What’s interesting about this recipe isn’t necessarily the use of okra (I’ll get to that shortly) but the technique. The rice is cooked uncovered for ten minutes in a pot of water and then transfered to a steamer basket for an additional seven minutes. I suppose this is the poor man’s version of a rice steamer, but I’d never done it before. It’s a little more involved than the ordinary pot of rice. Luckily, it produces fluffy, slightly toothsome rice that’s really delicious.
I picked this recipe not because of the technique, though. I found it in Beyond Gumbo and was interested solely in the okra. I hadn’t cooked with it in a while, and wanted to see what the drippy insides of the vegetable would do to the rice. Sure enough, halfway through the okra gave off its fabulous goo, giving the water a snot-like consistency. Unfortunately, the rice doesn’t hold on to as much of the flavor as I’d like. Next time I’d probably add even more okra, and hold off on the scallions, parsley, and habanero until the end. Their flavors felt a little muted after the boil and steam—I think they’d pack a bigger punch raw. It’s still a nice alternative to white rice, though.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 pound fresh okra, bottom and top removed, and cut into rounds
- 3 scallions, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon habanero chile, minced
- 2 1/3 cups long-grain rice
- 1 quart water
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, pour the oil in and turn the heat to medium. Toss in the okra and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Pour in the water, and then add the scallions, parsley, thyme, garlic, and habanero. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Turn the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain the mixture in a colander. Transfer to a steamer basket or bamboo steamer and then set on top of the boiling pot of water. Cover and let steam for 7 minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork, adjust seasonings, and serve.