Okra is the green, pointed fruiting pods of a form of hibiscus, also known as Lady’s Fingers, or gumbo, because of its sticky, glutinous, gummy texture when cooked. This texture makes okra an ideal thickener for soups and stews. If cooked in an iron pan, okra will discolour and the pot can foam and boil over if it is not watched. Okra is a healthy vegetable with only 42 calories per 100 grams. Always select young, green and fresh pods and consume them soon after buying, as they do not keep well.


300 g okra, topped, tailed and sliced

50 g dried shrimp paste

200 g shelled shrimps

1 tomato, blanched, skinned and chopped

½ tsp chilli powder

2 tbsp groundnut oil*

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp salt

300 ml water


* The groundnut oil in this recipe may be substituted for lower cholesterol olive oil.


Purée the oil, shrimp paste and half the okra in a blender. Add the purée to a pan along with the water, tomato, chilli powder and the rest of the okra and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the salt and allspice. Simmer for about 6 minutes so that the okra is tender but not glutinous. Check the seasoning and serve immediately.


Serves 4.


country : Gabon

course : soup


source : Laos to Liberia : Nutritious Foods from 200 Lands / Debbie Cook & Andy Gravette