Abelmoschus esculentus: Okra, no jokra!

Summer is not summer without crisp fried okra, the ultimate comfort food. I cooked up a mess last night. I was lazy (and hungry), because usually I’ll first coat the cut seed pods with a whisked egg and then cornmeal before plopping them in Spanish olive oil. A high-fiber alternative to buttered popcorn. Savory crunchiness. Texture is everything!

The word “okra” comes to English via the West African language, Akan. Should you be traveling the globe and get a hankering for such goodness, which also goes by lady’s fingers and gumbo, here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet of how to get what you want (note the linguistic similarities):

Brazil (Portuguese): quiabo
Czech Republic (Czech): zelenina
France (French): gombo
India (Hindi/Urdu): bhindi, bhendi or bendai
Italy (Italian): gombo or abelmosco (check out the Latin heritage)
Nigeria (Igbo): ọkwurụ
Russia (Russian): okpa
Spain (Spanish): quingombó or calalú
Sub-Sahara(Bantu): kingombo
Turkey (Turkish): sebze

Advertisements