Crop of the Week: Okra
Okra is found in it’s wild state on the alluvial banks of the
Nile and the Egyptians were the first to cultivate it in the basin of the Nile
(12’th century BC). It was propagated then through North Africa to the
Mediterranean and arrived then in the Americas at
Brazil (1658), Dutch Guinea and at New Orleans before extending in the
In Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Yemen, and other parts of the eastern
Mediterranean, including Cyprus, okra is widely used in a thick stew made with vegetables and
meat. In Indian and Pakistani cooking, it is sauteed or added to gravy based preparations and is
very popular in North India & Pakistan. In western parts of India, okra is one of the most popular
vegetables of all and is often cooked in daily meals.
Generally okra is stir fried with spices and some sugar.
Okra is also used in Kadhi. In Caribbean islands okra is cooked and eaten as
soup, often with fish. In Haiti, it is cooked with rice and maize; it is also used as a sauce for
meat. It became a popular vegetable in Japanese cuisine toward the end of the 20th century,
served with soy sauce and katsuobushi or as tempura. It is used as a thickening agent in gumbo.
Breaded, deep fried okra is served in the southern United States.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy okra?
Try these delicious recipes and share your own.