Okra, also known as “lady’s finger”, or “bamia” is one of the popular nutritious vegetables of North-East African origin. The pods usually gathered while they are green, tender, and at immature stage. The plant is cultivated throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions around the world for their fibrous fruits or “pods.” Bamia grows best in well-drained and manure rich soil.
The okra plant bears numerous dark green colored pods measuring about 5-15 cm in length. It takes about 45-60 days to get ready-to-harvest fruits. Internally, the pods feature small, round, mucilaginous white colored seeds arranged in vertical rows. The pods are handpicked while just short of reaching maturity and eaten as a vegetable.
Some medicinal facts about Okra :
The bamia pods are among the very low calorie vegetables. They provide just 30 calories per 100 g besides containing no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, they are rich sources of dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins; often recommended by nutritionists in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
The pods are one of the rich sources of mucilage substance that help in smooth peristalsis of digested food through the gut and ease constipation condition.
The pods compose healthy amounts of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein. It is one of the vegetables with highest levels of these anti-oxidants. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Fresh pods are the good source of folates; provide about 22% of RDA per 100 g. Consumption of foods rich in folates, especially during the pre-conception period helps decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the offspring.
The gumbo pods are also an excellent source of anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-C, providing about 36% of daily-recommended levels. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps human body develop immunity against infectious agents, reduce episodes of cold and cough and protect it from harmful free radicals.
They are rich in B-complex group of vitamins like niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. The pods also contain good amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones.
The pods are also good source of many important minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.
source : http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/okra.html
Fresh, immature okra podscan be readily available in the stores all around the year. The pods feature attractively rich green-color and have neutral flavor. In the store, look for crispy, immature pods and avoid those with over-ripen, sunken appearance, discolored spots, cuts and mushy.
Once at home, eat them while they are fresh to obtain full benefits of vitamins and anti-oxidants. They may also stay well for 1-2 days when placed inside the refrigerator. E
Okra is one of the favorite vegetable in my house. Out of many preparations, Dahi Bhindi is something i personally love a lot. Whole okras cooked slowly in a thick yoghurt gravy gives an amazing color, texture and flavor to the humble veggie. The recipe is quick and can be made with handful of ingredients at home.
For making dahi bhindi, the selection of okra is very important. You should always prefer the tender ones which are smaller in size as compared to the bigger ones. If the okras are too big, in that case you can cut them into two halves before using for the curry. The quantity of curd used in the recipe again totally depends upon your personal choice. I had this curry long back in a punjabi dhaba and the curd content in the curry was too much, it was almost like having a Bhindi Kadhi. I personally prefer curd and the masala, spices to be in a balanced ratio, hence i always try to use fresh home made curd. But if you are using the store bought curd, make sure it’s not too sour. If it’s sour then reduce the quantity of curd in the curry. So let’s move on to the recipe …