I love summer veggies! Beautiful tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, edamame and of course okra. Growing up in the North East of the U.S., I never ate okra. My first okra was in Japan over 20 years ogo, and I immediately fell in love. I can eat bowls of lightly boiled okra with soy sauce and fish shavings every day! Okra is very healthy and versatile vegetable. Sharing with you a little about okra and six simple and healthy recipes that are easy to make. Cooking with okra is easy, economical and healthy. Eat Shun (in season)!
What is Okra?
Okra is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, calcium, and potassium. It is also known for being high in antioxidants. The origin of Okra is disputed but most likely eastern Africa or South East Asia. The plant grows in warm to tropical climates. It is a easy plant to grow in Japan on your veranda or patio. Okra was not originally eaten in Japan and did not become popular until the end of the 19th century. In Japan, okra is usually served with soy sauce and katsuobushi as tempura and more recently as a nigiri sushi topping. Some people do not like the slimy nature of Okra when cooked. If you are adverse to the slime of okra, cook it with a little lemon, tomato juice or vinegar which will break down the slime.
Cooking with Okra – Great recipes for your family!
1. Okra Aemono: Seasoned Boiled Okra (from Kaneko’s Kitchen.com) is a perfect recipe for classic boiled okra with soy sauce and fish flakes (katsuobushi). The explanation is very clear and has great photos for each step. Okra Aemono is a must know Japanese recipe.
2. Roasted Okra (from All Recipes.com) is so easy that you can whip it up in 10 mins. A great summer side dish to complement meat or fish. This recipe is not slimy, rather a bit crispy and salty. Good replacement for french fries.
3. Peppery Grilled Okra With Lemon-Basil Dipping Sauce (from My Recipes.com) is amazing if you are grilling this season. A super flavour low fat grilled recipe. This recipe will become a stable in your family.
4. Japanese stir-fried okra vegetable recipe (from Fiona’s Japanese Cooking) is a delicious stir-fry that is made with Shichimi-togarashi, which is Japanese seven spice pepper mix. A great side dish with a refreshing cold beer on a hot summer day. This recipe is from Fiona’s Japanese Cooing blog. I am looking forward to her cook book coming out in September 2015.
5. Japanese-style Curry Soup with Tofu and Okra (from Cookpad.com) is a rich and filling soup for a cool or rainy day. I made this the other day, and the kids loved it! Easy, yummy and economical.
6. Fried Okra (from Food Network.com) are a favourite of my teenagers. These are easy to make and will disappear quickly. You do need buttermilk for the recipe that is NOT easy to find in Japan, but easy to make. To make buttermilk add one tablespoon of white vinegar to one cup of whole milk and let sit for one hour.
Cooking with Okra
Organized by Seasonality here are our favorite Japanese ingredients and recommend family friendly recipes.
Our favorite places to shop for groceries!
Did you enjoy this article? If yes, please sign-up for the Best Living Japan newsletter so you don’t miss any great info. It is easy to sign-up just click here, and enter your email.