Today I'm adding another dish to my stable of Greek recipes. Braised okra or "bamies" as we say in Greek (pronounced bum-yes) is a wonderful, tasty vegetarian dish. Truth be told, I was never a fan of okra. Especially, whilst growing up. I know it seems like I keep on repeating myself about particular foods, but I learnt to appreciate it more in my later years. I had tried it in an "authentic" gumbo in the United States-thought it wasn't so bad and decided to give the Greek version another go.
This is a very simple dish to prepare requiring a few ingredients. It belongs to the "ladera" (pronounced la-the-ra) family of dishes which translates as dishes cooked in an olive oil based sauce (the Greek word for oil is "lathi"). These dishes are almost always vegetarian and usually include garlic and tomatoes. They are so tasty and the sauce that is created is perfect for mopping up with plenty of crusty bread. There is something really magical about using olive oil to braise vegetables in this manner. I also love green beans prepared this way and will be featuring that recipe in the coming winter months. Braised okra is also Lent friendly and suitable for those who are fasting during the lead up to Easter.
RECIPE FOR BRAISED OKRA
- 500 grams of fresh okra
- 2 tbsps of red wine vinegar
- ½ a cup of olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 500 grams of fresh pureed tomatoes or a can of pureed tomatoes
- a handful of chopped, fresh, flat leaf parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the okra and proceed to trim the pointy ends off.
- Sprinkle with red wine vinegar and let them stand for one hour in a bowl. (once the hour has passed rinse them in cold water and drain)
- Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and saute the onion over a low heat until it softens.
- Add the okra and toss in the olive oil/onion mixture for about 5 mins.
- Add the tomatoes, parsley and season to taste.
- Bring the mixture to a boil on med/high heat and then allow to simmer for approximately 20-30 mins on a low/med heat.
- Once the okra is tender serve immediately with crusty bread.