Succulent and perfectly balanced, this slightly saucy dish is quite simple to prepare. While mixing okra with water tends to enhance its slippery mouth feel, the lemon juice in this recipe counteracts that, giving the dish a great texture. Using freshly harvested okra also helps keep the texture firm – good news for those of you who are still warming up to this unique vegetable. This recipe serves four, and takes 30 minutes to prepare (plus one to two hours to marinate).
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
1⁄2 – 3⁄4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1⁄2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
20 medium-sized okra (about 1/3 lb)
1 medium tomato, chopped
Cut the chicken into 1- or 1.5-inch pieces. Place in a non-aluminum bowl and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, 1 tsp salt and lemon juice. Stir well to mix. Cover and refrigerate for one to two hours.
Slice off the tops and tips of the okra and cut each into two to three slices. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high. Add the cumin seeds, onions and okra. Stir and fry six or seven minutes, or until the onions have browned a little. Add the marinated chicken, stir and fry three to four minutes until all the chicken pieces turn pale. (Don’t worry if some of the spices stick to the pan.) Add 1⁄2 cup water, 1⁄4 tsp salt and the tomato. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Serve over rice or your favourite grain.
It's also featured in Eat Local, Taste Global: A Guide to Growing and Cooking World Crops, written by Emily Van Halem and published by The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto. Get more information about the project and watch world-crops cooking videos (featuring Van Halem) at thestop.org/eat-local-taste-global.
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