i.cook - what's this about Okra?

I don’t know about you but I find okra a little strange I’m not sure how to peel or cook it and it's defiantly not part of my weekly shop, imagine how a refugee feels when faced with the products offered at Melbourne mainstream grocers. 


i.feed.refugee's voucher is an opportunity to rebuild confidence and self-esteem. It is not a handout of leftovers. It requires the individual to navigate public transport to attend the market, it allows them total independence over what they buy, and it provides invaluable connection and contact outside of their community 


So what is Okra! 


A Nigerian spice with a tart, lemony taste. Also known as bamia or ladies' fingers, this vegetable is grown in the Northern Territory by several farmers, including Vietnamese-Australian Vu Van Nguyen. A member of the cotton family, okra plants are easy to grow, appearing as pods inside beautiful pale yellow flowers with crimson centers. In fact, they are very decorative as plants. The young pods are sought after for Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines, while South East Asians prefer them larger and longer. Eaten raw, hibiscus esulentus contains large amounts of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A and iron. It is also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber and vitamin B6 and folic acid when cooked. Vu Van Nguyen grows an acre of okra on his farm on the outskirts of Darwin, where it thrives. Vietnam-born, he prefers to slice mature okra into soups or stir-fries, eating it barely cooked and still crisp. Mediterranean tastes prefer younger, crisper pods and tend to cook it well (classically with tomato and onions and finished with a little lemon juice) to capitalize on the thickening effect the vegetable has on stews and casseroles. 


Give Okra a go! I am 

i feed refugees okra image 

Take a look at this great information about how to cook and eat your okra from www.thespruceeats.com.

Recipe  BBQ or grill your Okra 

As with so many vegetables, grilling is a super easy and tasty way to cook okra. The quick, hot heat of the grill keeps the slime-factor inherent in okra to a minimum while the charred bits highlight the vegetable's essential grassy flavor. If you've never tried okra before, this is a super easy and delicious way to give it a whirl. If you're an okra-phile, this is a new way to love it. 

This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. It's more a method than a recipe, so feel free to play around with it. Grilled okra tastes great at room temperature and makes a tempting addition to a dinner buffet or backyard barbeque. 

Don't have a grill? Try roasted okra instead, it's just as delicious. 


  • 500g okra (pods big enough so they won't slip through the cooking grate are best) 
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or olive oil) 
  • Salt, to taste 
  • Optional: lemon juice 


  1. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for high heat; You should be able to hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for just 1 to 2 seconds before pulling it away from the intensity of the heat. 
  1. While the grill heats, trim off and discard the stems from the okra pods. Put the okra in a large bowl or on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Drizzle it with the oil and toss to thoroughly coat the okra with the oil. 
  1. Place the okra on the grill (being careful that smaller pods are placed so they run perpendicular to the cooking grate so they don't fall through). Close the grill cover and cook until the okra's green color heightens and grill marks or charred edges appear, 4 to 5 minutes. If you are using purple okra, cook until the purple color deepens. 
  1. Use tongs to turn the okra pods over, cover, and cook until they're charred or browned on the other side and tender to the bite, about 5 more minutes. 
  1. Remove the okra from the grill. Sprinkle it with salt and spritz it with lemon juice, if you like. 
  1. Serve grilled okra hot or at room temperature and enjoy! 


  • Serve grilled okra with homemade aioli for dipping 
  • Add grilled okra to a grilled vegetable platter—it's particularly good with grilled tomatoes and grilled eggplant. 
  • Mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger with the oil before tossing it with the okra, then drizzle with soy sauce instead of sprinkling with salt. 
  • Put out some Toasted Cumin Yogurt Dip for people to add to taste. 
  • Cut several green onions into lengths that match that of the okra pods you're grilling and add them to the mix. 
  • Use balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice for a quick hit of acid at the end. 
  • Add a dash of cayenne to the oil before tossing it with the okra for a spicy kick. 
  • Sprinkle the finished grilled okra with a bit of garam masala for a kick of warm spices. 

It's pretty basic - buy an i.feed.refugee organic cotton tee and you will be giving someone access to fresh food of their choice. That is pretty meaningful if you think it through. This is someone who has had to flee their country, friends, careers, and now struggle to support their most basic needs. 


i.feed.refugees organic cotton tee shirt 


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Thank you from the ifeed team x 



You may have heard that refugees get more support than other Australians.  

This is not true. Read Australian Government assistance to refugees: fact v fiction on the Parliament of Australia website.