It’s by no means been simpler (or tastier) to cook dinner vegan, even in case you’re not doing it full-time. In Half-Time Plant-Based mostly, affiliate cooking editor Antara Sinha brings you vibrant concepts from veggie-forward cookbooks.
Peruse the web for okra knowledge and article after article will declare that can assist you do one factor and one factor solely: Prepare dinner it utterly slime-free. However let’s be actual. Should you’ve ever sliced okra, it is a near-impossible feat. Regardless of how fastidiously you allow okra undisturbed within the pan, or what number of vinegar soaks you place okra via, it’s nonetheless going to get a little bit slimy.
Slime is only a truth of life relating to oft-maligned okra—like pith on an orange, or hairs on a raspberry—and “folks both prefer it or they don’t prefer it,” says Nik Sharma, creator of Veg-Desk: Recipes, Methods, and Plant Science for Large-Flavored, Vegetable-Centered Meals. By embracing the feel, and with some good cooking, you might be firmly within the “prefer it” camp. It’s time to work with the slime, and never in opposition to it. Right here’s find out how to get began.
What’s okra slime?
Okra slime is made up of a kind of sugar—a soluble fiber, if we’re getting particular. What we name slime is definitely known as mucilage (sorry) within the plant world, much like the jelly of aloe or nopal. You’re extra prone to see it after okra pods have been reduce and uncovered to moisture.
“Water attracts out the mucilaginous substance, and items of okra would possibly find yourself sticking to your knife and chopping board,” writes Sharma in Veg-Desk. “The extra water they meet, the stickier they get.” So to make your prep as simple as doable, give entire okra a radical pat dry with a kitchen towel earlier than you begin slicing.
Work with the slime, not in opposition to it
“When added to curries, gravies, and stews,” Sharma continues, “this substance is a boon as a result of it helps thicken the liquid.”
Whether or not it’s the solely thickening agent depends upon the dish. For a pot of gumbo, for instance, you’re nonetheless going to want to make a roux for that stew-y viscosity that gumbo is thought and liked for. However for veggie stews that want only a contact of physique to cling to rice or to scoop up with roti, like on this Curry Greens recipe, okra slices are a stellar thickener. Each recent, peak-season okra and the frozen, pre-sliced luggage from the grocery store can do the trick.
One more reason to like the slime: It’s truly key to the crispiest okra. “The mucilage is mainly a carbohydrate—it dehydrates and varieties a pleasant crust on high,” says Sharma. “It provides crunchiness.”
These carbohydrates assist to create that caramelized, crackly okra pores and skin on dishes like this Bhindi Ki Sabzi. Giving it a little bit agitation within the pan to convey out a number of the stickiness, then leaving it undisturbed till it crisps up is the important thing to that even browning.