Favorite okra recipes

publickmanApril 26, 2014

I bought okra at the market last week-end and the checker asked me how I was going to cook it, as he was clueless and had probably never had okra - he also had to look up the price code, as the store only has it seasonally. When they do have it, I always buy it, however. Anyway, I told him that I usually fried it with cornmeal or made gumbo. The bag boy was very familiar with gumbo and also liked fried okra.

When I got home, however, I decided to look in my African cookbook for a new okra recipe, and I found one that I liked but decided to make it slightly different. Here's what I made:

Okra and Rice Casserole

1-1/8 cup white Basmati rice
36 pieces of okra
1 medium onion
3 ripe (red) Serrano chilies (can substitute Jalapeno)
1-1/4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (can substitute one can of tomatoes)
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 cup tomato juice - or -
1/4 to 1/2 cup water + 2 tbsp tomato powder or tomato paste
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated

Rinse the rice in a large sieve and put the drained rice into a heavy pot - preferably a pressure cooker.

Cut the stem ends off the okra and cut each piece into two or three pieces, depending on size. If they are large, cut them into four pieces, but I only buy small ones. Chop the onion coarsely and mince the chilies. Add all of these ingredients to the pot with the rice, along with the tomatoes. If you do not have fresh tomatoes, you can use two cans of tomatoes for this amount of rice.

Dissolve the tomato powder (or paste) into the 1/2 cup of water and add the salt. I use a tomato soup base instead of the tomato powder and salt, and you can use 2 tsp of powdered vegetable bouillon instead of salt, which is what I prefer. Combine the water mixture with the rice and add the oil. Stir everything together loosely - there should not be any clumps of tomato powder or paste.

Cover the pan and if using a pressure cooker with an induction burner, set the burner on high for 7 minutes, or until pressure is reached, and then turn the heat down to low (250 degrees) and continue to cook under pressure for 7 more minutes. Remove from heat (or leave alone if on an induction burner) until the pressure valve has gone down - about ten minutes. Remove the cover and stir to fluff the rice and mix the ingredients thoroughly.

You can eat it like this as a side dish or stir in the grated cheese and heat it for about ten minutes in a casserole dish. I put mine in serving bowls and microwaved them to melt the cheese, which had cooled down the dish.

If not using the pressure cooker, cook the rice until it is done the way you usually do. You can use less water if you want a chewier rice - mine came out very soft, but not watery. I used half a cup of water, but I think I could have used less.


I wrote the recipe down because I wanted to remember it and make it again because it was extremely good! But then I love the flavor of okra. Because it is mixed with rice in this dish, it has none of the slimy texture that some people (not me!) find objectionable. The recipe from the African cookbook was similar to mine, but without the rice and cheese. The cheese was an afterthought - when I tasted the rice after it was done, it just seemed like it needed cheddar cheese. Otherwise, it would have needed a bit more salt, but since the cheese is salty, there was no need to add more salt.

I have other favorite okra recipes as well - what are yours??

I hope I am not alone in liking okra, but it is seldom discussed here, it seems. I ate it frequently as a child, and we used to grow it on our farm in Texas.


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That sounds really good, Lars.
I love okra, too.

One of my favorite ways to fix it is very simple.

Choose only small, tender pods.
Wash them, but do NOT cut off the stem ends.

Melt a bit of butter in a saute pan,
with a shake or 2 of olive oil.
Add okra pods, and saute, shaking often to turn them,
until lightly browned.

Season with lemon pepper to taste,

As long as the pods are not cut,
or do not break open,
there will be none of the "slimy" texture.
The acid from the lemon also cuts this.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Pickled!!!! Linda Ziedrich's recipe in "Joy of Pickling" is by far the best - I sell hundreds of jars at the farmers market using her recipe. It has a halved garlic clove in it and that is like a little bonus!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 6:09PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I oven fry them on a dark baking sheet until quite crispy and that is the only way I really like them, fried and oven fried. Nice in gumbo but the other flavors predominate so much that the okra is second/third tier and I like the flavor of okra.

I neglected my garden last summer and found a 16" okra pod. Needed a power saw to cut it! ( I threw it out after trying)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 7:51PM
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I might try oven frying them, as I love fried okra, but then I have never had an okra dish that I did not love. I have also made a casserole with fried okra that I made in the same method as eggplant Parmigiana, but with okra instead of eggplant.

I do not have room or good enough soil here to grow okra, but I will also buy it frozen when I cannot find fresh. I buy pickled okra at the farmers' markets, but I have not pickled it myself, as I am not that good at pickling so far!


    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:40AM
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Okra in tomato sauce is a classic summer side dish here (israel, the Middle East). That's how I make it:

2 pounds okra
1 pound fresh tomatoes
large onion and/or couple garlic cloves
1 hot pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water

Lightly fry chopped onion + garlic + hot pepper in olive oil

Add chopped tomatoes + salt, cover pot so that tomatoes produce as much juice as possible, stir occasionally. This takes about 5-8 minutes

add okra (the smaller pods are - the better) and 1/2 cup water, bring to boil, turn down flame, cover, cook 20 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on how soft you like your okra.

Goes very well with white rice. Can be served hot or cold. It wonderful cold. I think the flavours are more palpable this way.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 5:17AM
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WinterCat, here in S Texas, that is called "Okra Gumbo".
And it's a pretty 'basic' (and delicious) way of preparing okra.
The biggest difference in your dish and mine
Is that I usually use canned tomatoes,
And a bit of butter rather than the olive oil.

But I never would have thought of eating it cold!
I'll have to try that next time I make it!


    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 11:26AM
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CA Kate

A number of years ago we ate at a restaurant called Mama Dee's where they served an Okra side that was delicious. I even bought her cookbook just to get the recipe, which is super simple. The cookbook disappeared in our move, but this is how I still make it:

Okra Sidedish

1 small to medium onion, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide pieces.
1 largish clove of Garlic, sliced thin
1 1/2 cup chopped skinned tomatoes - with any juices, or equivalent canned tomatoes
1 1/2 cups okra, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all in sauce pan and gently cook until okra and onions are tender.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Oh dear I've been eating gumbo and speaking prose all my life without knowing it :)

Rusty, if you plan to eat it cold, better use olive oil instead of butter. It's far better with olive oil when cold.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 3:56AM
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