Okra used to be one of my least favorite vegetables. I find it has a brash, metallic taste, and the decidedly slimy texture, which neither cooking or frying will eliminate, is also not generally endearing. But when prepared with just the right combination of spices and other foods, I love it!
To counter the in-your-face character of the green pod, I grounded it with a mix of brown and wild rice – throwing its distinct flavor onto the scale much better than white rice could – and added sweetness from carrots and mushrooms.
For spices, try a combination of more sweet things: tarragon and cinnamon drew some of the acid out of the okra for me 🙂
Ilian wasn’t much into cooking today, but I bet toddlers would find it interesting to see the difference between brown and wild rice grains and to feel the okras’ stickiness.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, to those who are celebrating!
Concentric Okra Risotto
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 5 or 6 medium sized carrots
- 1/2 lb okras
- 1/2 lb mushrooms
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
- a pinch of cinnamon
- 1 1/2 TBsp olive or canola oil
- Place brown and wild rice with 1 tsp salt and 3 cups of water into a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
- In the meantime, slice the mushrooms, slice okras into rounds, and shred carrots.
- Heat 1 TBsp oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add mushrooms with thyme and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 tsp salt, stir for 1 minute. Lift mushrooms out of pan, set aside.
- In a second pan, heat 1/2 TBsp oil over medium heat, add okras with tarragon and cinnamon and fry for 10 minutes, or less, until okras have desired crispness. Add 1/2 tsp salt, stir for 1 minute, set aside.
- In the mushroom pan with leftover liquid, heat up shredded carrots for 2 minutes, until just slightly wilted.
- Plate rice first, add a concentric layer of carrots, add another concentric layer of okras, top with mushrooms. Enjoy!