Stewed okra was one of my favorite vegetable dishes growing up. Most people don't like okra because of its sliminess, but I find the combination of okra and Yemeni Kushn (carmelized onion, garlic, and tomato) creates the perfect balance. A generous portion of this flavorful stew over a bed of fluffy white rice is the ultimate comfort food. I also highly recommend serving the okra with lemon wedges. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens up the dish and gives it a perfect tangy kick.
Choosing your okra: Although this recipe works well with all types of frozen okra, I highly recommend using whole mini frozen okra. Chopped okra exposes the seeds and releases more sliminess than people care for. Large okra can also feel fibrous and won't soak up the stew's juices as well as the minis will. I purchase my whole mini frozen okra from my local halal market. Most halal markets in the U.S. carry this variation of okra in the freezer section due to its popularity in Middle Eastern communities.
This post is not sponsored by Montana, but I wanted to share an example of what the mini okra packaging looks like.
2 tbsp olive oil ملعقتين ك زيت زيتون
2-3 small yellow onions or 1-2 large ones حبتين بصل كبيرة
1 large green pepper حبة بيبار خضراء كبيرة
4-5 medium tomatoes أربعة أو خمسة حبات طماطم
1 spicy green peppers (add more to taste) حبة فلفل خضراء
1 tbsp tomato paste ملعقة ك صلصة الطماطم المركزة
2 tbsp crushed garlic ملعقتين ك ثوم مهروس
1 tsp cumin ملعقة ص كمون
1 tsp ground coriander ملعقة ص كزبرة كاشفة
salt and pepper to taste ملح وفلفل حسب المذاق
3/4 - 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth كباية مرق دجاج أو خضروات
2 bags of frozen mini okra كيسين بامية مفرزة
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro كباية كزبرة
You can also replace the cumin, coriander, and black pepper with a tablespoon of Yemeni Hawayij
optional: add a tablespoon of chopped sun dried tomatoes. إختياري: ملعقة طماطم مجففة
Heat a wide skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat and add olive oil. Saute chopped onions and green peppers under onions are translucent.
Add crushed garlic and minced spicy peppers. Continue to saute until onions start browning and garlic is fragrant.
Stir in chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. You can also add some chopped sun dried tomatoes for extra flavor. Cook until tomatoes start breaking down.
Once tomatoes are mushy, add cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Alternatively, add Yemeni Hawayij and salt. Simmer onion and tomato mixture for another 2 minutes.
Add frozen okra and gently stir into the onion tomato mixture. Top off with half a cup of chicken or vegetable broth and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Uncover and gently fold the okra. Be gentle so that each okra pieces stays in tact. In you feel like the stew is drying out, add the other 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth.
Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes or until the okra is tender.
Stir in freshly chopped cilantro and cook for only another minute or two.
This dish tastes delicious on day 1, but tastes even better a few hours later or the next day! Reheat the next day by adding a splash of water and simmering over low heat with the lid covered. Gently stir with a rubber spatula.
Serve with lemon wedges - a squeeze of lemon juice makes this dish even more amazing!
If you don't have rice, serve the okra stew with some warm pita. Pinch the okra as if its hummus - you will thank me.
Add leftovers to your fahsa!