An often-neglected but southern US favorite, okra was introduced to North America more than three centuries ago by African slaves. Okra can be served raw, marinated in salads or cooked on its own, and goes well with tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers and eggplant. In fact, its mild flavour is sometimes compared to eggplant, though the texture is somewhat unusual. You will find many recipes for okra, including the creole classic, chicken gumbo, originally from western Africa, and close cousin of the North African ganaouïa, or Tajine aux gombos.

OKRA STEW WITH TOMATOES – 02/08/2016

This stew is based on a straightforward okra recipe from Mark Bittman, New York Times food critic and cookbook author par excellence. Consult his “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian – Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food” for more great ideas on what to do with all our veggies!

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and cut into thick slices (or an equivalent amount of spring onions)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb okra, trimmed or cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsps chopped garlic
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh oregano (optional)
  • Chopped parsley leaves for garnish
  1. Heat 2 of 3 tbsps in deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, salt and pepper, and cook until soft and turning golden (2-3 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add remaining oil and stir in okra. Cook, stirring occasionally until it begins to brown; then add garlic and cook for another minute or so, stirring once or twice. Return onion and add tomatoes, along with a cup of water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower heat so it bubbles gently. Cook, stirring occasionnally, until okra is very tender and the sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes. Stir in oregano if you like, adjust seasoning and serve, garnished with parsley.

Serves 4

Broiled Tomato, Corn and Okra – 13/08/2010

We suggest an easier recipe from Just Vegetable Recipes (www.justvegetablerecipes.com – 22,466 vegetable recipes to browse (according to the website byline)). It combines okra with two other seasonal partners – fresh tomatoes and corn.

  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes; halved and cut into 14-inch-thick slices
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (cut from 1 ear of corn)
  • 1/4 lb okra, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 tbsp shredded fresh basil leaves
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Arrange tomatoes on a lightly greased jelly-roll pan and brush with 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper and broil about 4 inches from heat 5 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, toss together corn, okra, remaining 1/2 tbsp oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread corn and okra evenly on pan with tomatoes and broil about 4 inches from until tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, toss vegetables gently with basil.

Serves 2