Okra or Lady Finger is a tropical crop rich in essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. It has both medicinal and therapeutic properties owing to its nutritional profile and bio-active compounds.
How to cook Okra?
Okra is popularly known as Bhindi in India. The immature fruits of the plant are consumed as a vegetable by stir-frying, as a salad, pickled, put in soups and stews, fried, or dried format. The whole plant including the flowers, pods, fruits, and leaves are considered edible.
Okra should be ideally consumed during breakfast or for lunch. It should be avoided in dinner as it is heavier to digest.
Okra in Ayurveda
Okra is mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment and diet involving gastrointestinal and inflammatory disorders.
It has been observed that consistent and substantial intake of the pods can remove chronic cardiovascular disorders and also help to prevent ulcers and cancer.
Nutrition Profile of Okra
Okra is rich in dietary fiber, proteins, and Vitamins with very low fat and cholesterol content.
- Its seeds are a rich source of linoleic acid, an essential nutrient that makes up polyunsaturated fats. Its seeds are also a rich source of protein that has high availability of essential amino acids for our body.
- It is a good source of Vitamins as Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, and Folate.
- It is a very good source of Minerals like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Manganese and contains Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, and Copper.
- It has a high concentration of antioxidants such as bioactive phenolic compounds, catechin, and flavonoids. The antioxidants present in Okra helps to scavenge free radicals from both water and fat based cells in the body, hence acting in synergy and efficiency.
- The mucilage from Okra is a rich source of polysaccharides that act as a prebiotic and support gut flora.
Health Benefits of Eating Okra
Supports Heart Health and Good Cholesterol
- Heart-friendly. Its mucilage, the thick and slimy fluid has the capability to bind and remove cholesterol and toxins from the blood.
- It helps to stabilize blood sugar levels due to its high fiber content, hence highly recommended for Diabetics.
Anti-inflammatory and Immunity Boosting
- Its rich antioxidant profile protects against inflammatory disorders and also acts as a chemopreventive agent, hence recommended for cancer patients undergoing treatment.
- It flushes toxins from the blood and body organs, hence acting as a cleansing agent. This reduces the load and prevents disorders of our excretory organs kidneys and liver in specific.
Supports Digestive System
- Supports the digestive system, boosts up metabolism and flushes toxins out. This speeds weightloss and tones the body.
- Polysaccharides present in the skin prevent adhesion and growth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut and provide ample fiber to cleanse the colon.
Prevents excessive bleeding disorders
- A high amount of Vitamin K present in it supports the thickening of the blood.
- Hence, it is recommended for people suffering from easy bruising, nosebleed, heavy menstrual bleeding, and bleeding gums.
Skin and Eye Health
- Supports eye-sight and due to high concentrations of beta-carotene.
- Supports healthy skin and blood, hence regular consumption makes the skin clear, soft, and supple.
High Folate content – Supports Growth and Brain Function
- Supports healthy pregnancy by nourishing both mother and fetus due to a high concentration of proteins, antioxidants, Vitamin C, and folate.
- Supports brain growth, cell growth, and neural tune connection in babies. Supports mothers weakened digestive system as well.
- Prevents and heals neurogenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Okra Recipe – Indian style stir-fry
Stir-fried Okra with Potato – Lady Finger – Aloo Bhindi
- Heavy Bottom Pan
- 700 g Fresh Okra
- 1 Medium Potato optional
- 2 Medium Onion
- 2 tsp Panchforan mix an equal proportional mix of 5 seeds – mustard, fennel, fenugreek, cumin, and Nigella seeds. It can be replaced with 1 tsp Mustard seeds and 1 tsp Cumin seeds.
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 3 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 1 Green Chili Optional
- 1½ tsp Dried Mango Powder – Amchur It can replaced with 1 tbsp yogurt or 1½ pomegranate seeds powder or 1 Medium chopped tomato
- 2 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 2 tsp Coriander Seeds Powder
- 2 tsp Rock Salt To taste
- 3 sprigs Fresh coriander leaves or cilantro leaves
- 1 inch Fresh ginger root
- 1 pinch Hing – Asafetida
- 3 cups Whole wheat flour To make chapati
- 5 tsp Ghee or Olive Oil To make Chapati
Cooking the Vegetable
- Wash the Okra nicely. Keep aside in a strainer so that it becomes dry. Or tap it dry with a towel. If we cut the okra while it is wet, it becomes gooey due to its high mucilage content.
- Cut the dried okra into small pieces as shown in the picture.
- Cut the potatoes into small pieces of half inch cubes.
- Cut the onions long and thin. Finely chop or pound garlic and ginger.
- Heat a pan and put mustard oil.
- Once the oil is a little hot, add panchforan seed mix and Asafetida.
- Let the seeds splutter. Add onions, ginger, garlic and mix till they turn golden brown.
- Add salt and cut potato. Mix well and cover. Let it cook for 5 mins on low heat
- Add Okra, mix well and cover on low heat for 5 mins.
- Add turmeric, coriander powder, and salt. Mix well for few seconds.
- Add Amchur powder to remove the mucilage from the vegetable. It will also add a slightly tangy taste to the vegetable, which is delicious!
- Mix and cover for another 5 mins on low heat till the okra and potatoes are soft.
- Serve with chapati or as a side dish with rice/porridge. Enjoy
- Start kneading the dough by slowly adding water (in tablespoons) to the flour. Keep kneading the dough simultaneously.
- Once the dough is made, keep it aside and cover it for 10 mins.
- Roll the dough into small golf-ball shaped balls.
- Flatten the balls with a roller to make circular discs.
- Place the disc on a hot pan and heat it well on both sides to make hot Chapatis. Apply oil if needed.