Okra and Tomatoes

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a side dish with fried chicken

Appears in

A Canon of Vegetables

A Canon of Vegetables

By Raymond Sokolov

Published 2007

  • About

Whoever combined tomatoes and okra first was a fusion chef avant la lettre. Okra, a gift from Africa to the rest of the world, came westward across the Atlantic as an unintended consequence of the slave trade—and met the tomato on its native ground. It must actually have occurred to cook after cook that the acidity of the tomato would be a nice match for the mildly astringent and otherwise unassertive okra. Today, it is a classic combination, toned up with onions. The tomato disguises the sliminess of the okra.


  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 pounds okra, topped and tailed
  • pounds canned Italian tomatoes
  • 1 dried red chile, seeded and crumbled, or cayenne
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet until a sliver of garlic tossed in it sizzles. Lower the heat to medium. Add the garlic and cook until it starts to brown. Then add the onions and cook until the pieces are translucent.
  2. Add the okra, the tomatoes and any liquid from the can, the crumbled chile or cayenne to taste, the salt and the pepper.
  3. Stir the mixture together gently, leaving the tomatoes intact. When the okra has softened just enough to chew easily, remove the skillet from the heat and serve. Or cool and refrigerate until you are ready to serve it. It will reheat nicely, but be careful not to overcook the okra in the process.