The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Okra Gone Wild

August 10th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Posted in garden, Recipes

Racing to keep up with our okra

Racing to keep up with our okra

It’s that time of year when we are racing to harvest our okra. It grows so fast in the heat and humidity here in the District of Columbia that we have to check our okra plants twice a day. You can practically hear the okra pods getting bigger.

But my purpose here is not to bend readers’ ears again on the subject of how much we love our okra. I’ve said it plenty of times already. I just wanted to update a recipe I recently published: okra and eggplant stew with coconut milk and basil leaves.

I made it again this week with a little twist. Instead of just adding eggplant to the pot as previously described, I first fried the diced eggplant all by itself in coconut oil. The coconut oil was about 1/2-inch deep in a heavy pot over moderately high heat. Some people would remove the water from the eggplant first by salting it and leaving it in a colander to drain for several hours (or overnight). I couldn’t wait. This process takes some patience, and you may need to do it in batches. But I wanted to taste some caramelization in this dish, so I browned the eggplant until golden, then drained it from the pot and continued with the recipe as before. I added the eggplant back to the pot after softening the onions and okra in the oil.

Let me tell you another thing. In the past, I have made this dish with extra-virgin olive oil and it was very good. But using coconut oil takes it to an entirely different level. It’s the difference between great and ambrosial. Even my wife, who’s normally only mildly enthusiastic about okra, loved the coconut version of this okra stew. Coconut oil has the added benefit of being an extremely beneficial saturated fat. It’s full of lauric acid, which is famous for its anti-microbial properties.

Another tip: don’t be afraid to toss lots of fresh basil into the pot. I collected the leaves from two whole stems of basil. They quickly melt down and disappear into the stew, but the flavor punch they deliver is terrific. Truly, this stew perfectly represents our kitchen garden this time of year.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Your comment may have to wait for approval to be published to ensure that we don't accidentally publish "spam". We thank you for understanding.


  • SNB

    We are with you on the okra. We joke that after picking, but before we leave the garden, it is time to start picking again. Will try your recipe.

  • SNB

    Oops. The link for your recipe failed.

  • Sylvie in Rappahannock

    makes me hungry, Ed! I bet Thai basil would make it Ambrosial+.
    (I never degorge my eggplants either – I think that’s leftover practice from older cultivars of eggplants – those that were more bitter than today’s eggplants – at least most of the cultivars grown in the US)