"Slimy," "slippery" and "just like sludge." These are a few of the words used to describe okra, the veg that puts the gum in gumbo. When overcooked in stews or soups, okra exudes a viscous, glue-like liquid. But quickly cooked in Asian stir-fries it retains a unique and surprisingly tender texture. Look for pods that are brightly coloured and less than 4 inches long -- bigger ones tend to be fibrous. Here's a recipe from Brit chef Cyrus Todiwala's innovative Indian cookbook, Café Spice Namaste (Ebury Press), for stuffed okra Bhareli Bhindi. Wash and pat dry 20 to 30 long, slender okra pods. (This helps remove the goo.) Make a lengthwise slit in each. Mix together 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle some of this into each pod. Next, mix together 125 grams (about 4 ounces) of fresh or frozen grated coconut, 2 seeded and finely chopped jalapeos, 2 tablespoons chopped coriander, 1/2 teaspoon each of crushed coriander and cumin seeds, and 2 teaspoons garam masala. Stuff this mixture into the okra as well. Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and brown the okra in batches, about 5 minutes per side, till golden brown all over. Serve with thick yogurt and any leftover stuffing.