Despite my love of cooking and of food there are still so many foods that I have yet to even try. Okra was one of them. Okra is definitely not something that I grew up eating and not usually something on the menu at a restaurant to try out (unless it's a Southern type BBQ joint or something). This past weekend, however, I thought I'd give them a try.
What I knew about them was that on their own they tend to be a bit gelatinous and not meant to be simply steamed or baked; they are best used in soups, stews, and casseroles. When combined with other ingredients you don't notice the gel-like quality of them and they actually work as a natural thickener.
Another benefit of okra's gelatinous nature is that it helps lubricate the large intestines due to its laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water, bulks up stools, and helps prevent constipation. Unlike harsher fiber-rich foods, okra's gel soothes and facilitates elimination more comfortably (like a lubricant). At the same time, it binds toxins in the intestines and ensures that they get through and out of the body.
Okra and Vegetable Soup
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 handfuls okra, ends trimmed and sliced to 1/2 inch thick pieces
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp (or more) chili flakes
- salt & pepper