In Malaysia and Singapore, okra is often known by its Indian name bendi, The green skin of the immature pods is covered with fine downy hairs. The pods are full of seeds, and the flesh contains a sticky sap which will thicken stews and soups.
Market and storage tips -- Choose young pods no longer than your little finger. Test for freshness by pressing the tip lightly: it should snap, not bend. Pods should be heavy for their size, moist and plump, blemish free, with stems intact. Store in the refrigerator in a paper bag.
Cooking -- Okra can be steamed or braised intact (in which case it does NOT become gummy), or cut into pieces for use in soups or stews. Cut okra releases gummy juices that will provide natural thickening. To prepare okra that is not slimmy or sticky, the trick is to leave the pod intact. Shave off the cap and stem without opening the capsule. Do not cook okra in aluminum, iron, or unlined copper pots.
Frying orka reduces the tendency for the pods to become sticky, so they can be sliced into coarse chunks before frying.