Saturday, July 12, 2014

Kitchen Intuition: Okra—you might be eating it wrong

I have a friend who claims to not like okra. But I will forever maintain that she’s simply never had it prepared properly. That’s because just about every restaurant that features okra on a menu, along with almost every cookbook that includes an okra recipe, insists that it must be breaded and fried. If you don’t like that, you can be forgiven for thinking that you don’t like okra. But with apologies to my (adopted) Southern home, I don’t really like all that many fried foods, and if the only okra I’d ever eaten was the fried version, I’d avoid it, too. But I don’t, because okra is awesome.
If you think you don’t like okra, the first thing to do is to find yourself a good bowl of properly made gumbo. To qualify, the gumbo has to have okra in it; if it doesn’t, it’s not really gumbo. The name "gumbo" is actually derived from the African word for okra. Both the plant and the dish arrived in the United States via West Africans who brought them to colonial Louisiana during the slave trade in the 18th century.

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