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 ingredient in gumbo from the US Gulf coast and the Trinidadian callaloo.
The Dominican Republic is one of those countries where okra is a part of the local cuisine, Molondrones Guisados (Stewed Okra) is its most popular dish.
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 myself 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 agrio de naranja to make it all that much better.
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).
- 4 cups of okra diced into 1" [2.5cm] pieces (aprox 1½ lb [0.7 kg])
- 2 tablespoons of olive 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
- ½ tablespoon of mashed garlic
- 1 tablespoon of fruit vinegar or 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper, or to taste
- 1 spring of cilantro, chopped
- 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 1 cup of water and simmer covered over medium heat until they okra is tender, add water as it becomes necessary to maintain the same level of liquid.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix in cilantro.
- I serve mine with whole grain rice for a filling but light meal.