Little known in Australia, okra is slender green seed pod and a mainstay of many cuisines. In America's Deep South, okra is typically breaded and deep-fried, which seems like a lot of work – not to mention cholesterol – for a simple vege dish, so we've decided to mess with the classic.
Dusted with spices and roasted in a hot oven, these okra chips will likely become your new favourite (vegetable) thing.
- 200 g okra, halved lengthways
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ tbsp Cajun seasoning
- 2 cobs corn, kernels removed
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1½ tbsp tomato paste
- 90 g cracked freekeh (see Note)
- 330 ml (1⅓ cups) vegetable stock or water
- salt and black pepper
- 250 g frozen broad beans
- 2 tbsp chopped chives, plus extra to serve
- 60 g feta cheese, crumbled
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Combine the okra, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss until well coated. Spread on an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20–25 minutes until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the corn, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7–8 minutes until the vegetables soften. Add the tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the stock, add the freekeh and season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 14–16 minutes until the freekeh is tender.
Meanwhile cook the broad beans in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water then slip the beans from the outer pods. When the freekeh is cooked stir through the broad beans and chives and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Divide the freekeh between bowls, arrange the okra on top and crumble over the feta. Scatter with extra chives.
• Cracked freekeh is a roasted young wheat grain available in the health food section of supermarkets and from health food stores.
Photography by Benito Martin. Food styling by Alice Storey. Prop styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgina Larby.
Davis and Wadell bistro pasta bowls, both from The Chef and the Cook.