Please disregard this post if you’re from anywhere near Louisiana; I apologize for other people’s ignorance. As for the rest of y’all, find the nearest Cajun restaurant, order some quality gumbo, and look for those green wheel-shaped things in the stew. That’s okra.
Okra is not just in gumbo (although that’s my favorite preparation of it). Okra is also found in Middle Eastern, Indian and West African cuisine, usually in stews, curries, and stir-fries. Breaded and deep-fried okra is considered a delicacy in the Southern United States. The vegetable is usually green, although some varieties are purple. When cooking okra, chefs either leave it whole (minus the stem of course) or cut it into pieces, with seeds intact (you can eat the seeds, but they don’t have much of a taste).
People tend to identify okra by its slimy consistency when cooked, although some prefer to minimize the slime factor by reducing cooking time or cooking the whole pod (rather than cut it up in pieces). Whichever may you try it, okra will provide a healthy, unique addition to your next soup or stew.