Thursday, August 25, 2011

Catherine’s recipe – Okra in tomato sauce

Okras are in season. The vegetable stall where I regularly buy from has been selling what is also called “lady’s fingers” for the past few weeks. As I am not familiar with okras I asked my sister to send me a recipe. I remember when I visited her in California she talked about delicious okra dishes she had at her mother-in-law’s home and knew she would have a good recipe.
Okras become slimy and break easily when cooked. She advised me do not stir them too much otherwise she said they would mash easily. It is better (for our eyes and also our palate) to keep the pentagon-shaped slices intact in the stew. Okras are filled with lots of small white seeds.

Catherine advised me to draw out the liquid from the pods before cooking them. Two hours before cooking I put the okra (cut in rounds) in a colander and sprinkled the pieces with 2 tbsp of coarse salt. Just before cooking I drained the soaking liquid from the okras; (do not rinse the pods).

Here is my sister’s recipe with one modification: the addition of minced pork to give the dish a hearty flavour.

v     2 tbsp olive oil
v     About 200g minced pork
v     1 onion (chopped)
v     2-3 small red chilli (chopped)
v       800g (2 can) tomatoes
v       1 tsp turmeric
v     300g okra (tops cut and sliced).
v      Salt & ground black pepper
v     2 tbsp parsley (chopped)

  1. 2 hours before cooking draw out the liquid from the okras (as explained above).
  2. In a saucepan cook the minced pork until brown. Add onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Add chilli to the onions and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Increase heat and add tomatoes, mix well. Add okra, turmeric, salt and black pepper.
  5. Bring vegetable stew to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer until vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened. (about 35-45  minutes)
  6. Transfer to a serving dish.
  7. Add parsley.
  8. Serve at once.
I was the only one having dinner at home on that night and the dish was too big so I put the surplus in the fridge. I ate the leftover 2 days later and it was even yummier. As I like to repeat: “stews often taste even better reheated then when first cooked”.

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