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Called “bamies latheres me domata” in Greek, which means oil-braised okra with tomatoes, it’s most often prepared as a summer vegetarian dish that I adore but rarely ever eat here in France; but since I’m heading to Montreal soon to see my family, I hope I can prepare this stew with my mom !

Okra, also called gumbo or bhindi or lady’s fingers is a bizarre vegetable, with its origins in western Africa and southeastern Asia, but made its way across the oceans and seas to southern Europe and the Americas.

Its long pods enclose little soft seeds that are encased in a gelatin like goo and when overcooked, split open and look like little green octopi. Yes, it’s true.

The gelatin substance and the opening-up of the pods can be countered by either using frozen okra or soaking fresh and trimmed okra in water, salt and vinegar, before cooking.

The preparation is quite simple and almost identical to making green string beans in tomato sauce (see recipe here), with or without meat and/or potatoes, but I prefer okras with a broth-flavored rice because I appreciate the contrast of the flavors and textures.

Try some OKRA this summer, it’s surprising ! … :)

stewed okra in tomato sauce


4 servings x 250 grams each


  • 650 grams okra (fresh or frozen), stems, trimmed
  • 120 ml (½ cup) white vinegar
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) sea salt
  • 1,25 liters (5 cups) water
  • 150 grams (1 cup) yellow onion, big slices
  • 10 grams (½ tbsp) garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 125 grams (1 cup) cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) sea salt
  • 2 grams (½ tsp) ground peppercorns, black or mixed
  • 1 gram (1 whole) bay leaf
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) white wine
  • 120 ml (½ cup) vegetable broth
  • 400 grams (1 ¾ cups) crushed tomatoes
  • 5 grams (2 tbsp) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (or a mix of fresh aromatic herbs)


  • if using fresh okra, wash, trim off a small piece of the stem, then soak in a dish with the ½ cup of white vinegar, 2 tsp of salt and 5-6 cups of water for 45-60 minutes, then strain and set aside
  • if using frozen okra that is already trimmed, simply defrost with no pre-soaking necessary and set aside (but add an additional 1-2 tsp of salt to the stew later)
  • preheat the oven to 210°C and prepare a baking dish covered with a large sheet of baking paper
  • toss the okra, sliced onions, sliced garlic, cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper and bay leaf with the olive oil and transfer to the baking dish and roast for 25-30 minutes
  • *note : to make the preparation heartier, you can also add 2 cups of baby potatoes sliced in half and roast them with the other vegetables …
  • transfer the roasted vegetables to a large pot, add the white wine and cook at high heat until evaporated, then add the stock and crushed tomatoes, extra salt and parsley leaves and bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and let simmer for 45-60 minutes until tender, then simmer for an additional 15 minutes without a cover (add some water if necessary or if too dry) until ready, add more parsley leaves and if you like a sprinkling of fresh oregano leaves too, add those too (I already include some oregano in my homemade vegetable broth so it’s already in there)
  • serve warm as a main dish with rice or potatoes or as a side dish
  • *note : I like to serve the dish without potatoes and I replace the potatoes with 1 cup of dry rice that is quickly fried and then cooked in vegetable broth …