What is okra? Is it a fruit or a vegetable? How do you cook it? Can you cook it inside the microwave for convenience’s sake? Keep on reading to find out the truth about okra and microwaves.
Whether cooking okra on the grill, on the stovetop, or inside the oven, the secret to cooking them is turning up the heat than cooking the vegetable rather quickly. Okra lovers everywhere adore this vegetable because of its healthiness and unique flavor.
If you’ve ever eaten eggplant or aubergine, okra tastes like that. In regards to how to cook okra in the microwave, keep on reading to find out.
Cooking Okra in Microwave
You should first wash the okras before slicing them. When microwaving these vegetables, place them inside a microwave-safe casserole dish with 2 tablespoons of water per okra. Cover the container then microwave the whole thing at 100 percent power or high for 4-6 minutes or until they’re tender.
Stir them once during the 2-3 minute mark. Drain the water and, if you wish, add a bit of butter to the okra like you would when steaming broccoli. If you wish to learn how to cook frozen okra, then just follow the directions indicated on its package.
Frozen Okra and Alternative Ways of Cooking
You can put frozen okra in stews and soups. It has a viscous interior liquid you can utilize to thicken any soupy dish. If you wish for a Louisiana type of recipe, try the recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo that makes use of this okra.
You can also place the okras inside a microwave-safe bowl with ¾ cup of water instead. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or lid then place inside the microwave. Cook this okra recipe on high or full power for 3-4 minutes instead. Take the okras out of the machine then lift the plastic wrap.
Test the pod by poking it with a fork. If the fork easily goes through the veggie while it still manages to retain its shape and crispiness then the okra is ready to eat.
How to Prepare Okra for Cooking
Prepping okra for cooking involves washing it first. To be more specific, use a colander in order to wash and rinse the fresh okra using cool tap water. Drain the water completely. Only slice the okra when cooking it if your recipe requires you to do so.
As for cutting okra, use a sharp paring knife. Afterwards, cut off the stem then cut each pod crosswise into half-inch slices. If your recipe requests for other widths for the slices, follow that instead. Take note that 8 ounces of fresh okras will get you 2 cups of sliced okras.
Can You Microwave Okra or Not?
Okra cooks remarkably well inside the microwave. Microwaving it with the simplest of instructions is possible because of its thick walls of pods. These pods become tender but won’t disintegrate like other veggies you’ve tried to microwave (like perhaps squash or veggies found in ramen).
In other recipes, you have to remove the vegetables in order to instead microwave the meat instead. However, okra has meat-like properties to them that makes it more microwaveable.
Debunking Misconceptions in Cooking Okra
Although microwaves have a bad reputation as cookers, they’re pretty good if you follow the right recipe and cooking instructions. Every time you end up with sloppy mush for food, it’s not because of the microwave.
It’s because you’re not using the microwave right or you’re microwaving the wrong foods. No, okra isn’t unpleasant and slimy. This is a common misconception (like with steamed broccoli). If you cook okra right it becomes a delicious meal in and of itself (also like steamed broccoli).
The Results of Cooking Okra by Microwaving
You can prepare whole okra pods in many ways. When you microwave okra (or cook it in any other way), the thickening paste inside the pod is only released when the pods get sliced. When prepping the veggies, you need to cut the stems atop the okra pods first.
Don’t cut the pods open because the paste inside will get released, resulting in slimy okra. Only do so if your recipe requires the viscosity of okra paste to thicken its soup stock or stew. Not if you wish to eat the okras alone.
FAQ about Okras
Okra is not as common a vegetable as carrots, celery, or eggplants. However, like kale, it’s gaining popularity among the vegans and vegetarians out there. Regardless, here are some answers to your burning questions about okras.
- What is Okra? Okra serves as a member of the mallow plant family. In the U.S., it’s a Southern cooking mainstay. This veggie was brought to the country by Ethiopians. The edible part of the plant used in recipes is the oblong green okra pod, by the way.
- What’s the Best Way to Cook Okra? You can microwave, boil, or fry okra. It tastes great in many ways, mostly for use in stews and soups as thickeners. Most people find the fried variety preferable but any cooking method using high temperatures will suffice.
- What is Okra’s Nutritional Value? Half a cup of raw okra contains 150 milligrams of potassium, 41 milligrams of calcium, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of fat, and 16 calories. Its nutritional value gets affected by the way you cook it or what you put on it (like butter).
- When is Okra in Season? Fresh okras’ peak season is May to September. You can get it year-round from he Southern U.S. or if your store imports from them. When choosing okra, go for crisp, small, and brightly colored pods without blemishes like brown spots.
- How to Store Fresh Okra: Okras storage requires refrigeration of tightly wrapped okras. You can refrigerate them up to 3 days before they’re no good anymore. Don’t buy or eat any okra pod that’s already shriveled.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
This article has shown how to cook okra fast in the microwave. Okra has a meaty texture with an eggplant flavor, thus it can serve as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians (like tofu) eating meatless meals. This summery veggie serves as a hearty anchor for your cooking.
If you’re more omnivorous, okra serves as a side dish to any meat type you eat, especially those you’ve cooked hot off of the grill. You can also grill okra too. It’s one of the most versatile veggies out there.
- Natalie Smith, “How to Cook Okra in the Microwave“, Retrieved January 29, 2022
- Wini Moranville, “4 Honestly Delicious Ways You Can Cook Okra at Home“, BHG.com, April 22, 2020