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Ghanaians love okra or okro stew. More often than not, okra stew is served along side a slightly fermented stiff porridge known as banku, however it can be served with anything you like. I once tried it with millet and throughly enjoyed the resulting meal.
Okra stew looks complex, but it is so simple and delicious. To top it off, it is a very quick and easy dish to make. I love to use fresh ingredients when making the stew, and I do not cook it for very long at all; there is no need to complicate it. Okra stew can be made in a variety of ways and even with an assortment of meats. I particularly love okra stew with seafood. Any type of seafood. Fish such as salmon or tilapia cooks in such a short time that you could actually create a lovely and simple meal in 15 minutes.
To give okra stew it's traditional flavour, the use of sustainably sourced palm fruit oil is a must. The combination of palm oil, fish and tomato yields a very unique flavour that can be distinctly linked to Ghana. The red palm oil, rich in carotenoids, also adds a vibrant colour to the dish. In terms or texture and consistency, this stew can be made quite runny and can appear to be more of a soup. I do not particularly enjoy okra when it is too slimy, therefore when I chop it up, the pieces are not too small and the cooking time is kept to a minimum so long as the okra is cooked and tender.
You may serve this with a variety of carbohydrate rich sides, although you will most enjoy eating okra stew with something which can soak up all the lick-worthy sauce. Try serving the stew with polenta or semolina, and it you are already accustomed, then sadza will go perfectly with this stew.
- 2 tablespoons sustainably sourced red palm fruit oil (or vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon smoked paprika as a substitute for palm oil)
- 1 brown onion
- 2 ripe tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch of ginger
- 1 scotch bonnet (or habanero pepper)
- 40 pods/400g fresh okra pods
- 7 oz./200g large prawns (jumbo, king)
- 7 oz./200g squid rings
- 10 1/2 oz./300g white flesh fish fillets (tilapia, bream)
- 8 1/2 oz./250 mL chicken (or fish stock)
- Optional: 2 lobster tails
- Garnish: spring onions
- Gather the ingredients.
- Chop the onion then fry it in the oil on a medium heat until caramelised.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, pepper and ginger to the pot and stir. If you prefer, you may liquidise the tomatoes with the ginger, garlic and a little portion of the onion together, then add to the pot. Allow to cook until the tomatoes reduce.
- Chop the okra pods by slicing them across to creat round pieces. These should be about a third to half a centimetre thick. Add the okra to the pot, followed by the prawns, squid and fish. Top up with the stock and stir. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until the okra is just tender.
- If you want to make this dish extra impressive, and have the budget for it, get the lobster tails and place them into a baking tray. Place them onto a tray, flesh side up. Place a teaspoon of butter on each tail, then bake in a preheated oven at 220 degrees celsius (or 200 for a fan forced oven).
- Place the okra stew into a serving dish, garnish with the spring onions then top up with the lobster tails.