“Okra [bemieh in Arabic] is a flowering plant of the mallow family with edible green fruit. It is a vegetable one either hates or loves. In Lebanon, okra is cooked with beef or lamb in a stew served with rice or simply in a tomato-based stew seasoned with plenty of onion and garlic.” – from the book Mouneh by Barbara Massaad
What I chose the do with the okra tonight is cook it with a tomato-based broth with onions, garlic and green coriander. I always prefer meatless stews, I find that the vegetables always taste fresher and the tomato sauce stays light.
Meatless Okra Stew in Chili Tomato Broth (for 2)
– 375g green okra
– 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
– 1 onion, cut into 4
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 2 Tbsp green coriander, chopped
– 2 dried chili peppers
– 1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes
– 2 cups water
– 1 Tbsp tomato paste
– A squeeze of lemon
– Salt, cinnamon, pepper
1. Wash the okra well and then cut off the pointy head. If there are long okras, cut them in half.
2. Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onions, garlic, green coriander and chili pepper until the onion becomes translucent and the garlic starts spreading its aromas.
3. Add the okras and stir every now and then. At this stage we just want the okra to soften a little.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes, the water, tomato paste and the squeeze of lemon juice, add salt and then cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
Lemon juice will minimize the viscosity of the okra.
5. When the sauce has thickened the okras are well cooked, season with cinnamon and pepper and check if you need to add more salt.
6. Turn off the heat and serve hot.
Stews are usually served with short grain rice cooked with vermicelli.