Okra and Orzo Rice go so well together. Some time ago, we made Orzo Pasta Rice, a version of Vermicelli Rice, and the mixture of the two (rice with either orzo pasta or vermicelli) is utterly delicious. Today, we are pairing it with some simply cooked but oh so delicious okra, cooked on the stove top.
The okra, with Middle Eastern Flavours, is cooked with tamarind, dried apricots, prunes and spices, for that special Middle Eastern sweet-sour taste.
Bamia b’Mishmosh | Okra in Tamarind Sauce with Apricots and Prunes
500 g fresh small okra, stems or trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons tamarind pulp, from soaking and straining block tamarind, or use 0.5 tspn tamarind concentrate
1 cup water
0.25 tspn allspice
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tblspn lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened apricots
1/2 cup pitted, unsweetened prunes
3 cups vermicelli rice – use this recipe and see notes about replacing orzo with vermicelli
Rinse the okra carefully, and carefully dry each one individually. Trim the top and tail without cutting into the seed cavity.
In a medium sauce pan, gently saute the okra in the olive oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring gently once or twice only.
Add the garlic and saute until the okra is lightly browned, again, minimising the stirring – shake the pan occasionally.
Add the tomato paste followed by the tamarind paste and mix gently. Add the water, lemon juice, salt and allspice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 – 6 minutes.
Now add the apricots, prunes, cinnamon and cloves, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until the okra is tender but not mushy. The sauce will be like a glaze. Add small amounts of water to the pan during cooking if the okra begins to stick.
While the okra is cooking, prepare the rice.
Serve with the Vermicelli Rice. It can be served hot, room temperature or chilled.