Now that we live in the south, I’ve been trying to embrace southern cooking a little more. Okra seems to be one of the staples of southern cuisine, so when I saw some pretty purple and green okra at the farmer’s market recently, I couldn’t help but take home a large bag.
I’m typically not a huge okra fan—mostly because of the “slimy” texture—but there seem to be all sorts of ways you can prepare it to minimize the slime :). I was tempted by the deep frying method, but decided to go a healthier route. Apparently cutting up okra and exposing it to moisture can increase the slime, so cooking the pods whole in a little bit of oil for about 10 minutes decreases exposure to moisture and helps cauterize the okra.
This tip as well as today’s recipe came from the cookbook, D.I.Y. Delicious. While I ended up adapting the recipe a bit, I followed the note on cooking the okra very closely and was happy that I did. Though not completely slime-free, the acid from the tomatoes and vinegary cucumber topping helped cut the remaining slime and may have helped convert me to an okra enthusiast. If you happen to come across some fresh okra, definitely give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.
Stewed Okra and Tomatoes with Black-Eyed Peas and Cucumber Relish
Adapted from D.I.Y. Delicious
For a hearty meal, I served this dish over brown rice.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans (15 oz) black-eyed peas
- 1 lb fresh okra
- 1 lb fresh tomatoes, diced
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
- Cucumber relish (recipe below) for serving
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Stir in the whole okra pods and a little salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the okra begins to brown. Remove the okra from the pan and remove stem and slice into pieces. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add half of the diced onion. Cook onion until translucent and then add the diced tomatoes, smoked paprika and okra to the skillet. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have cooked down a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While the tomato and okra mixture is simmering, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or skillet. Add the remaining half of the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and cook another five minutes. Add the black-eyed peas with the liquid from the cans and heat until warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Served the tomatoes and okra over the black-eyed peas and brown rice and serve the cucumber relish on the side.
Quick Cucumber Relish
The recipe in D.I.Y. Delicious calls for the cucumber relish to be refrigerated for 3 days before it tops the okra and black-eyed peas dish. While I’m sure it would have been really tasty, I didn’t have three days to wait, so I modified the recipe and made a quick cucumber relish. I think I ended up refrigerating it for about 20-30 minutes before serving.
- 1 small English cucumber, diced
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 small, fresh mild to medium red chile, seeded and diced
- 3 tablespoons (or more) apple cider vinegar
Mix the cucumbers with sugar, salt, chili powder, and vinegar. Cover and refrigerate
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Four Chefs (Delicious!)
|So many things to like about this dish—the rich earthy flavor from the black-eyed peas, the slight smoky flavor of the okra and tomatoes, the crisp vinegary flavor of the cucumbers—layered on top of each other, these flavors make for one fantastic dish!|
Four Easy Chairs (“ABC, Easy as 123…”)
|Depending on how quickly you chop, this dish could come together in less than an hour.|
Five Apples (My Body is My Temple!)
|Complete with veggies and a good protein source, when served over brown rice this dish is a very healthy and balanced meal.|
Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)
|The okra, tomatoes, and onion were all local and organic. Most of the remaining ingredients were organic.|