Today, I’ll show you how to cook okra (aka ‘lady fingers’) in tomato sauce. My recipe shares the Greek secret for its preparation that guarantees the okra tastes divine and… ‘slime’-free. You can also use frozen okra for this meal – just skip the ‘special prep’ bit below.
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
250gr of fresh okra (lady fingers)
1 red onion (chopped)
1-2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
6-8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
A splash of wine vinegar
1/2 a pack of tomato passata (puree)
(OR one large beef tomato skinned and grated OR 2/3 of a can of chopped tomatoes)
SPECIAL PREP OF FRESH OKRA
Peel the okra carefully all around the stalk, then wash well.
Throw the okra into a pan of boiling water. Add a splash of wine vinegar and a generous amount of salt (about 1 tablespoon). Bring to the boil covered, then let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Drain the okra in a sieve and set to the side.
This preparation method will stop the okra from releasing slimy liquid from the inside and will make it tastier too.
At this point, you may choose to let the drained okra cool completely, and then put it in a bag in the freezer so you can cook it another day straight from frozen. This way, you can buy a large amount of fresh okra to prepare in this manner, then store in batches in the freezer.
HOW TO COOK THE OKRA (fresh or frozen)
Put the olive oil in a pan, fry the onion and the garlic for a minute in moderate to high heat.
Add the tomato (pasatta or whatever you’re using).
Add some hot water from the kettle, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the okra to the meal, and some more hot water, just enough to semi-cover the okra. Cover and simmer, checking occasionally. Stir gently, once or twice.
After 15-20 minutes, uncover, turn up the heat, add salt and pepper, and allow to boil a little more, uncovered this time, till the extra liquid is evaporated. Taste and add salt, if needed.
Add chopped parsley right at the end, stir gently and remove from heat. Serve with french fries, or just with feta cheese, olives and bread.
Variation: This is not traditional, but I love to enrich this recipe with ground spices… Curry or turmeric, and fresh ginger sometimes, too. I always do this with my imam baildi as well 🙂