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How Do You Make Okra Chips? 

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

Article by Dr. Layla Sade

Photography by Layla Sade

Okra is a vegetable native to Africa. Today, it grows throughout many tropical and subtropical regions. Okra seedpods are a mucilaginous food, meaning that they produce a sticky, glue-like substance. They’ve long been used in traditional African and Asian medicine to treat conditions such as gastritis. Okra chips are a handy way to boost your dietary fiber intake and gain the benefits of okras, without any stickiness.

How to make okra chips

Although okra chips can be purchased ready-made online or at specialty stores, you can also make them from scratch at home. This way, you can customize them to your taste for a nutritious and quick snack.

Step 1: Prepare

One pound of okra serves about four people as a snack or side dish.

To make okra chips, you can slice the okra lengthwise or into quarter-inch pieces. However, be mindful that the more you cut the vegetable, the stickier the texture and soaking cut okra in vinegar for 30 minutes to remove some of the stickiness. Then, rinse with clear water and pat dry with paper towels.

Note for choosing soft and palatable okras, you can test them by breaking their ends. If the end snaps off, it’s young, but if it bends without snapping, it’s on the older side. Because older okras are stringy with a hard texture and are difficult to chew, you may want to omit these from your recipes.

Step 2: Season

There are almost endless options when it comes to seasoning your chips, depending on your preferences and palate. At a minimum, you may want to toss the okra in olive oil and a little salt. Alternatively, you can add a blend of flavors such as paprika, black pepper, or chili powder.

Step 3: Cook

Air-fry the okra chips at 270ºF (132ºC) for 15–20 minutes or oven bake for 40–45 minutes at 400ºF (204ºC). They’re ready when they begin to brown and turn crispy.

Nutrition

Okra is low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Just 1 cup (100 grams) of raw okra provides 33 calories and 14–15% of the Daily Value (DV) of magnesium, folate, and vitamin B6. It’s also a rich source of vitamins C and K, providing 26% of the DV of both per cup (100 grams).

Health benefits

Some health benefits have been attributed to eating okra or okra extracts.

May offer anti-fatigue properties

Some animal research suggests that okra may provide anti-fatigue and antioxidant effects.These benefits have been found to relate to okra’s seeds more than its skin, although similar benefits have been observed when the okra stem is used as well.

May lower cholesterol

Some studies suggest that okra could help lower cholesterol levels. Research in mice has shown that okra powder could reduce cholesterol levels by increasing the breakdown of cholesterol and inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the body. In other animal studies, okra powder has been shown to lower cholesterol by binding to dietary cholesterol and preventing its absorption in the body.

Other health benefits

According to test-tube studies, the lectin content of okra could have antitumor effects in human breast cancer cells. As such, okra is now being explored as a potential adjunct treatment to breast cancer.

Further, okra extract may keep bacteria called H. pylori from attaching to the stomach, thereby guarding against gastritis, which is inflammation of the stomach due to bacterial infection. In fact, okra has long been used in traditional medicine for this purpose.

Lastly, isoquercitrin in okra is believed to protect against oxidative stress, help prevent chronic inflammation, and slow muscle loss in mice treated for denervated muscle atrophy. This is a condition characterized by muscle loss and weakness, also seen in individuals who are bedridden.

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