I think everyone’s New Year Resolution should be to eat more vegetables! The one thing in common among all the different and often opposing diet philosophies (keto, vegan, paleo, low-carb, high-fat, low-fat), is they all recommend eating more vegetables!
But don’t just eat more vegetables, eat more VARIETY. Did you know that 90% of N. Americans eat only 10% of the variety of vegetables available in their supermarket? Most people eat the same vegetables over and over again (broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, spinach, sound familiar?) and don’t venture much out of their comfort zone.
So here is something new for you, do you eat okra? Unless your cultural heritage hails from Africa, Caribbean or Asia, you probably don’t eat much okra. I used to be too imitated to cook with okra and eggplant. Before I learned how to prepare these two vegetables properly , my okra came out like a slimy mess, and my eggplant was either too tough or soaked in oil.
The slime okra is known for is called mucilage, and it’s actually good for you. Okra’s high fibre and mucilage content soothes the digestive tract and improves regularity.
However unless you’re making gumbo where the sliminess enhances the dish, you probably don’t want too much slime on your plate!
HOW TO REDUCE THE SLIMINESS OF OKRA
So here’s the trick:
To reduce the slime of okra, first rinse in a colander and drain well. Slice the okra into 1/4 inch round pieces, place them flat in a single layer ,cut-side down, on paper towels, leave them like that for at least 15 minutes, the paper towels will absorb the slime. You can speed up the process by gently pressing another paper towel on top of the okra. Now it’s ready to be used in your recipe.
HOW TO PREPARE EGGPLANT WITHOUT THE SLIME, TOUGHNESS OR BITTERNESS
So here’s the trick:
Cut eggplant depending on what the recipe calls for. Place the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle generously with salt (don’t worry, you’ll be rinsing most of it off before you cook it) and let it sit for about an hour. Before using, thoroughly rinse the eggplant and pat it dry.
THAI GREEN CURRY STIR FRY WITH OKRA, EGGPLANT AND RED PEPPERS (serves 4)
2 Japanese eggplants sliced into 1/4 in. x 2 in. long pieces
3 cups okra, sliced into 1/4 inch round pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cut into pieces
1/2 cup coconut milk from a can, divided into two 1/4 cups
1 tbsp. Coconut oil
1 to 2 tbsp. Green curry paste ( Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste is as authentic as it gets)
2 tsp. Fish sauce (is a ubiquitous SE Asian ingredient made from salted anchovies or other fish that have been fermented for up to 2 years)
2 tsp. Coconut sugar or white/brown sugar (or Swerve Sugar Substitute)
4 Kaffir lime leaves
4 teaspoons coarsely chopped Thai or Italian basil
Tip: Kaffir lime leaves are found in Asian markets. if you can’t find it, the zest and juice of one lime can be substituted
HEAT oil in medium saucepan on medium heat.
Add curry paste; stir fry 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Stir in 1/4 cup of the coconut milk until well blended.
Add okra and stir fry for 2 minutes, add eggplants and bell peppers, and remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar and stir fry for 4 minutes, Add optional 1/4 cup stock if more moisture is needed to cook vegetables thoroughly. Cook until eggplants and pepper are tender.