Okra becomes slimy when it touches water—this is also called roping. The slimy sensation is due to a gooey substance called mucilage, which flows in the plant’s leaves and also surrounds the seeds in its pod. To avoid activating the mucilage, you can try the following techniques:
- Dry the washed okra with a towel. (Or you may also wash it ahead of cooking and spread it to dry on a tray lined with a towel.)
- Make sure your hands are dry, and cut the okra with a dry knife on a dry cutting board. Dry, dry, dry.
- If you’re using the whole okra pods, carefully trim off the stems, leaving the pod whole.
- If you use okra in a khichari or a soup, sauté the vegetable separately and then add it to the dish just before serving.
- Add finely shredded coconut or a little rice flour toward the end of cooking to absorb any excess mucilage from the okra.
- Add salt at the end of cooking.