Okra is a tropical plant that produces finger-like pods that are best harvested when they are about 4 to 5 inches long. Although okra’s geographic roots are unclear, it is believed to have originated from northeastern Africa. It is perhaps best loved these days in West Africa, the Caribbean and southern United States where it is eaten fried and soups and stews. Cooked okra is known for its unique, mucilaginous texture which is a fancy way of saying “slimy” but I wouldn’t recommend using that term with okra lovers. For them, its unique consistency is part of its charm. The simple recipe below comes from our friends at the Obodo Ahiara Community Garden in Nigeria.
Simple Vegetarian Okra Soup
- pumpkin leaves (possible substitutes: spinach, collards or chard )
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut okra into tiny pieces and pour in a pot of boiling water
- Grind fresh pepper, add fresh pepper and salt to taste (other seasoning is optional)
- Add tiny diced tomatoes and allow to boil for 15 – 20 mins to avoid over-cooking, stir occassionally
- Wash pumpkin leaves, cut into tiny pieces, add into the pot and stir well.
- Cover the cooking pot, let simmer for 5 minutes and it is ready to be served
Photo credit: Tory Avey