Friday, August 20, 2010

Eat Locally Think Globally

Instead of dining out, I had a few friends over on our rooftop. This Friday night, I pan-seared okra from our local Union Square Farmers Market, with tomatoes and holy basil leaves that I have been nurturing in my urban, rooftop garden since April. 

Okra is a very simple, nutritious and lots of fiber vegetable and of course it is appetizing too! Popular as the ladies fingers in South Asian, Okra is abundance at this time of year in Northeast America as well. It’s perfect for summer refreshing vegetable dish option.

Most people don’t fancy okra is because of its slimy taste, I find if it sliced and seared gives a nice snappy texture and eliminate the liquid. 

Recipe: Seared Okra with Tomato and Cumin Dust


1 lb Okra (sliced diagonally)
Vegetable oil for frying
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups (450g) chopped tomato, fresh or canned, drained
1 serrano chile, sliced
2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Spice mixture
¼ cup cilantro stems and sprigs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoons ground paprika
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper
1/8 cup of water


In a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high flame, heat 2 to 3 teaspoon oil. Add enough okra to cover pan in a single layer. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining okra, adding more oil as needed for each batch to prevent sticking.

In the same pan wiped clean, over medium-high heat, add onion till lightly brown, add in garlic, ginger, stir in cumin paprika.

Continue frying over medium high heat, adding water, stirring frequently, until tomatoes soften, about 3 minutes.

Add reserved okra and stir very gently with chile to combine with tomato and cilantro stems. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until okra is cooked through…

Garnish with cilantro sprigs

*add in cooked shrimp or fish if desired!