This satisfying dish of okra and tomatoes with rice makes a tasty side dish or meat-free main dish. It's an excellent dish to serve with fish, poultry, or meat. For a hearty Creole-style main dish, add about 1 pound of cooked shrimp or 12 to 16 ounces of spicy sliced smoked sausage to the okra and tomato mixture.
The recipe calls for canned tomatoes, but diced fresh tomatoes are an excellent alternative if you have them. Or use an equal amount of tomato purée in the dish.
If you like a bit of heat, add a dash of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. Or add a teaspoon of Cajun or Creole seasoning to the dish and cut back on the salt (unless the seasoning blend is unsalted).
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste, divided)
- 1/2 pound okra (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups sliced)
- 1/2 onion (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped)
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes (with juice)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine the rice and 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring the rice to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 18 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and let stand with the cover on for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and keep warm.
Meanwhile, wash the okra and dry it thoroughly. Peel and chop the onion. Remove the stem and seeds from the green pepper and cut it into 1/4 inch dice.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the okra; cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
Dice the whole tomatoes and add them—and their juices—to the onion and bell pepper mixture; reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
Add the okra and sugar to the tomato mixture. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
In a small bowl, combine the 2 teaspoons of flour with about 1 tablespoon of cold water. Whisk or stir to form a smooth paste.
Add the flour mixture to the okra and tomatoes and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
For serving, spoon the okra over the rice.
When shopping for okra, choose brightly colored pods free of damage and blemishes. Look for pods around 4 inches or less in length. Large pods might be fibrous and tough.