Okra braised with fresh tomatoes ‘bamia kon tomat’
Freshly picked from my garden in Zimbabwe, young okra, otherwise known as ‘ladies’ fingers’, slowly braised in a fresh tomato, onion and garlic sauce makes a succulent melt-in-your-mouth summer Mediterranean vegan dish. Early summer is usually the okra season and fresh tender okra is best found at your local farmers’ market. I have discovered that when these are not available I use frozen okra, usually available at Middle Eastern delicatessens, which are transformed into a quick and easy meal. Okra is low in calories, high in fibre, and a good source of vitamins and minerals. The Sephardim from Rhodes Island like to serve ‘Bamia’ as an accompaniment to grilled foods with a delicious rice pilaf or as part of a meze selection. The initial preparation of fresh okra may seem a little complicated and time consuming. I like to prepare a large quantity when they are in season and freeze them ready to cook when needed.