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OKRA SOUP

April 10, 2012 9:00 pm 0 comments

Okra soup is one of the most simple and quickest soups that one can prepare in a jiffy.  Simple but nutritious dish with just few ingredients readily available in most of the kitchens! Soups are one excellent appetizer that is refreshing, lite, soothing and luscious to the taste buds.

Okra or ladyfinger or Bhindi (in Hindi) is a versatile and easy to cook vegetable. You can make a variety of vegetarian or non-vegetarian mix dishes with okra. They are can be either deep fried, shallow fried, made into a curry or stuffed with spicy masalas. Some of the delicious dishes that you can prepare with Bhindi or Okra to keep your families active and brainy (J) are Bharvaan Bhindi (stuffed Okra, a very popular north Indian dish – a perfect crunchy accompaniment to plain boiled rice and a Daal (lentil dish) of your choice, Dahi Bhindi (okra in yoghurt sauce), Kadhai Bhindi Curry, Bhindi Masala, Bhindi-Prawns Curry Pulusu, Bhindi Gosht, Bhindi Chatny, Dum Bhindi.

In this dish, we use the thickening capabilities of Okra to make a thick Soup. This thickening capability is one of the great properties of Okra while making soups, stews, curries and/or Gumbos etc. Okra is popularly used in most of the cuisine. It is usually served as stir-fry dish (side dish), as a stew (often based on tomato with other proteins cooked in it) or as soup. Most of the kids love eating deep fried bhindi. You also find Okra fried with groundnuts or cashewnuts which gives a yummy taste and nutty flavour to the dish.

Okra is one popular vegetable in Cajun cooking. It is also known as gumbo or lady’s fingers which is part of the mallow family of flowering plants. The okra plant is known for the edible green fruits that they produce. Okra is not only used in Cajun cooking, it can be used in every day meals, such as salads and soups. Okra health benefits include aspects such as being low in calories, being a great vegetable for people trying to lose weight (aids in weight loss), and being good for the digestive system.

Okra contains no cholesterol or saturated fat and is very low in calories. Fibre content in okra is high which helps to maintain the digestive system by allowing food to pass through the intestines easier. This vegetable is great at being able to reabsorb water. By being able to absorb so much water, okra can trap excess cholesterol, excess bile, and certain toxins. By trapping these substances, it makes it easier to eliminate them from the body through the stool. Because okra absorbs so much water, eating this vegetable can prevent constipation, bloating, and gas.

To prepare this nourishing and healthy Okra soup, firstly wash lady’s finger or wipe them nicely with a dry cloth. Slice them into thin pieces. Chop onions and tomatoes and keep aside. Deseed and cut capsicum and keep aside.

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add onions and fry until they become translucent. Add sliced ladies fingers and toss lightly till the slimy and stickiness is gone.  Add thyme, parsley, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes or tomato paste; cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add stock; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, until okra is very tender and soup thickens slightly, about 30 minutes. Serve hot with croutons or fried bread.

Okra also contains healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These probiotics helps the natural production of the vitamin B complex. Okra has soluble fibre that helps to lower serum cholesterol. When this type of cholesterol is lowered, the risk of heart disease is lowered. On the other hand, the insoluble fibre found in okra is what keeps the intestinal tract in good shape. This type of fibre helps to decrease the risk of certain cancers, in particular colon cancer.

Along with containing high amounts of fibre, okra also contains high amounts of vitamins A, C, and B6. Large amounts of calcium, zinc, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron are also present in this vegetable. Women who are pregnant are urged to incorporate okra into their diets due to the high content of folic acid. Folic acid is essential for the healthy growth of a foetus especially during the fourth week through the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Apart from the above, it also include various other health benefits that can prevent diabetes, good for people who have asthma, excellent for people who have atherosclerosis and it’s great to eat during the heat of summer as it helps to treat sun stroke. As you can see, okra health benefits are many, do give this dish a try and enjoy its benefits, taste and flavours. Check for detailed recipe at:

http://www.vahrehvah.com/Okra+Soup:1707

Enjoy Cooking!

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