey, okra is usually cooked with tomato sauce as a stew and that is my favorite. Okra can also be fried, grilled and sautéed. This recipe is very simple and does not take a long time to cook. It is perfect for a work night.
¾ lb okra
1 small yellow onion (sliced)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of Salt
Wash and drain the okra. Peel the stem of the okra in the shape of a cone rather than cutting it flat. If you cut the head of the okra flat, the mucilage of the okra will come out and make it mushy while cooking. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the okra and sautee for 5 minutes stirring continuously. Add the sliced onion, the ground black pepper, paprika and salt. Sautee for another 5-10 minutes until the okra is slightly soft, but also crunchy. Serve warm with rice pilaf.