Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spanish Okra Over Rice

My only experience cooking with okra was when I made shrimp and okra gumbo for Brazil month back in March of 2011. Since Greg brought a bag of frozen sliced okra with him when we moved in together, I figured it was time to give okra another try. I also had a recipe lying around from who knows where entitled "Spanish Okra." It's a little like Spanish Rice with okra, since the suggested serving is over rice. 

The first thing you do is make the rice. It takes about 20 minutes for rice to cook in my rice cooker, then another ten to absorb enough moisture that it won't stick to the sides and make a gooey mess that sucks to clean up, so I always start the rice before anything else. By the time its ready, the rest of the food should be, as well. It never hurts to let rice sit, so no worries if the accompanying entree is not yet ready. 

Next, dump one 1lb frozen bag of sliced okra into a pot of water to boil for about 3 minutes. The recipe also calls for 1/2 cup of chopped onion to be put in, but our onion was (unbeknownst to me, I swear) used on other things, so I shook in a very generous amount of onion powder in with the okra as it boiled. I figured this would add to the flavor, and it turns out I was right.

Once the okra is thawed and such after boiling, drain the okra and add it to a frying pan along with 3 tablespoons of butter and one can of diced tomatoes (undrained, and I recommend the kind with chilies). Things you could add that I did not: a tablespoon of chili powder and hot sauce to taste. I am very un-American as I detest hot sauce in all its forms. I might have added a dash of chili powder because Greg had it on hand (I never do), but I honestly don't remember. I am not a fan of that either. I added a couple dashes of lemon juice in hopes of breaking up the mucilage, or the gooey slime secreted by the okra when cooked. Greg doesn't mind it; I think it's disgusting.

Cover the pan and cook all of this stuff together for about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. At this point, the rice should be done. Scoop some rice in a bowl, spoon the okra and tomato mixture over-top, and dinner is served. I had originally considered this a side dish, but it worked perfectly well as a light dinner. Greg and I tend to get home late, so a huge meal is rarely in the cards, nor really desired (on my end anyway). 

This is a very tasty, quick, and easy meal. It also made great leftovers that I reheated in the microwave at work the next day. I would make this recipe again. Okra is pretty tasty and high in fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, and is full of antioxidants. (Antioxidants are all the rage with the kids these days.) Click here for a full breakdown of okra's nutrition content.

I hope you enjoy cooking with okra, too!

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