Gie, ang okra, bow!
Okra, which is commonly referred to as "ladyâ€™s finger", is of West African origin. It was introduced to the United States via the African Slave Trade Route. Okra is a fibrous, green vegetable pod that contains many tiny white, edible seeds.
Okra has been referred to by other names including, okro, ochro, bamia, bamie, gombo, gumbo, quiabo and quingombo. It is available all year round and is a tropical plant growing particularly in warm climates.
Okra is a member of the Mallow family, which includes herbs, shrubs and certain trees including mallows, cotton, hibiscus and hollyhock. The leaves of the okra plant are heart shaped and edible, with large yellow flowers that bear resemblance to the hibiscus flower.
Okra is used in many dishes, specifically stews in countries such as Egypt, Greece, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Lebanon and Jordan.
When cut open, the green, velvety pods release a juice that is commonly used as a thickening agent to thicken stews. It can be added as a vegetable on its own or with others together with pieces of chicken and tomato sauce to form a delicious, hearty stew.
Okra can also be used in stir-fries and may be baked, grilled, boiled or steamed. It takes less than five minutes to cook.
One hundred grams of Okra contains about 33 calories, 2.0 grams of protein, 7.6 grams of carbohydrates, with 0.1 grams fat. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese, and a good source of niacin, iron, phosphorus, zinc and copper.