Okra, Bhindi (Hindi), or Bhinda (Gujarati), are a delicious little vegetable that offer a mix of texture like no other. Okra need to be picked when young, before the seeds inside harden and turn dark. They are crunchy when raw, soften when cooked and can be a little chewy.
Okra a known for the mucilage (think chia seeds). In Indian food, we tend to control the “sliminess” of okra by avoiding mixing it with water, cooking out whatever slime we can, and adding acids, which help break it down. Some other cuisines embrace the slime and use it as a thickener for sauce (think gumbo).
Okra is a vegetable that has been cultivated for thousands of years and originates most likely in Africa. It has been a part of Indian cuisine since at least 2000 BC.