Okra With Cashew-Vinegar Sauce
Note: This curry captures the essence of the state of Goa in India. From “660 Curries,” by Raghavan Iyer.
• 1 lb. fresh okra, rinsed and thoroughly dried
• 4 tbsp. canola oil, dividied
• 1/4 c. raw cashew nuts
• 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
• 4 medium-size garlic cloves
• 2 lengthwise slices fresh ginger (each 2 in. long, 1 in. wide and 1/8-in. thick)
• 2 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
• 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
• 1/4 c. malt vinegar
• 1 tsp. coarse kosher or sea salt
• 1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped
• 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
Trim the caps off the okra without cutting into the pods, and slice the pods into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the okra and stir-fry until the pods blister in spots and acquire a light brown coloration on their ridged skin, 12 to 15 minutes.
While the okra is browning, combine the cashews, onion, garlic, ginger and chiles in a food processor, and pulse until minced.
Transfer the browned okra to a plate.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the spicy-hot onion blend and stir-fry (with adequate ventilation) until it is light brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the turmeric.
Pour in 1/2 cup water, the vinegar and salt, and stir once or twice. Add the okra, cover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, and braise until it is fork-tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the tomato and cilantro, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomato is warmed but still firm-looking, 2 to 3 minutes. Then serve.
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Find fish sauce with Asian foods in the supermarket. From “Vegetables Illustrated,” by America’s Test Kitchen.”
• 3/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 1/2 c. vegetable oil
• 1 onion, chopped fine
• 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
• 1 celery rib, chopped fine
• 5 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
• 3 3/4 c. chicken broth
• 1/4 c. fish sauce (see Note)
• 2 lb. bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed, skin removed
• Salt and pepper
• 2 lb. extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled and deveined
• 8 oz. andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
• 6 oz. okra, stemmed and cut into 1-in. pieces
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast 3/4 cup flour in Dutch oven on stovetop over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in oil until smooth. Cover, transfer pot to oven, and cook until mixture is deep brown and fragrant, about 45 minutes. (Roux can be refrigerated in airtight container for 1 week. To use, heat in Dutch oven over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until just smoking, and continue with recipe.)
Transfer Dutch oven to stovetop and whisk cooked roux to combine. Stir in onion, bell pepper and celery, and cook over medium heat until softened, abut 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour, garlic, thyme and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook until dry, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth and fish sauce, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Season chicken with pepper, then add to pot and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until chicken registers 175 degrees, about 30 minutes. Using large spoon, skim fat from surface, then transfer chicken to large plate. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks and return to pot; discard bones.
Stir in shrimp, sausage and okra and simmer until shrimp is opaque throughout and sausage and okra are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: From Southern Living magazine.
• 1 lb. fresh okra
• 2 c. buttermilk
• 1 c. self-rising cornmeal
• 1 c. self-rising flour
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
• Vegetable oil
• 1/4 c. bacon drippings
Cut off and discard tip and stem ends from okra; cut okra into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices. Stir into buttermilk; cover and chill 45 minutes.
Combine cornmeal, flour, salt and cayenne in a bowl.
Remove okra from buttermilk with a slotted spoon, and discard buttermilk. Dredge okra, in batches, in the cornmeal mixture.
Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet; add bacon drippings, and heat to 375 degrees. Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden; drain on paper towels.
Roasted Okra With Fennel and Oregano
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: From “Vegetables Illustrated,” by America’s Test Kitchen.”
• 1 1/2 lb. okra, stemmed
• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp. dried oregano
• 2 tsp. fennel seeds, cracked
• Salt and pepper
• Lemon wedges
Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimed baking sheet on rack and heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss okra with oil, oregano, fennel and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl.
Working quickly, transfer okra to hot baking sheet and spread into single layer. Roast until okra is crisp-tender and well browned on most sides, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges.
Variations: With sesame and cumin/ Substitute 1 tablespoon sesame seeds for oregano, 2 teaspoons cracked cumin seeds for fennel seeds, and lime wedges for lemon. Toss cooked okra with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil after roasting.
With Smoked Paprika and Cayenne/ Substitute 1 tablespoon smoked paprika for oregano and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper for fennel seeds.