Traditional Algerian recipe: Okra

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Algerian Okra, Potato and Tomato Tagine

A tagine is a North African stew made in an earthenware dish that has a conical top. You can make a tagine in other types of heavy casseroles, like enameled cast iron, but its prefered to use earthenware set over a flame tamer.

  • pounds okra, ends trimmed
  • Salt
  • ½cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • pound small boiling potatoes, like fingerlings
  • 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2garlic cloves, minced
  • 1pound tomatoes, seeded and grated; or peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ¼cup minced parsley
  • ¼cup minced cilantro
  • 1teaspoon spice mix (see below)
  • 1teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup water
  • ½preserved lemon, thinly sliced optional
  • Salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1Place the okra in a large bowl. Salt generously, douse with the vinegar, and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour while you prepare the remaining ingredients, tossing from time to time. Drain the okra, and rinse thoroughly. If the potatoes are not very small (no more than 1 inch wide and no more than 2 inches long), quarter them or cut them in half.
  • 2Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy casserole or (preferably) an earthenware pot set over a flame tamer. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, and stir for about half a minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, spice mix, turmeric, saffron and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the dissolved tomato paste, and bring to a simmer.
  • 3Add the potatoes, okra and the preserved lemon. Cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, adding a small amount of water if the mixture seems dry, until the potatoes and okra are tender and the sauce they have cooked in is thick. Taste and adjust seasonings.HEALTHY APPETITE
  • 4Mix all of the spices together. Keep in a jar in a cool place or in the freezer.
  • For the algerian spice mix
    • 2teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ½teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1teaspoon powdered turmeric
    • ½teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ¼teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    • ¼teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seed
    • ¼teaspoon freshly ground cloves
    • ½teaspoon ground allspice

N.Houda Chabane


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