Abelmoschus esculentus

Native to Africa, this vegetable has adapted very well to the Brazilian cuisine. Without it, the country would lose at least two traditional recipes: Frango com quiabo, a flavorful chicken and okra stew from Minas Gerais cuisine, and Bahian Caruru, okra cooked with dried shrimp, cashew nuts and dende oil. Versatile, it can be prepared in several ways: braised, roasted, deep-fried, steamed, or chargrilled. The secret to remove okra’s “baba” (literally “drool”), the viscous substance that exudes from okra when it is cut, is to rinse and dry it thoroughly before adding it to the pan.