I don't have a photo for this post, but I wanted to share one of the best things I've made in awhile: Okra Stew! If you're a midwesterner like me and you've never cooked with okra before, fear not--it was really easy! I bought about one pound of it at the store and wasn't sure what to do with it at all. After some google searches it seemed like my choices were to fry it like they do in the south or make it into some kind of Indian curry. But then I remembered that this middle eastern restaurant near my apartment makes an amazing Okra Stew, so I went on a quest to find a recipe that might yield something similar. When I found this one I was a little bit hesitant--usually things with nutmeg and allspice aren't really my thing, since I don't love those flavors. But somehow in this recipe together everything tastes great--and I didn't really focus on or notice nutmeg flavors while I ate. It all just blends together into a big bunch of deliciousness.
Also, don't be afraid of okra. I'd heard all of these horror stories about how it gets slimy and disgusting and you can't prevent the slime, etc. It DOES feel a bit slimy as you cut it. I tried not to cut it too much--I went with 1-inch chunks. There are ways you can reduce slime by soaking it in vinegar first apparently, but the acidity in the tomatoes takes care of that problem in this recipe. (I read about that online on other sites).
Wish I had a photo! Seriously, this was SO EASY to make, and so flavorful. Make it--you won't be sorry!
Okra Stew (recipe taken from CheckItOutVesta)
16 oz frozen or fresh baby okra (I didn't have baby, but regular was fine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (don't drain them)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used ketchup--all was well)
2-3 cups water
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice (I didn't have this so I used some cinnamon, more nutmeg, and some cloves)
1 teaspoon red hot pepper (optional) (I thought the recipe meant cayenne powder, and I thought that seemed like a lot so I went with 1/2 tsp. Even that was nearly fatal. Perhaps the original recipe meant red pepper flakes or chopped hot pepper).
salt and pepper to taste (about 1-2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper)
Saute the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil just till soft. Add the tomato paste and saute for another 30 seconds and then add the diced tomatoes and mix well. Season with the nutmeg, cumin, allspice, hot pepper and salt and pepper and stir.
Add the water to the mixture, mix and bring to a slight boil. Add the okra, cover your pan and lower the heat to simmer the stew. Let the stew simmer until it has thickened and the okra is nice and soft, continue to mix during the simmering process.
Taste the stew before serving to make sure your seasoning is right as the flavors should intensify as the stew reduces. (I reduced mine until there wasn't much liquid left.) Add more water if your stew is overwhelming or add more spice if it is not to your liking. Serve over rice or just in a bowl with some naan or pita bread (I used quinoa--yummy!)