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Texas is a family present and past place for me and when living there I learned to love the deep fried okra offered at most barbecue restaurants.  I was first introduced to okra in a Cajun stew recipe my mother used to make that was one of my childhood favorite dinners, she bought the canned variety (typical mush canned vegetable).

mediterranean style okra while cooking

In the Mediterranean okra (here known as Bamya) is a staple veggie just like in Texas. My style of making it is like the traditional here and far lower in calories than the Texas deep fried, I love this funny vegetable which is only about 18 calories per half cup, also a great source of fiber.  In cooking, its natural sliminess adds to this recipe’s liquidity, my take is a little bit more Italian in flavor than the middle eastern version

2 cups fresh okra tops cut off and sliced in about one inch slices.

1 cup water

1 minced garlic clove

1 1/2 tsp. of each dried oregano and basil

1 tbsp. sweet paprika

100 grams tomato paste or small can

1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Olive Oil

salt and pepper to taste

Cut up fresh okra in 1 inch pieces, remove the heads and stems.  Fry garlic in olive oil until it starts to brown slightly.  Add dried oregano and basil and paprika for a few seconds to bring out flavor of spices but not burn.  Add tomato paste and water and whisk. Let the tomato sauce simmer for a bit and add fresh okra. Continue to simmer, sauce should reduce down while fluid from the okra will add density to the sauce.  Cook until okra is soft.

paprika mounds in shuk spice store