Today’s Menu – OKRO

     OKRO

Do you know that Okro, also known as Okra is a vegetable that is known all over the world? It is also included in many diets and enjoyed as a  healthy green delicacy. Try as often as possible to relish this vegetable in your kitchen. This is because of its numerous health benefits!

 

Whether one calls it okro or okra, the name is still the same. It is equally known as ladies’ finger, kidney vetch or gumbo. Okro is native to africa, but it is cultivated widely, however, extensively in the southern united states and west indies. Infact, virtually all african countries also cultivate and enjoy it.

Classified as hibiscus escenlentus or abelmoschus esculentus, okro is a yearly plant of the mallow family that is cultivated for its edible pods. It can be comfortably called a green vegetable, because of its green attractive colour.

 

Okro contains a large amount of mucilage – a gelatinous substance that makes it useful as a thickener.

Consuming this vegetable helps to prevent Colon Cancer: By cleaning out the intestinal tract, Okro is able to improve colon health by allowing the organ to work at a higher rate of efficiency, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer.

Okro is one of the best vegetable sources of dietary fibre essential for the digestive system. Dietary fibres in okro help prevent and relieve constipation. The soluble fibre  absorbs water and adds bulk to the stool thus preventing constipation. The dietary fibres contained in this vegetable also helps people who are on weight loss programs. Since it has a very low caloric value, it  is a great addition when losing weight.

 

The presence of Eugenol in Okra helps fight against diabetes. The fibre also helps stabilize blood sugar level by delaying sugar absorption from the intestines.

Okro is packed full with Vitamin C. The high Vitamin C content  therefore helps fight cold and cough by encouraging a healthy immune system. The Vitamin C and many essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, calcium and iron in okro also fight against harmful free radicals and help to promote an overall healthy immune system.

 

It is equally essential to note that Vitamin A and beta carotene found in okro are essential nutrients for maintaining good eyesight. In addition, these essential nutrients also help prevent eye related diseases such as cataracts as well as promote good eye health and even protects against age related eye disorders.

Okro is also rich in iron and is very ideal for pregnant women as it helps to build healthy blood supply to the body of the woman and her unborn baby. The iron content of okra forms haemoglobin in the blood and prevents anaemia and its  Vitamin K  content helps in blood coagulation.

 

This long ladies finger is equally good for children from six months and above. Due to its slimy nature, children find it easy to swallow any soup prepared with it and there’s hardly any child that abhors okro soup.

 

Kidney vetch is used mostly as a thickener for soups and stews. It can as well be cooked as a vegetable, and used as ingredients in various stews. It can also be sautéed, pickled, fried or steamed.

 

Okro is usually sold in abundance and at affordable price during rainy seasons. All you need do is buy as much and prepare any of these delicacies. Mind you, it must be fresh.

 

How do I know the fresh one? You may ask! Once you pick up your okro, break off the tip, if it cuts off immediately, it means its very fresh! If the tip is strong and unbreakable, it means its not very fresh.

                  OKRO AND OGBONO SOUP

 

Okro and Ogbono are very slimmy ingredients that help us in Nigeria to prepare good mouth watering draw soup! Usually, Okro is prepared in  a different way from ogbono, but sometimes they used together to prepare a kind of draw soup! This kind of soup is common in South Eastern States of Abia, Imo, Enugu, Anambra and Eboyin.

okro soup

A combination of both ingredients makes the soup very thick and most children enjoy this soup a great deal, especially with semo, wheat or fufu or even eba! Its also very easy to prepare, check it out in your kitchen!

 

Recipe for 4 servings:

2 cups okro (sliced or grated)

1 cup ogbono (ground)

4 fresh peppers (crushed)

3 tablespoons ground crayfish

1 kilogram meat

2 dry fish

2 cooking spoons palm oil

Seasoning and salt to taste

3 pieces stock fish

a mixture of okro and ogbono soup
a mixture of okro and ogbono soup

Preparation:

Wash and cook the meat with the onion until tender. Add the dryfish and stockfish, including crayfish. Cook until the stock is properly extracted. In a separate plate, mix the ogbono with palm oil, mix thoroughly and transfer into the boiling pot. Leave uncovered and cooking until the mixture begins to draw (do not stir the ogbono, until it begins to boil). Stir and add the okro, simmer for a few minutes and remove from heat, uncovered and serve with pounded yam, eba, amala, semovita or fufu. This delicacy would surely have a different taste from the ogbono that is fried. It is a local delicacy. [And don’t forget that anytime you add onions to ogbono, its affect the soup by making it watery, so you can only use the onions for boiling or cooking your meat, but not for the ogbono soup itself.] Cheers! Bon apetite.

OH YES, WATCH OUT FOR OTHER OKRO ENRICHED RECIPES IN SUBSEQUENT POSTS!

 

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