This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme is, "Monthly Featured Chef : Yotam Ottolenghi". It has been awhile since I last cook with Ottolenghi's recipes. This monthly featured chef theme is a great way to revisit these chefs again.
During one weekend a few weeks ago while I was at my sister's house, I was browsing through her cookbooks shelves and was so jealous that she has a copy of "Ottolenghi, The Cookbook", that I sneaked it home! Haha! OK, so I borrowed the book from her, since she is not using it at the moment. After looking through this book, I knew which recipe I wanted to try first, Baked Okra With Tomato And Ginger.
I had another round of okra harvest, and their productive stage is coming to an end soon. Okra is one of our favourite and we have been enjoying them, cooked in various ways. Last month, I've made Madhur Jaffrey's, Okra with Potatoes. This month's Ottolenghi's okra dish is a new favourite.
According to Ottolenghi, in this recipe, the sliminess of the okra is minimized by removing the stalks carefully, without exposing the gloopy seeds, and by baking the okra whole rather than stewing it.
The okra are first baked in the oven with some olive oil, salt and black pepper. The sauce is cooked over the stove and the baked okra are then stirred into the sauce and simmered for a few minutes before serving. I've added more ginger and red pepper flakes. Adjust the amount of sugar to taste, as I've added a little more sugar to balance out the sourness from the tomatoes.
This dish is delicious! I have never baked okras before. I think that it is a wonderful way of cooking okra, so that when it is cooked and tender, it only needs a quick cooking over the stove, especially when there's just enough sauce that you would not want it to dry out with long simmering. I have however cut the cooked okra into half by using a clean kitchen scissors just before serving. Eating them, cut into halves is so much easier!
I could eat these baked okras just like that, baked with just salt, pepper and olive oil. They are tender, sweet and delicious. While these are really good, when cooked them in the tomato and ginger sauce, it is another delicious level altogether.
Baked Okra With Tomato And Ginger
(adapted from "Ottolenghi", Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi)
serves 2 to 4
1 lb/500gm okra
5 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 knob fresh ginger (scant 1/2oz/12gm) finely chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tsp superfine sugar
1-1/2 tbsp cilantro leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. To prepare the okra, take a small, sharp knife and carefully remove the stalk end. Try not to cut very low; leave the end of the stalk to seal the main body of the fruit, so the seeds are not exposed.
- Mix the okra with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Scatter on a baking sheet in a single layer, then place in the oven and leave for 15 to 20 minutes, until just tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan, add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and fry for about a minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and some salt and pepper and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.
- When the okra is ready, stir it gently into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. To serve warm, spoon the okra onto serving plates and scatter the cilantro on top. If serving at room temperature, adjust the seasoning again before serving and garnish with the cilantro.
I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week,
Monthly Featured Chef : Yotam Ottolenghi