Ripe, roasted seeds can be used to make a coffee substitute, as is done in Nicoya. The fruit contains a mucilaginous substance (gelatinous in texture) useful to thicken soups and ragouts. It is recommended to choose well colored gombos less than 1 dm long so that they are not too hard. The gombo is eaten raw or cooked and is part of the many Creole dishes. It is used especially in the preparation of calalou or caralcu (in Cayenne).

It pairs well with tomato, onion, bell pepper, yam, as well as curry, coriander, oregano, lemon, and vinegar. It is a fragile vegetable that keeps for two to three days in the refrigerator in a paper bag.

Sometimes forgotten in restaurants in Europe, the same does not happen in America and the East, where its consumption is massive. With tomato sauce, it is a typical dish in Greece.

The fruits must be harvested before their full maturity, otherwise they quickly become fibrous and harden.

Medical uses

Given its rich production of mucilage, it is emollient and pectoral. To treat angina and throat conditions, a remedy is to soak its leaves overnight in boiled water containing its mucilage to gargle.

To cure anthrax (not to be confused with anthrax), it can be used in poultices and, against colds and coughs, in infusion.

To treat staphylococcal infections in the nails, poultices with their leaves and roots can also be used.

Vernacular names

The name ocra / okra seems to come from the Nvi language of West Africa, specifically from the word “nkruman” and “okwuru” in the Igbo language of Nigeria. It is used in this way, with various spellings, in many countries, including Algeria, Tunisia (in the latter two the word “gnawia” / “ganaouia” is also used), Germany, United States - from a variant of the Philippines (“ okro ”).

The word gombo, also of African origin - from "ki-ngombo" and its variants in the Bantu language of Angola, spread and deformed in many regions: Russia, as is or as "Gombo", Portugal and Brazil (" quiabo ”), part of the United States, France, Holland, Hispanic Caribbean with“ quimbombó ”or“ quingombó ”,“ chimbombó ”or“ guigambó ”(Venezuela, 2 Cuba, Puerto Rico,…).

The other very common name is bamia, and its spelling variants "bamya", used in Greece, Arabia, Albania, Turkey - where they also use the word "lalo" (the latter curiously also used in Mauritius ...), Bulgaria and Bosnia.

There are many other more local names, for example: “m'loukhyya” in Morocco, “therere” (Chichewa) and “derere” (Tumbuka) in Malaysia, “ñajú” in Panama, “molondrón” in the Dominican Republic, the Hindi name / Urdu "bhendi", "bhindi" or "bendai" in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and often in Great Britain.

On the Colombian Caribbean coast, it is called "candia" and serves as the base of a dish known as "guiso de candias" which is commonly prepared especially in the departments of Sucre, Córdoba and Magdalena.

Finally, other words with no particular local origin and application: Turkish chili, civet, angelonia, snake grass, Greek horn, lady's fingers, candia.

Botanical description

It is an upright annual or perennial plant. Its robust central stem can reach 1.75 m in height and up to 3 m in tropical areas. It generally develops branches that are born from the axils of the central stem leaves. The leaves are palmate, the upper ones pentalobulate, the intermediate ones trilobed and heart-shaped, with a groove in the basal wall and a scalloped edge on the lower ones. The upper part is dark green in the most adult leaves and light green in the young ones. The underside can be light green in the varieties with green fruit, yellowish green in those with yellow fruit and a maroon color for those with red fruit. The flowers, axillary, solitary, pentameric and with a short petiole, are yellowish-white and with a purple or mauve spot at the base of the petals. The fruit, erect and pedunculated, is a conical polilocular capsule that can reach 30 cm in length and 3.5 cm in diameter at its base. They can be ribbed or smooth, with longitudinal dehiscence when ripe, green, yellow or red depending on the varieties. The mature seed is dark gray, practically spherical in shape and about 3 mm in diameter.


Video: Cooking Fresh Okra 2 Ways Youll Want To Make Again And Again (June 2021).