Okra recipes: the benefits of okra and cooking ideas

Okra, also known as ladies' fingers because of their appearance, can be added to just about anything - including stews, curries and soups.

With more and more people resorting to a plant-based diet okra is slowly becoming the ingredient of choice to add substance to stews, curries and stir fry – and it can also be enjoyed as a simple, tasty snack. Okra is part of the marrow family and looks a little bit like a small courgette. It’s produced mainly in West Africa and South Asia and is a staple in those cuisines.

What are the benefits of eating okra?

The benefits of adding ladies’ fingers to your diet is massive. As well as being high in vitamins A and C it’s also high in fibre and promotes healthy skin. In the long run it can reduce your risk of heart disease and help prevent diabetes.

What are the effects of eating okra?

Once you’ve scoffed down your favourite okra curry or soup, it gets to work straight away by alkalising the body and stabilising your blood sugar. Not only does it aid your vision, it also supports your colon health and prevents constipation.

This superfood really does benefit you from head to toe, so check out these inspirational recipes.

1. Samharya bhinda

This Samharya bhinda recipe is great to have as a snack or goes perfectly as a side dish to any curry. Get the recipe here.

2. Crispy Indian ladies’ fingers

11 okra recipes

Image: Permission given by My Heart Beets

This recipe by My Heart Beets is said to taste a little like spicy green beans but better!  Sprinkle on top of soup or salad for a crouton alternative. Get the recipe here.

3.  Okra and cashew nut curry

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Okra/Ladysfinger with carom seeds in a tomato gravy. Recipe below: 1 cup of cubed Ladysfinger 1 cup tomato puree 3 cashews soaked in water 2 teaspoon carom seeds Pinch of asafoetida 1.2 teaspoon turmeric powder Red chilli powder/cayenne pepper to taste Salt to taste 1 teaspoon sugar 1 tbsp oil of your choice Heat a pan. Add a teaspoon of oil. Add the cubed okra and saute to get a slightly charred exterior on medium heat. About five minutes. Set aside. Make a smooth paste of the cashews along with the soaked water. Set aside. In the same pan, add the rest of the oil. Once hot, add the carom seeds and asafoetida. The room will have a nice aroma. Now add the tomato puree, chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar and salt. Mix. Cover and cook for about ten minutes on low medium heat. Now add the cashew paste and keep stirring for two to five minutes. Finally add the okra cubes and mix well. Cover and cook for five minutes or till okra is completely cooked. Serve with rotis, naans, Quinoa or your choice of rice. #simpleindianrecipes #noonionnogarlic #okracurry #healthyeating #dinnerideas #thenewhealthy #indianfood #instafood #homecooking #homemade #lovecooking #desifood #okra #ladysfinger #bhindi #caromseeds #curry #gravy #tomatocurry #cooking #vegetarianrecipes #vegetables #indiancuisine #maincourse #vegetariandish #indiancurry #indiangravy #foodies #instacurry #flavorsofindia

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This curry is great for all the family. Pair it with some fresh naan breads and add as much or as little spice as you like. You can follow the recipe in the caption above.

4. Okra with ginger and sesame seeds

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(new recipe!) Okra with Ginger and Sesame Seeds. Okra is a great vegetable because it's versatile. So, you can cook it in many different ways and never get tired of eating the same dish over and over again. Get the full recipe by clicking the link in my bio! * * * #okracurry #okras #vegetablecurry #curryvegetable #foodbloggersofinstagram #chicagofoodblogger #lafoodblogger #nycfoodbloggers #healthyfoodideas #vegetarianlife #vegetarianlifestyle #momlife #momlifebelike #mombloggers #stayathomemom #workathomemom #workfromhomemom #cookingformyfamily #vegetarianfood #dinnerideasforkids #dinnerrecipe #kidfriendlyrecipes  #pakistanirecipe #southasianfood #indianfoodrecipes #spicyindianfood #pakistanifood #pakistanidish #pakistanicuisine #southasiancuisine

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Try this delicious recipe with roti as a main course. Any left overs can be easily stored in the fridge for a coupe of days and enjoyed as a light snack. Get the recipe here.

5. Okra soup with assorted meats

This delicious warming soup recipe that’s full of healthy ingredients. Get the recipe here.

6. Chilli-garlic tofu noodle bowls with crispy okra

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Chilli-Garlic Tofu Noodle Bowls with Crispy Okra. My special touch to these is to add crispy okra strips and fried Thai basil leaves. They add the most beautiful crunch and are a delicious way of getting your okra fix as part of a dish that’s not curry. To make them, slice okra into long, thin strips, toss in a little cornflour and allow to sit for five minutes. Plunge them into hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until crispy and slightly golden. Try not to move them too much in the first minute to give the cornflour time to set on the okra. . . . Full recipe is on the blog 😘 . . . #chilli #garlic #tofu #noodles #asian #asianfood #okra #tofupuffs #thaibasil #basil #vermicelli #okrarecipes #mangetout #veggie #vegan #veganfood #vegansofig #veganfoodshare #eeeeeats #huffposttaste #tastespotting #foodphotography #devourpower #heresmyfood #f52grams #indianfoodbloggers #bowlfood

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This quick and easy recipe (outlined in the caption above) uses ladies’ fingers as an extra topping to add extra flavour and texture.

7. Okra stew

If you’re a meat eater why not give this hearty stew a go. Get the recipe here.

8. Okra corn fritters

There’s nothing better than comfort food and these fritters are just that. A naughty (and slightly healthy) snack- just add your favourite dipping sauce. Get the recipe here.

9. Fisherman’s okra soup

Fisherman’s soup is a traditional Nigerian soup, It takes less than half an hour to make and is so famous in Nigeria, books and poems have been written about how delicious this dish is. Get the recipe here.

10. Coconut curry

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Do you guys like okra? I have a very simple and yummy #sattvic and #vegan #Saturdaydinner recipe – coconut okra curry. Just fry some fresh chopped ginger in a bit of coconut oil, add some cayenne pepper and tumeric, let the lovely aroma to be released and then add and sauté red bell peppers. When they slightly soften, add coconut milk and let everything simmer, season with salt and pepper to taste. Later you add some frozen or fresh okra and let it cook through and you can also throw in some spinach towards the end as well as some chia seeds. Serve with brown rice 👌👌👌❤ #yogeshvarii #LoveYogicDiet 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 👌 👌 👌 👌 ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ #yogafood #sattvicfood #sattvicdiet #veganfood #plantbased #instafood #fitnessfood #yogalifestyle #yogiinlondon #veganlifestyle #yogateacherlife #healthyfood #healthydinner #dinnerrecipes #vegancurry #okracurry #nutritiousmeal #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #healthyrecipes

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This is probably the simplest recipes out there. Impress your dinner guests with this nutritious vegan meal. Follow the recipe written in the caption above, and serve with brown rice and naan.

11. Okra with soy and bonito flakes

Ladies’ fingers are used a lot in Asian cooking too. Try this easy dish for an alternative snack to edamame beans. Get the recipe here.

Words by Leanne Carr