I didn’t always love okra. I remember liking the traditional battered and deep fried kind when I was a little kid, and I’ve never objected to its presence in other dishes. Okra alone, however, was a big no. In retrospect, I’m guessing this was because the only way I’d had it solo was boiled. I’ve since had it many ways and found there are several ways I enjoy eating it. Boiled, however, is still not on the list.
Thanks to boiled okra, the first word that pops to mind when I think of okra is still “slimy”. I would probably still think I disliked it, except a few years ago I found myself managing the market garden of a small farm right smack dab in the middle of a horrible drought. Turns out, okra is not only drought tolerant, but straight up prolific in hot, dry conditions that will wreck most summer crops. As a result, I spent that summer cooking more okra than I’ve ever been willing to eat. Hunger is a great motivator.
This recipe is deceptively simple. It’s just okra sauteed with a little salt and chili powder. Cooked this way, the outsides of the okra get just a bit crisp. This makes a nice balance to the stickier internal texture of the okra. If you have a garden overflowing with okra that you need to use up, or just want a lovely summer veggie side dish that isn’t squash or tomato based, this is a great option.
- 1 lb. fresh okra
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp chili powder
Cut stem ends off of all on the okra, the slice in half lengthwise.
Place okra in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and chili powder. Stir gently until okra is well coated with this mixture.
Heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Cast iron is better, but a non-stick frying pan will work fine as well.
Add oil and spice coated okra to pan. Cook until soft (approximately 10 minutes), stirring every 2-3 minutes.