This is one of my 9 year old son’s favorite side dishes to eat with white rice (hey we are from the Caribbean and could eat rice every day); and that is a surprise since he usually, as with many if not most kids, does not necessarily care for vegetables. One day I had in the freezer a bag of frozen okras and I decided to do something with it out of boredom, and this is how this recipe came about. Okra can sometimes have a bland flavor but the combination of smoked sweet paprika, honey and sesame oil takes this dish to new heights, and even more so with a few more drizzles of honey on the entire dish or on individual servings. However, if you are trying to cut your sugar intake and/or dairies, you can skip the sugar, honey, and heavy cream without compromising the main essence of this dish. —Regine
1 hour 10 minutes
bag of frozen cut okras (but if whole, slice each into 3-4 pieces)
14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained (i.e., Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes)
small to medium onions, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
each sugar and table salt (sugar optional)
smoked sweet paprika (I use McCormick Smoked Paprika)
honey plus more to drizzle on finished dish (optional if you want to cut on the sugar)
2/3 to 1 teaspoons
Sriracha sauce (optional)
heavy cream (optional if you want this dairy free or with less calories)
Heat oil over medium heat and add onions, sugar, and paprika. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes. You want the onions soft and golden brown (although it might not be easy to see due to the red color from the smoked paprika); then add the garlic (and Sriracha sauce if using) and stir until garlic is fragrant (maybe 30 seconds). Add the undrained diced tomatoes, okras, and honey. Taste to make sure it's well seasoned since okra can be bland but I think the 1 tsp salt is perfect. Cook covered over lowest heat for 60 minutes, but stir every now and then since you don’t want the bottom to scorch. I find that the okras are more flavorful if "slow cooked" to a soft texture because somehow they get to better absorb the flavors of the other ingredients. Add the sesame oil and heavy cream around the last 15 minutes. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top of dish. But you can choose other toppings like cilantro, basil, or even crumbled crispy bacon, feta, or queso fresco. Drizzle a bit more honey right before serving. You can even use a wood turner honey drizzler and allow guests to drizzle the honey themselves.
I love to serve this with white rice but you can also serve with polenta or grits.