Okra or okro (lady’s fingers/bhindi) is the lusciously fabulous fruit of the okra plant and is popular in West African, Ethiopian and Asian cooking. It is highly nutritious and is a good source of calcium, potassium, folic acid, fiber and vitamin C.
I remember my mother chopping it into tiny pieces to add to a beef and okro stew which we would eat with banku, a Ghanaian starchy staple made out of fermented cassava or corn dough or a combination of both. It is also a popular addition to peanut soup or other soup variations. People who are not used to it may be put off by the slimy consistency of the okra as it is cooked, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. In this recipe, I have made a simple okra stew by keeping the pods whole, thus reducing the release of the slimy juices. This recipe is worth a try and only needs a hint of palm oil in order to taste just as authentic as any West African okra stew. And it is also perfect for an absolutely vegan and vegetarian meal.
4 tbsp palm oil
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp tomato puree
3 large ripe tomatoes
1 scotch bonnet pepper
200g fresh tender okra (say 35)
250 mls vegetable stock
1. Finely chop the onions, garlic, ginger and pepper. Slice up the tomatoes.
2. Heat up 4 tablespoons of palm oil, fry the onions, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes till softened and fragrant.
3. Add a tablespoon of tomato puree, followed by the chopped tomatoes. Fry for about 5 minutes until broken down. Add the chopped scotch bonnet pepper.
4. Trim the stalks off the okra but not too deep into the fruit if you wish to avoid the goo from being released. Add them into the pan followed by 250 mls of vegetable stock. Allow to simmer until the sauce is reduced to a thick stew consistency.
Enjoy with rice or yams or over a bed of steamed quinoa as pictured.