In much of West-Africa, gombo means okra. That’s the origin of the New Orleans term for the dishes that use okra pods for thickening. The ubiquitous okra pod appears in this sauce from Benin as both vegetable and thickener, as is typical of many of the continent’s okra dishes. This sauce can be served over a starch in the African manner, as a vegetarian main dish, or as an accompanying vegetable in New World style.


1 pound fresh okra

cup water

1 teaspoon salt

2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped coarse

teaspoon dried red chile


Prepare the okra by washing it, removing the tops and tails, and slicing it into rounds. Then place the okra in a saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer the sauce for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the okra is tender. Serve the sauce hot in side dishes or in a decorated African calabash.


Serves 4 - 6.


country : Benin

course : vegetable dish


source : Iron Pots & Wooden Spoons : Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking / Jessica B. Harris