Okra Time with Texas Caruru
Okra and chile peppers are the last things left in a Texas garden at the end of the summer. Here’s a recipe that calls for lots of both--along with some Texas shrimp and peanuts.
This is one of my favorite okra recipes. It is a simplified version of a traditional Brazilian okra stew made with okra, red palm oil and dried shrimp. Caruru is made on the festival of the twin spirits in the Condomble religion and it is considered an aid to fertility. The Brazilian version is made with chopped okra and it comes out very slimy--hence the fertility symbolism. Personally, I like my okra without the slime. And if you don’t cut it, there isn’t any.
3 cloves garlic 1 tablespoon olive oil (or red palm oil) Pound and a half whole okra (small pods preferred) Pound of tomatoes (or a #10 can crushed tomatoes) Half cup roasted Hatch chiles, skins and seeds removed 2 tablespoons peanut butter Salt to taste Pound of Texas brown shrimp
Mince and brown three cloves garlic in the oil over medium heat. Rinse the okra, drain and allow to dry. Toss the okra in the hot oil until coated. Add the tomatoes, chopped roasted chiles, (or substitute chile paste or crushed red peppers). Stir in 2 tablespoons peanut butter and salt. Simmer 20 minutes or until okra are tender. Add the shrimp, stir and cook until the shrimp start to curl, about five minutes. Season to taste. Serve over rice. -- Robb Walsh
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