Okra and Tomato Stew with Cilantro

A whole range of simple Lebanese vegetarian dishes, referred to as bi zeit in Arabic, are cooked in and primarily flavored by olive oil. In this version the sautéed cilantro and garlic and the slightly sticky texture of the okra add complexity to the recipe.

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  • Servings: 6

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  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh or thawed frozen okra, patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  • One 28-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the okra and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until bright green and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the okra to a plate with a slotted spoon; discard the oil.

  2. Add the olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cilantro and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a simmer, then cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

  3. Return the okra to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat until the okra is tender and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The okra can be refrigerated overnight.

Contributed By Published March 2004

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