Monday, March 26, 2012
, which brings to mind the English name for okra, ‘lady’s fingers,’ and Iraqi vernacular for okra banya.
Today, okra is a very popular vegetable in Iraq. It is exclusively used for making margat bamya (okra stew). No spices are used in preparing it, and yet, it will come out wonderfully delicious. I think what puts off many people, who did not grow up eating it, from dealing with it is the sticky substance that comes out when it is cut open. The traditional Iraqi way to get rid of most of the slime is to cut off both ends of the okra, making sure some of the holes show, and then wash it under running water for a long time. I find this tedious and time consuming. A better way to deal with it is to cut off both ends making sure some of the holes show, wash it briefly, and then boil it briefly for no more than 5 minutes (it should still look vibrantly green). Strain it and use it immediately, or let it cool off, and freeze it for future use. I usually buy a whole box of fresh okra, prepare it this way and keep it in the freezer. Very convenient.