Allspice! That is the secret. I’ve been making this for some time and never managed to match the flavours of the same dish served up by the wonderful Ya Hala in London Street just near Paddington Station. if you are ever in the area stop off for a veggie mixed mezze and a portion of grilled halloumi, finished with a sprinkling of za’atar. Now, thanks to DKS and Veggiestan I realise it’s the allspice that does it.
Serve this with rice and yogurt
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion – chopped
1 clove garlic – finely sliced
a good few handfuls of okra
4-5 ripe tomatoes – chopped
1 small carton passata – or tomato puree and water
1 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry until translucent and starting to soften. Then add the garlic. Now for the okra. Keep the okra whole. If using large ones just slice off the very top of the stem. Don’t cut into the okra as this may release the slime which puts so many people off the wonderful vegetable. Wash and dry well before adding to the onion and garlic in the pan.
Stir for a couple of minutes then add the tomatoes, passata, allspice, salt and pepper. Stir gently, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes until the okra is tender and the tomatoes have broken down.