Okra (also known as gumbo or ladyfingers) is a well-known vegetable worldwide. It is used in dishes from Southeast Asia to the Mediterranean. It is the main ingredients in the Gulf coast gumbo and the Trinidadian callaloo.
The Dominican Republic is one of those countries where okra is a part of the local cuisine.
In our country okra is consumed mostly in this form, or as a salad. It has some fierce detractors but in general it is still a popular vegetable. A good thing since okra is a versatile and very healthy vegetable.
Okra is a great source of fiber, a fantastic choice for vegetarians and vegans, and speaking for mysel only, a great hunger-buster. It is very filling without containing a lot of calories. If you are also a lover of spicy food feel free to add a touch of your favorite spicy sauce. I recommend a bit of Aunt Clara’s Hot Sauce and Paint Stripper.
If you are put off by the characteristic slimy appearance of raw okra, be assured that once cooked it will go away. Slicing it into small pieces, long cooking and acidic content are all recommended methods to dissolve the goo, all methods present in this dish.
Besides, if we did not have okra we would not have the saying that is often used to refer to politicos here and everywhere: más resbaloso que un molondrón (more slippery than an okra).
This is a delicious dish and a perfect choice for vegetarians. Okra is very popular in Dominican cuisine and is served either as main dish when no meat is served, or as side dish alongside the traditional Dominican fare.
- 4 cups of okra diced into 3/4 - inch pieces.
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 large bell pepper cut into small cubes
- 4 plum tomatoes cut into small cubes
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon of mashed garlic
- 1 teaspoon of fruit vinegar or 1 tablespoon of lime juice
- Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
- Cook and stir the onions until they become transparent, add peppers, tomatoes, garlic and vinegar (or lime juice).
- Add the okra, tomato sauce and 3/4 cup of water and simmer covered over medium heat until they okra is tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- I serve mine with whole grain rice for a filling but light meal.
Remember to cut off and discard both ends of each okra before slicing.