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OkraOkra is in high season and showing off her glorious colors- puprle or green. Whatever the color, now is the time to get them and make something simple. I made a recipe from the cookbook The Latin America Kitchen by Elisabeth Luard. You may find that you have these ingredients in your kitchen. You can also substitute zucchini (which is also in season) for the okra.

Purple okra

Okra in tomato and chilli sauce (from The Latin American Kitchen)

“Okra, a member of the hibiscus family, is a pod-vegetable high in protein and well-endowed with vitamin C. Cultivated by the Ancient Egyptians and on the menu in Africa, throughout the Middle East and India ever since, it was imported to the Caribbean and Brazil as part of the slave-culture. The plant itself is tree-like annual with pretty yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, and the family includes the cotton-plant and the roselle, the raw material of sorrel, a refreshment popular in the West Indies at Christmas. The gloopy – mucilagenous – juices are liked by some and not by others others.”

Okra in tomato and chili sauce

Serves 6 as a starter or side-dish

700g (1 1/2 lb) fresh okra pods
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 malagueta pepper, de-seeded and chopped (I used any kind of chili pepper)
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper

Prepare the okra by trimming the stalks close to the pod. If you don’t enjoy their glueiness – and lots of people do – don’t hull, just trim off the stems, toss the pods with salt and a little vinegar and leave in a colander for an hour or two, when they will have yielded up their gloop, then rinse well before using.
Warm the oil in a heavy pan or casserole and gently fry the onion and garlic till soft – down let it brown. Add the tomato and chilli and bubble up, squashing with a wooden spoon to encourage a rich little sauce. Stir in the okra, add a glass of water, and bubble up. Turn down the heat, lid loosely and simmer for 30-40 minutes, till the pods are perfectly tender and the sauce deliciously rich and sticky. Or bake in the oven at 300F/160C/Gas2. Serve at room temperature, with quartered limes and malagueta-pepper sauce on the side.

Check out the related link for more okra information.

 

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