Classic summertime smothered okra with shrimp recipe that can also be enjoyed year-round. A thick and deliciously bold southern-style dish that’s filled with that’s your ticket to an unforgettable meal.
This versatile ingredient (okra) is not just for jambalaya or gumbo.
What Is Okra?
Known as okro in parts of Africa and ladies’ fingers in many English-speaking countries, Okra is a seeded vegetable that’s used to also thicken sauces. Although it is a fruit, it is treated as a vegetable.
It is from the mallow family, and it is used in any West African cuisines, Southeast Asian cuisine, and Caribbean cuisines. Its true place of origin is not specified; however, all can agree that this green lengthy color vegetable /fruit in color serves many purposes.
Okra contains 90 percent water and 2 percent protein. It also has very few carbs; about 7 percent to be exact. However, it is also filled with vitamin C and K. Okra also has mucilage, which serves as a natural thickener to many soups and stews.
Okra contains lectin, which is helpful in preventing and treating cancer. Moreover, okra lowers the risk of neural tube defects among pregnant women by supplying them with folate.
Almost all parts of the okra plant are used medicinally. Medicinal uses for okra include seeds, peels, and water. Powdered seeds, peels, and water are among the most well-known.
As well as aiding weight loss, okra suppresses your appetite and makes you feel fuller faster.
Furthermore, since okra has a natural calming effect, it can also enhance sleep quality, enabling you to fall asleep faster and sleep longer. Adding okra to your diet is a great way to stay healthy and fit.
Ingredients Used In This Smothered Okra
The full recipe with the exact measurements is listed in the recipe card below. For now, here’s a quick guide to the key ingredients that are added to this dish.
Fresh Okra – For this recipe, you can use fresh or frozen okra. However, frozen okra contains more water which can dilute the sauce. If using frozen okra, allow the okra to thaw out completely and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible before starting to prepare the dish.
Fresh Shrimp (Raw) – Using raw shrimp allows you to have complete control of your desired texture. Best to use large or jumbo shrimp when making this dish. Be sure to peel and devein your shrimp.
Roma tomatoes, herbs, garlic, and celery – These ingredients will add a subtle “earthy” flavor to the dish, which works well with the Cajun seasoning.
Cajun seasoning and other spices – Are used to flavor the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When smothering okra, be sure to use a heavy saucepan or a large cast iron skillet. Cook the okra and the other ingredients over medium-low heat for no less than 45 minutes until you have reached your desired consistency.
Cook the okra in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet, and add the remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally and cook until the vegetables are soft and have reduced in size.
To keep your okra from being slimy, do not cut the okra into pieces. Allow the okra to cook whole so that the mucus does not extract itself out of the vegetable/fruit while cooking.
You can also soak the okra in vinegar for about 30 minutes and rinse it out before cooking.
Third, you can also cook the okra for no more than 30 minutes to reduce the risk of the mucus sipping out.
Yes, it is best that you cut off the top of the okra prior to cooking it as it will make the overall experience more enjoyable.
Cooking the okra for 30 minutes or less will help cut the sliminess of the okra.
Adding vinegar while the okra is cooking will also help reduce the sliminess of the okra as well.
Smothered Okra With Tomatoes Recipe Variations
This recipe is amazing with shiitake mushroom caps due to their hearty and chewy texture.
In addition to onions, you can also add scallions for an extra onion kick.
Consider adding Bok Choy for added vegetables.
Instead of broth, you can use water or vice-versa. If using broth, be sure to use Low sodium broth.
How To Store Your Smothered Okra with Shrimp
Any leftover smothered okra can be stored in an airtight container. You can store leftover the leftover dish in the refrigerator for over three days.
More Okra Recipes to Try
After trying this smothered okra with shrimp recipe, we recommend you try these recipes next.
- Keep cooking the okra whole to reduce the sliminess. Do not smash the okra so that it does not release mucus while cooking.
- Cook the dish on medium-to-medium low heat for even cooking.
- Caramelize the shrimp first, then add it towards the last 5 minutes of the cooking time to avoid over-cooking the shrimp.
- To enhance the flavor of your dish, consider adding cayenne pepper or pepper flakes to the smothered okra.
- Be sure to taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- If you would like to make this dish vegetarian or vegan, simply omit the shrimp.
- When making this dish, it’s best to use fresh ingredients as much as possible to enhance the flavor of the dish.
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Smothered Okra With Shrimp
- Large Saucepan
- 1 Lb. Fresh-Cut Okra; slice into desired pieces
- 5 Vine Tomatoes or Roma Tomatoes; 2 Extra Large tomatoes will also work
- 2 Lbs. Colossal Raw Shrimp; peeled and deveined
- 1 Tbsp. Garlic Paste; or 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- ½ Cup Roughly Chopped Onions
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- ½ tsp. Course Black Pepper
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 2 Tbsp. Cajun Seasoning
- 2 Cups Water; or broth
- 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp. Cumin
- 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes; optional
- 1 tsp. Dried Basil
- 1 tsp. Dried Parsley
- 3 Bay Leaves
- Start by preparing your ingredients: slice the okra into bite-size pieces, then wash, drain, and set it aside. Cut the tomatoes. Peel, devein, and wash the shrimp. Prepare the garlic paste or mince garlic cloves. Roughly chop the onions. Prepare and lightly cook the shrimp: Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Then, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the shrimp when the oil is heated through. Cook the shrimp for about 6 minutes total or until just lightly pink in color. Next, remove the shrimp from the heat and set it aside.
- Prepare the smothered okra: In the same saucepan, add the okra and onions. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Next, add the tomatoes and mix well. Then add the tomato paste, Cajun Seasoning, garlic, ground ginger, cumin, red pepper flakes, basil, parsley, and water. Stir to combine. Then add the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Add the shrimp and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with rice.