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Okra vs. Lady Finger: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 18, 2023
Okra is a green edible pod vegetable, while "Lady Finger" is another name for the same vegetable, primarily used outside the US.

Key Differences

Okra, a term predominantly used in the United States, denotes a green vegetable with a tapering shape. Lady Finger, on the other hand, is the term many people outside the US use to refer to the same vegetable. Okra is a mainstay in various dishes, including the famous Southern gumbo. Lady Finger, with its unique slimy texture, becomes a thickening agent in many dishes when cooked.
Originating from Africa, Okra has become integral to many cuisines worldwide. Similarly, Lady Finger, with its versatility, features in multiple cooking styles from Indian bhindi masala to Middle Eastern stews. Okra seeds can be roasted and ground to make a caffeine-free substitute for coffee. Whereas, when one uses the term Lady Finger, they could also be referring to a variety of dishes from different cultures, all highlighting the same vegetable.
In the realm of nutrition, Okra is packed with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Consuming Lady Finger offers similar health benefits like aiding digestion, managing diabetes, and promoting skin health. Ultimately, the choice between the terms Okra and Lady Finger is largely dependent on regional preferences, but they both refer to the same nutritious vegetable.

Comparison Chart


African origin.
Refers to its slender finger-like shape.


Predominantly in the United States.
Common outside the US.


Unique in the US context.
Synonymous with Okra in many countries.

Associated Dishes

Gumbo in Southern US cuisine.
Bhindi masala in Indian cuisine.


Has a slimy texture when cooked.
Same slimy texture as Okra when cooked.

Okra and Lady Finger Definitions


Used in Southern US cuisine.
Okra is a staple ingredient in gumbo.

Lady Finger

Green pod with a tapering end.
The Lady Finger was fresh and green.


A source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Consuming Okra can aid digestion.

Lady Finger

Has a mucilaginous texture when cooked.
The Lady Finger added a thick texture to the curry.


Contains seeds that can be roasted.
Some use Okra seeds as a coffee substitute.

Lady Finger

Can be fried, boiled, or pickled.
She prepared a spicy Lady Finger fry.


Plant of the mallow family.
The Okra plant was flourishing in her garden.

Lady Finger

Another name for the vegetable Okra.
Lady Finger is commonly used in Indian dishes.


A green edible pod vegetable.
She added chopped Okra to the stew.

Lady Finger

Popular in various global cuisines.
Lady Finger is a versatile ingredient in many recipes.


A tall tropical African annual plant (Abelmoschus esculentus) in the mallow family, widely cultivated in warm regions for its edible, mucilaginous green pods.


The edible pods of this plant, used in soups and stews and as a vegetable. Also called regionally gumbo.


See gumbo.


The edible immature mucilaginous seed pod (properly, capsule) of the Abelmoschus esculentus.


The flowering mallow plant Abelmoschus esculentus itself, now commonly grown in the tropics and warmer parts of the temperate zones.


An annual plant (Abelmoschus esculentus syn. Hibiscus esculentus), whose green pods, abounding in nutritious mucilage, are much used for soups, stews, or pickles; gumbo.


The pods of the plant okra, used as a vegetable; also, a dish prepared with them; gumbo.


Long green edible beaked pods of the okra plant


Tall coarse annual of Old World tropics widely cultivated in southern United States and West Indies for its long mucilaginous green pods used as basis for soups and stews; sometimes placed in genus Hibiscus


Long mucilaginous green pods; may be simmered or sauteed but used especially in soups and stews


Does Okra have any health benefits?

Yes, Okra is rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Where is Lady Finger commonly used?

The term is more common outside the US, like in India and parts of Europe.

Can you eat Lady Finger raw?

While it can be eaten raw, it's usually cooked due to its slimy texture.

Is the term "Okra" used globally?

While known in many countries, it's predominantly called Okra in the US.

Can you reduce the sliminess of Okra?

Yes, cooking techniques like frying or adding acidic ingredients can reduce it.

Is Okra the same as Lady Finger?

Yes, Okra and Lady Finger refer to the same vegetable.

Why is it called Lady Finger?

It's named for its slender, finger-like shape.

What dishes commonly use Okra?

Dishes like gumbo in the US and bhindi masala in India use Okra.

How do you store Lady Finger?

Keep it in the refrigerator's vegetable drawer for freshness.

Can Okra seeds be consumed?

Yes, they can be roasted and even used as a coffee substitute.

How do you cook Lady Finger without it becoming slimy?

Quick frying or cooking with acidic ingredients can help.

Is the slimy texture of Lady Finger beneficial?

Yes, it can act as a thickening agent in dishes and is nutritionally beneficial.

Can Lady Finger be frozen for later use?

Yes, you can blanch and freeze them for future use.

Is Okra suitable for people with diabetes?

Yes, it's believed to have properties beneficial for managing blood sugar.

Is there a difference in taste between Okra and Lady Finger?

No, they are the same vegetable and taste the same.

Which cuisines prominently feature Okra?

Southern US, Indian, Middle Eastern, and African cuisines, among others.

Is Lady Finger used in desserts?

Not usually, but "ladyfingers" can also refer to a type of sponge cake biscuit used in desserts like tiramisu.

How do you pick fresh Okra?

Choose firm, brightly-colored pods without blemishes or discoloration.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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