Okra can be a perplexing little vegetable.
Cook it the same way you would most other vegetables, and you’re likely to wind up with a slimy mess.
Frying it (whether in the breaded style of the American South, or the unbreaded, spice-laden style of India’s Bhindi Masala) yields delicious results but can take some serious practice.
Therefore, I present to you … Easiest Ever Okra Etouffee!
Don’t let the name scare you; all it means is “smothered okra.” It’s similar to stewed okra, except chunkier, and spicier, and … well, not as stewed. And it’s super easy. You cannot mess this up.
And even people who think they don’t like okra, love this dish.
Easiest Ever Okra Etouffee Ingredients:
1 pound (more or less) Okra (highly recommend fresh, but frozen will do)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
1 Teaspoon Unrefined Sugar
1/2 – 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning Blend
1 Cup Corn (from frozen or scraped off 1-2 fresh cobs – no need to cook)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
TOMATOES – CHOOSE ONE OPTION:
- 1 Can Chunky Diced Tomatoes, 1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes, and 1 Jalapeno or Serrano Pepper, finely diced (traditional); OR
- 1 Can Chunky Diced Tomatoes, 1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes, and 1 Jalapeno or Serrano Pepper, seeded and finely diced (for those with milder palates); OR
- 1 Can Chunky Diced Tomatoes and 1 Can Ro*Tel Tomatoes with Green Chilis (the way most of my students do it); OR
- 1 Can Chunky Ro*Tel Tomatoes with Green Chilis and 1 Can Original Ro*Tel Tomatoes with Green Chilis (if you like it hot like me!)
Easiest Ever Okra Etouffee Directions:
Prepare the okra. Wash and set aside to dry while you do other things in the kitchen. Once okra is thoroughly dry, slice in about 1/4 inch thick slices. (Slicing wet okra can lead to that classic okra sliminess).
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft.
Add garlic and okra. Cook for another 5 minutes, lifting and turning the okra so it doesn’t get scorched.
Add your choice of tomato combination. Stir.
Add sugar (this will remove acidity from the canned tomatoes), salt, Cajun seasoning blend, and corn. Stir again.
Bring your okra etouffee to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste. Vegetables should be slightly tender-crisp (not mushy). Add more salt and/or Cajun seasoning, if needed. Add a good grind of black pepper.
Serve as a side dish in a bowl, or as a main dish over rice.
- If at all possible, do try this with fresh okra and fresh corn!
- Check your brand of Cajun seasoning; many contain salt! If it does, that’s ok but you will want to watch how much additional salt you add.
- You can’t go wrong by throwing in a diced Roma tomato. I happen to think Ro*Tel Tomatoes taste very fresh, but other brands can definitely taste fresher if you fling a fresh tomato into the mix.
- Some people like to add a stalk or two of celery and some green pepper (bringing it closer to stewed tomatoes). This personally makes it a little too sweet for my taste … but you can’t go wrong with fresh, sweet corn.
- When I mention a “can” of tomatoes, I’m referring to the standard 12 – 14 oz. size can.
- If you make your etouffee on the mild side, it’s traditional to have a bottle of Texas Pete or Tobasco on the table … for those who like it hotter.
I always knew this as North Carolina’s version of gumbo. We never put corn in ours, though. Loved it.
This looks so good! I love all things okra.
I do, too! 🙂
Our fruit and vege shop got some new okra in today – finally. I made this. I just used a mountain of fresh tomatoes as the season has started and they are cheap at the moment. So delicious
Thanks, Debbie! Your comment puzzled me for a moment and then I remembered you are in New Zealand – opposite seasons from here! We’ve had frost here in Charlotte the past few mornings and I’m afraid I’ve seen the last of fresh okra and any really good tomatoes for awhile 😦
We are in late spring (some years more early summer, but not this one). Early tomatoes are in now and the prices started dropping this week. Okra is difficult to find here, but our local vege shop is owned by an Indian family. They have it, but it is not always in great condition. So, when they had a new box I was on it! I love okra – one of the local Indian restaurants has it on their menu. Your recipe is awesome and so easy. Adding the corn really made it.
Cajun spice – do you have any suggestions on what makes a good one. The jar I got at the supermarket (it’s not really easy to find here) had chilli, salt and black pepper. I did get the Jalapenos and I think they really made a difference to the flavour.