Here we run into a problem of cultural clashes about what constitutes an entire meal. In Syria, Okra in Olive Oil with bread and pickles on the side is an entire meal. And although this is a dish that I like very, very much, my American side protests that one vegetable, bread and pickles is completely unsatisfactory, both nutritionally and for my taste buds, which are accustomed to more variety. So I tend to serve this as a side dish–a BIG side dish, but a side dish nonetheless. Maybe more of a partner dish, which makes it sound more equal in the meal. Regardless, this is a simple and tasty dish and as long as you can find small enough okra, you don’t have to worry about the sliminess factor.
OKRA IN OLIVE OIL
- 1/2 lb./250 g. okra (tops removed if you use fresh okra)
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp. coriander (dried) or 3 Tbsp. cilantro/coriander (fresh)
- Salt to taste
In a large, heavy pan heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until slightly translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes. Add the okra and stir well. If you’re using fresh okra, you may need to add a small amount of water. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or so, until okra is almost done. Add the coriander/cilantro and salt; cover and cook another 5 minutes.
This dish can be eaten hot or cold, and is traditionally served with Arabic flat bread and cucumber pickles.