Okra is also known as Bhindi. Okra, or lady's finger, is a flowering plant in the mallow family Malvaceae, originating somewhere near present-day Ethiopia. It was formerly considered a species of Hibiscus, but is now classified in the genus Abelmoschus. The word okra is of West African origin and is cognate with "ókùrù" in Igbo, a language spoken in what is now known as Nigeria. It is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant, growing to 2 m tall, straight up with very little phototropism. The leaves are 10-20 cm long and broad, palmately lobed with 5-7 lobes. The flowers are 4-8 cm diameter, with five white to yellow petals, often with a red or purple spot at the base of each petal. The fruit is a capsule, 5-20 cm long, containing numerous seeds.
Okra can be served raw, marinated in salads or cooked on its own, and goes well with tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers, and eggplant. Whole, fresh okra pods also make excellent pickles. Its subtle flavor can be compared to eggplant, though the texture is somewhat unusual. Many people prefer breaded and fried okra, because the slippery substance is less pronounced.