Okra, or better known as Ladies’ Fingers in Malaysia, is a very underrated vegetable. In Malaysia you’ll see it being used in Yong Tau Foo. They are also often added to Fish Head Curries. Growing up in my household, Okra is simply stir fry with garlic and still remains one of my favourite way of eating Okra. Most people steer clear of it due to the slime they release when cooked, Gordon Ramsay had even said multiple times he hates it. I don’t mind the the mucilaginous part, which contains a form of soluble fiber and it’s good for you know what. But there’s a way to cook it which minimizes the sliminess: Blancing the Okra beforehand. Cooking it with tomatoes, lemon juice or vinegar would help too.
Here’s a dish with Moroccan flavours. I don’t have a tagine and used a saucepan instead, so this should technically be called a stew. I suppose I could also use the claypot which is basically similar concept to the tagine. But regardless, this is quite delicious! Tone down the heat if you prefer, as this is quite hot.
300g fresh okra, stem ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tomatoes, diced
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Morrocan Seasoning*
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, more for garnish.
*If you don’t have Moroccan Seasoning, just add slightly more Cumin and Paprika
Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add okra and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the okra with a slotted spoon to the ice water. Drain. (Behold, slimey gooey water!)
Heat oil in a tagine dish set over a heat diffuser or a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add capsicum. Cook, stirring, until soft, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
Add onion, garlic, ginger. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, 3-4 minutes. Mix in capsicum, tomatoes, broth, cumin, the okra, paprika, and parsley. Reduce heat to medium; partially cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the okra is soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in chickpeas and salt; cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; Stir in cayenne pepper. Sprinkle with more parsley leaves. Serve as it is or with coucous. Slime free and easy peasy.
Happy Chap Goh Mei to all Chinese in South East Asia, 元宵节快乐 for the ones in China/Hong Kong!