Stewed okra in tomato sauce or okra casserole is one of my favorite traditional Greek foods, eaten mostly during spring and summer, when local okra production reaches a pick. To make okra casserole, okra are cooked in tomato sauce until tender and then they are baked, to get a thicker sauce and develop an extra delicious, umami taste (thanks to the tomatoes).
In this recipe I use okra together with fresh, local tomatoes as well as marinated tofu, in order to create an authentic vegan Mediterranean taste. The addition of some Indian spices such as spicy curry powder, make this simple vegetable dish unbeatable! We usually enjoy it together with fresh homemade or store-bought, whole wheat bread, but it can be served with rice as well.
- 1 kilogram of fresh or frozen okra
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3-4 medium tomatoes, grated
- 1 package (400 g) tomato passata
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped + 1 handful to sprinkle
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup red wine
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tsp spice curry powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt and freshly ground pepper
For the marinated tofu
- 300 g of hard tofu cut into about 5 slices of 2 cm thick
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- juice of 1 lemon
- freshly ground pepper
1. Marinate the tofu: In a bowl put the tofu. Mix the marinade ingredients and pour the tofu slices. Cover and let sit for at least 1-2 hours.
2.Prepare the okra: If you have fresh okra, wash them, remove the stalk and cut off the “hat”. Put them on a dish and let them sunbathe for 3-4 hours to wither. If you don’t live in a sunny area, put them in the dehydrator or in the oven at 50 oC for 5-6 hours. If you use frozen okra, use them as they are.
3. In a large saucepan, add the olive oil and saute the onion 1-2 minutes until it becomes translucent. Add the okra and stir for a few more minutes. Add the wine, the vinegar and the remaining ingredients and mix. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes or until the okra is tender.
4. Transfer the okra with the tomato sauce into a baking pan and lay the tofu slices on top (without the marinade). Garnish with a handful of parsley and bake for half an hour at 225 oC or until the sauce gets a nice deep red color and thickens. Serve hot with a piece of marinated tofu and a few drops of lemon juice.