Rice with okra

This easy main course from Mum’s original book is well worth a try.

Originally from Africa, okra is now widely used in Caribbean, Creole and Indian food as well as Middle Eastern. It’s also known as bhindi or lady’s fingers, in reference to the long tapering shape.

The fuzzy pod contains rows of edible seeds that release a sticky liquid when chopped and cooked, which is why it’s sometimes used to thicken soups and stews.

For the okra

1lb minced beef

1 lb small, tender okra (large ones can be tough)

1 clove minced garlic

1 large onion, chopped

1 can tinned tomatoes

1 cup tomato juice

½ cup water

1 bunch chopped coriander

For the rice

2 tbs vermicelli

1 cup rice

1.5 cups water

1. Rinse okra and cut the tops gently in a spiral movement without exposing the inside of the vegetable.

2. Fry in a little light oil and remove from oil. Leave to drain on kitchen roll.

3. Fry the minced meat, add the chopped onion and fry for a few minutes.

4. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato juice and water. Bring to the boil. Add the okra and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.

5. Add chopped coriander and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Season and turn off heat.

6. Fry vermicelli in a little butter. Stir continuously to prevent the pasta burning and get an even browning. You need to fry the pasta till dark brown. Add rice and continue to fry for a minute or two. Add 1.5 cups water and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Serve separately with the meat and okra.