Okra's long distinct shape and tendency to get slimy or sticky sets it apart from other green vegetables. Okra doesn't appear as readily in supermarkets as other vegetables. The lack of availability and the unfamiliarity with how to cook the vegetable scares off some home cooks. The way you prepare and cook the okra helps you achieve a flavorful and slime-free dish for your next meal.
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The preparation phase affects how slimy the okra is when served. Water enhances the sliminess so hold off on washing the vegetables until you are ready to cook them. Cutting okra also releases the slimy texture. Keep cutting to a minimum unless necessary for the recipe. Recipes that call for whole okra tend to seem the least slimy because the pod isn't cut extensively. Cut off the ends while leaving the rest of the okra pod intact.
The cooking method also affects how much slime forms on the okra. Cooking methods that use high heat to cook the okra quickly help you achieve slime-free okra. Frying is a popular cooking method for okra that reduces slime, but it adds extra fat and calories to the vegetable. Try searing the okra in a small amount of hot oil in a skillet. Grilling is another high-heat source for cooking okra. Slide the okra pods onto skewers so they don't fall through the grates.
Soak in Vinegar
Soaking the okra in vinegar before cooking may help reduce the sliminess of the cooked vegetable. The University of Illinois Extension suggests soaking the okra in vinegar for 30 minutes before you prepare it. 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 after you soak it in vinegar.
When overcooked, vegetables begin losing quality with deterioration of both the flavor and texture. In the case of okra, overcooking tends to increase the sliminess, accord to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on their Fruits and Veggies Matters website. Follow the cooking guidelines in the recipe, cooking only as long as indicated. The cooking time varies slightly with different cooking appliances so rely on visual clues to determine when the okra is done.