In my family, it was always, but always my mother who cooked. We, the kids, were all supposed study and make our homework and do not interfere with her work in her kitchen. This is why I didn’t know how to cook anything at all for a long time.
We were never a vegetarian family but vegetables still had an important part in our family diet. I always loved the wonderful onion smell that came from the kitchen whenever she was cooking. And now that smell of onion that I use in a vegetable dish reminds me of her kitchen and of my childhood…
An important rule she had in her kitchen was never to mix any meat with vegetable dishes. Today I don’t mix them up myself much. However, a few years back, my roommate’s mother back then once cooked okra with chicken and I literally I fell in love with it. She used the “legs” of chicken but I prefer using my favorite part of the chicken: the breast.
Okra itself is not the favorite vegetable of many people, for example in my family it has always been me and my mother who liked eating it. If not properly cut or if not properly cooked, it might create a mucus-like feeling and of course it’s not so pleasant to eat. But if you are careful while cutting and cooking, then its rather sour taste is perfect! So here is the recipe then!
1 jar (550 gr) of canned okra (I could only find okra in the Turkish “Alanya Market” in Itäkeskus – either the Finns don’t know it or they just don’t want to eat it! The brand I used is named “Gülcan”)
1 package (3 fillets) of chicken breast
1 can (70 gr.) of tomato puree
1 sugar cube
1. Take the okra out of the jar on a strainer, wash them under cold water. Let them rest aside for a while, as you are preparing other things.
2. Peel the outer layer of the onion and then cut it into pieces of little cubes or any other little pieces you like.
3. Put the onion pieces in a pan, pour a little olive oil and mix them with the oil until they look quite soft and colored. Add half can of tomato puree and a little salt. Do NOT add too much salt because the canned okra already tastes quite salty itself. Mix them together for about 5 minutes in mild heat. Then add the okra and put 1 glass of warm water. Mix it only a few times without damaging the okra pieces, and then leave it to be cooked, still in mild heat, for about 10 minutes. You should check it quite often. If you see that the water is vaporized and the okra is about to fry, you should add at least half a glass of warm water.
4. As you leave okra to cook, put 1 sugar cube on top. We always put sugar in vegetable dishes made with olive oil.
5. The okra, being canned already, would cook quite fast. So your reference point for the dish could be the onions – they should not be hard in texture to eat.
6. As the okra plus onions are cooking, prepare the chicken. Slice the chicken in small pieces. Of course if you want, you can cut them in longer pieces or in any shape / size you like. Put the chicken in another pan, add some olive oil and the other half of the tomato puree and cook it in mild heat. Mix the chicken pieces often to avoid them sticking in the pan and burn.
7. When the chicken is all cooked, add it to the okra and mix them in soft moves. Cook them altogether for a few more minutes just to have their tastes slowly mix with each other. Finally take it out of the stove.
The best way to eat this dish is when it is cold. So wait for it to cool down in room temperature first, and then put it in a service plate and then in the fridge. After 1-2 hours in the fridge, it gets to have the perfect taste. So for example if you want to eat this dish for dinner, then just prepare it early in the day and put it in the fridge. But don’t reheat it after you take it out, just eat it cold!!