This guest recipe comes to you from Leila of @persianliving on Twitter. Her blog is worth a visit as it grows with lovely Iranian style cooking. You can find her recipes at: persianliving.co.uk
My favourite vegetable of late is the flavourful and aromatic Okra, otherwise known in the West as Ladies Fingers or Gumbo.
In Iran, we call it Bamiyeh and in Pakistan/India it is known as Bhindi.
You can fry them up with garlic and tomato and eat with flat breads soaking up the juice, or cook in a casserole with chunks of lamb or beef ,flavour up with ginger and cinnamon and just for good measure add a few pieces of apple or simply stir fry. The easiest way and as I have found, the best way to get them eaten by my children, is to add them to a saucy meatball casserole because you can mash it up a little and they would never know the difference!
Okra, which is rich in calcium, can be found in most supermarkets usually somewhere obscure where all the fresh herbs and exotic vegetables are in little packets or already potted. I get mine from my favourite Asian store in Manchester where fruits, vegetables and herbs such as okra, baby aubergines, quince, coconuts, methi (fenugreek) and much more can be found in abundance. Here is my recipe for a deliciously spicy meal. Enjoy!
- 400g lean minced beef or minced lamb shoulder
- medium onion, grated
- 175g okra
- 1 tin chopped tomato
- 2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
- 2 heaped tbsp fine white breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp curry powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- Add the grated onion, breadcrumbs,, turmeric, salt and pepper to the minced meat and mix thoroughly.
- Roll the meat into little balls about the size of a gobstopper or smaller.
- Heat oil in a medium sized lidded pan and fry the meatballs until they have firmed up and have turned a brown colour.
- To avoid *sticking*, whilst the meatballs are still soft, instead of using a spoon, pick up the pan and shake occasionally to make sure all the meatballs have been allowed to fry.
- Once the meatballs are thoroughly browned all over, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste and cover with water.
- Bring the casserole to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 30 minutes, add the okra. Mix into the casserole as gently as possible using your spoon to bring up sauce from the bottom and pouring it over the okra.
- Leave to cook for a further 20 minutes repeating the same method with the sauce in order to soak the okra.
- Serve with fluffy white rice and a crisp crunchy salad!
*Tip: Okra can be slightly *sticky* if split open. This is due to the seeds being gelatinous. To avoid this, don’t cut them or split open whilst stirring the casserole.