I once, not even so very long ago, told a little lie about okra. The lie was that I hated it. What I had meant to say and probably should have said was that I had never had it before but that it looked pretty gross and I’d rather not give it a try anytime soon, thank you very much.
I’ve been buying a lot of frozen vegetables lately. Michael Pollan wrote good things about them in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and even today I saw this article at The Salt on the topic. Frozen vegetables get a bad reputation, given their humble little home beside the effusions of french fries and the frozen battalions of hockey-puck hamburger patties. But the truth is that they are nutritionally rich — perhaps even more so than fresh vegetables, which sometimes sit for weeks before you come to purchase them in the produce section.
At any rate, I spied a one pound bag of frozen okra a couple of weeks ago, and I decided to go out on a bit of a limb and take it home with me. As it turns out, I am an excellent decision maker. I have since made this good decision at least six or seven times. As I’ve mentioned once or twice, I do nothing in moderation.
What I’ve learned is that I do not hate okra. In fact, I’m a little in love with okra. A little in love with the slime, the bite, the funny little seeds. I want to eat it every day. I want to make a big mess of it and put it in a very large
bucket bowl and call it dinner. Which brings me to this dish. Oh, this dish. It calls to me.
I crafted this recipe when I was trying to find some different ways to use chickpea flour, another new-to-me ingredient I stumbled upon recently. I picked up some of the stuff when recipes for socca flatbread seemed to be popping up out of every small corner of the internet, and I just had to try it. Have you tried it yet? It’s a lovely little gluten-free flatbread that’s simple to put together and even simpler to eat an entire batch of in a single sitting. Not that I would know anything about that.
Curry-Coated Okra with Rainbow Chard.
- 1 bunch rainbow chard (about a pound)
- 1 pound frozen okra slices
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 1/3 cup chickpea flour
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to your taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Greek yogurt and chopped cilantro to serve
First, prepare the chard. Remove the stems from the leaves and dice them into small 1/2 inch pieces. Then cut the leaves into small ribbons.
Next, steam the frozen okra. Put it in a steaming basket inside a large covered pot and cook until soft and sticky, about seven minutes.
Heat the coconut oil on medium heat in a large skillet. When it’s hot, add the scallions and cook them until they’re soft. Next add the chard stems and cook them until they are also soft and have lost their bitter taste. Add the okra and toss, and then add the chard leaves, stirring frequently until they wilt completely. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, combine the chickpea flour with the curry, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and ginger. Sprinkle the mixture over the cooking vegetables and reduce the heat slightly. Toss the vegetables with the flour mixture so that the dry pieces coat the sticky bits. Add a couple of teaspoons of water if needed. Keep tossing and heating until the flour is cooked and just a bit crunch.
Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and lots of chopped cilantro.