Okra is a tropical plant that produces ridged tapering pods - shaped like ladies fingers! - a name by which they are commonly known in the Middle East. The pods contain lots of tiny seeds and a gummy substance that is their defining characteristic which many people love and the rest find slimy.
Widely used in Creole cooking, sliced pods give the thick glutinous texture to gumbo soup. Okra is also popular in African, Indian and Middle Eastern food.