Beef and Okra Stew with Peanut Butter.

This recipe is adapted from an old cooking magazine I have, but I made it with a few changes. I chopped the okra instead of using it whole and also added in many more vegetables than the original recipe called for, as well as peanut butter.

It’s easy to make, colourful and flavorful. It takes time though, as you let the different vegetables cook slow and release their individual sweetness and distinct flavor to meld into a thick, rich, hearty stew that sticks to the bones.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 500 g stewing beef. Rub it with a little bit of ground mixed spice. (The blend I had had some cinnamon, clove, and cardamom).
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil.
  • 2 chopped onions.
  • 1 tbsp paste of grated ginger and grated turmeric and smashed with garlic.
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds.
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped.
  • Chopped bell peppers (I used green, yellow and red).
  • 1 handful of fresh okra, chopped.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste.
  • 1 tsp each of paprika, mixed herbs
  • 1 tomato, 1 carrot, I small courgette, all chopped.
  • 1 tbsp chopped dry fruit (I used raisins and apricots).
  • 1 lemon.
  • 1 small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks separated and chopped.
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter, mixed into a 1/2 cup of water to dissolve.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pinch of sugar.

Method.

Clean and chop all your vegetables.

Toast the coriander seeds in a dry pan then crush roughly, ensure they do not burn. Set aside.

Heat oil in your pan. Once hot add the beef and brown it on high heat. Do not let it cook through though, or crowd the pan. Just brown then remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add the onions, ground coriander seeds and celery. Once onions are translucent, add the ginger garlic and turmeric paste and mix well.

Follow in with the coriander stalks, paprika and mixed herbs, let cook fast without burning, then add the tomato paste and tomatoes. I like adding some salt and pepper at this point then lower heat to let the tomatoes cook into a mush.

The aroma of the dish at this point will have your tummy rumbling.

After the tomatoes cook down, add the carrots and let them cook a while, before adding the courgettes. Once they both cook a little while, in go the bell peppers. This whole process takes a while as you want each added vegetable to be able to release its own flavour into the sauce. Do not rush it.

The vegetables will also release their water into the sauce; hence the need to keep the heat on medium low.

Once the vegetables are soft, add the beef, okra, and your dried fruits. If its too dry, you can add a cup or two of water or stock. Cover and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes.

The stew will be thick and low, so add your mix of peanut butter at this point, as well as your pinch of sugar.
Check seasoning, stir well and cover and let simmer for about another half hour on low heat.

The sauce will thicken as well as the beef, as all the ingredients also absorb the yummy and rich peanut flavour.

Once ready, squeeze some lemon juice onto the stew and as always, garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.

Look at how rich, creamy, thick and colourful that sauce is. Yum!

This is a very filling meal. The perfect comfort food if you ask me.

It is so delicious. Good enough on its own or with some rice on the side. Either way, it is a perfect meal.

Meatless Monday: Okra in Cashew- Vinegar Sauce.

Okra is one of those vegetables I do not have a relationship with. This was my first time making it. Before this, I think I have had okra maybe once or twice before and that was in my college years.

Okra aka lady fingers. Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

It is readily available here in Kampala and quite cheap, so I decided to give it a try. Okra, also known as lady fingers are believed to have originated in Ethiopia; which I find interesting as it is mostly found in West African cuisine.

According to http://www.heathline.com, okra is rich in nutrients, low in calories, has anti oxidative properties, and may lower risk of heart disease among other benefits.

I decided to use a recipe from Raghavan Iyer’s “660 Curries” cookbook. This is one of my favorite cookbooks because of the variety of vegetable, rice and especially legume dishes, and his explanations on different spice mixes in an easy to understand way. My love for Indian cuisine in all its variety knows no bounds.

I have had this book for about three years now. I love Indian cuisine and have learnt so much about spices, curries and what blends well together when making different dishes.

Raghavan’s Okra in Cashew Vinegar sauce is an easy to make recipe that results in a tasty dish without the sliminess that makes many fear cooking okra. Let’s get started:-

Ingredients are okra, rinsed and dried, 4 tbsp vegetable oil, 1/4 cup of raw cashew nuts, 1 small red onion, chopped, 4 cloves garlic, 2 lengthwise slices of ginger, 1/4 tsp ground turmeric, 1/4 cup of Malt vinegar ( I substituted with apple cider vinegar), 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tomato, cored and chopped, 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped. I did not add the chilli peppers because of the kids.
Trim the ends and slice the okra into half an inch thick rounds. Add half the oil in a pan and stir fry the okra for 12-15 minutes till it gets a bit blistered.

As the okra fries, crush the cashew nuts, onion, ginger and garlic until they are minced. You can use a food processor for this, I did it manually, obviously …

In the same pan you have fried the okra in, add the remaining oil and add the onion cashew mixture. Stir fry for 5 minutes then add the turmeric.

Next, add a 1/2 cup of water, the vinegar, salt and the fried okra. Stir then cover. Reduce heat and let it braise till fork tender, about 10 minutes.

I added a pinch of paprika.

After 10 minutes, add the tomato and dhania. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes till the tomato is a bit soft but still firm then serve.

It was an interesting recipe to make and the okra was not at all slimy. The high heat when stir frying helps avoid that.

I had it with simple steamed basmati rice.

It is also quite colourful, which I love.

This is another dish that fits my bill. It is easy to make, tasty, healthy, colourful and filling.

The flavours are very interesting and I liked how the okra was not too tender; it was just right with a nice tanginess that balances well with the rice. I will definitely be making okra a bit more often now.

Definitely worth a try!