Does okra spring something to mind? Perhaps lady’s fingers? I remember hunting for these darlings in the UK and it was not always an easy case. Most well-known for their wonderful Indian bhindi curry, I could get them during the summer in certain markets especially those in proximity with Asian neighbourhoods. In Greece, it is bamia as we call it and thanks to our proximity to Africa this wonderful vegetable got incorporated in traditional cuisine as a side, mainly paired with chicken. It is equally tasty when cold as a mezze with a bit of raki.
The vegetable also got incorporated into our slang: bamia mainly referred to silly buggers, amongst other things. You would refer to someone as bamia when their intellect is mildly reduced, their personality lacking of spice and generally being regarded as weak of temperament, opinion or as a matter of fact lacking will to do anything worth doing. So this dish is highly inspired by politics currently in progress. This being a coup or what have you, we ended up with a mess of a parliament, odious austerity measures, heaving for air in this incredible mess.
If you don’t like okra much, it’s probably because of their slimy texture. One could not have a description more fitting for politicians, so the bamia dish is dedicated with little love to political elites home and abroad. I do however feel obliged to reinstate the quality of bamia and tell you how to avoid the slime: Vinegar!
I hope someone more suitable than me can do the same for politics as it is definitely out of my scope. Let’s talk okra now:
- 500 gr okra
- 400 gr tomatoes (3-4 ripe ones, if fresh)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp of malt vinegar
- 100 ml of olive oil
What to do:
Sauté the onions with a bit of water until translucent.
Add-in the okra and sauté them, mixing very lightly.
Put off with 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
Add in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir. After this point you should stop stirring as you risk having your okra desintegrating.
Bring to the boil and let them cook on high heat for 10 minutes.
Cover and let them simmer for approximately 30-35 minutes.
Tip: do not forget – no stirring!
with love from Athens!by