Sunday, September 07, 2008

Okra by Candlelight

I had never had anything to do with okra, despite growing up in the South. I had always heard the term “slimy” applied to this vegetable, making it not terribly appealing. I would probably never have bought it at a grocery store. But there it was in my CSA crate, a package of little green things.

A Google of “okra recipes” quickly introduced me to a vegetable with its roots in Africa, which seemed to pair well with curry. I read over a few recipes, not realizing that by the time I started to cook my okra, our power would have failed and I would not be able to access anything on my computer.

Fortunately we have a gas cooktop, so despite the lack of light, I determined we would eat in, albeit a little early. Here’s a rough approximation of my okra recipe, leaving it up to you to determine the quantities:

Basil olive oil
Okra, cut into ½" rounds
Red onion, shopped
Grape tomatoes, halved
Sweet curry powder
Ground cumin
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in an anodized pan. Add onions and saute until translucent. Move onions to the side. Add a little more olive oil. Put curry powder and cumin in the oil to release their flavor. Add okra, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium high heat for several minutes. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until okra is tender, or about 15 minutes.

The resulting ragu was sweet and delicious, not the least bit slimy. Maybe it was because the okra was fresh-picked. I will definitely not overlook this vegetable in the future!


Blogger Adrianne said...

Okra is one of my favorite foods of all time, probably because my grandmother really knew how to "fry it up good." Her okra always had a crisp exterior and a juicy interior, without a hint of the sliminess about which so many folks seem to complain. How I now wish that I had paid attention to her technique!

Your recipe sounds fabulous and reminds me a bit of an okra dish that I sometimes get at the Lebanese Taverna. Thanks for posting it -- I'll give a try soon.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Adrianne -- I'm so thrilled to discover not only beets, but okra too after all these years of thinking I hated them both! If the CSA venture has no other effect, it will be worth it for broadening my food horizons!

Wish I could sample your grandmother's okra...

1:47 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm making ratatouille right now and potatoes with carrots and beets, but Curried Okra and Chickpeas are on the list for tomorrow. I've never eaten it either!

8:13 PM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

There is a pickled okra available that makes salad really sparkle! It's okra with a snap! Okra is rarely on the menu in California restaurants, but I enjoyed it when I visited the South!

8:58 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

love okra and I think it's one of the most often misunderstood veggies. must admit to a particular fondness for fried okra....and my f is a master at frying okra...along with green tomatoes .... ah those southern fried veggie treats - but all things in moderation and they aren't bad for you!

we find the best place to get okra is our local indian foods market.

this recipe sounds yummy. definitely one to try out. thanks.

7:37 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I can take it or leave it. I admit I've fallen victim to the "slime" factor before!

10:29 AM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

Granpa grew lots of Yogurt, A tribute to how easy it is to grow. he grew beets too.
We ate it whole, boiled and it was slimey allright, but I didn't mind the slime so much...what i couldn't abide was the hair!
Yep, it wasn't just slimy, it was hairy too!
I do like it fried though, and pickled too.
Soon Barbara, you'll be eatin Black-Eyed Peas!

11:54 AM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

Yogurt? Man, that hit of Acid must be startin' to kick in...Okra, man, Okra is what granpa grew....

11:56 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Ha! Still laughing at bullet holes comment! HA!

I have never tasted okra..I need to get more I could start with leeks!

7:50 AM  

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