Sunday, July 15, 2012

Surinamese Okra Salad Recipe

Okra- you either love it or you hate it. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I fall into the "love it" camp, after seeing just how many strange and different foods I am willing to eat. In fact, I don't think I can name even one food which falls into the "hate it" camp for me.

I recently learned a lesson about okra. If someone hates okra, there is nothing you can do to stop them sharing just how much they hate it when they hear you plan on serving it. Okra haters often can't even understand that the exact same trait, the sliminess, the interesting texture, that makes them hate it is exactly what we okra lovers can't get enough of!

Growing up, my mom would make okra in a tomato sauce with onions and garlic, and while that is plenty delicious, when I picked up okra from the farmers' market recently, I wanted to try making it a different way, and not just fried okra as is customary in the American South.

Many friends gave me all sorts of ideas, but the one I decided to go with was the recipe I got from my friend Michelle. Her family hails from Suriname, and she has a whole trove of recipes from her family's homeland, including Surinamese okra salad. To be honest, when I first heard her family was from Suriname, I had no clue where it was! Wikipedia'ing helped me learn that Suriname is in South America, near Guyana and Brazil.

This recipe is very simple to make, contains very few ingredients, and is made with no salt, so good for those on a restricted salt diet. I made a few tweaks to Michelle's family's recipe to make it healthier and just because I felt like it, so I can't tell you if its an authentic Surinamese recipe now, but it sure is close.
I was really glad that I made this recipe- my kids gobbled it up, and asked for more. I'll certainly be making this again.

Surinamese Okra Salad Recipe

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion
2 1/2 cups okra
2 tablespoons jaggery, sucanat, honey, brown sugar, or white sugar
4 tablespoons vinegar, either apple cider vinegar, kombucha vinegar, rice vinegar, or white vinegar
6 tablespoons water


1. Chop up your onion.

2. Heat up oil in a pot/pan, then add the onion. Saute until translucent.

3. Add washed and cleaned okra, with the tough end cut off.

4. Cook covered, on a low flame, stirring occasionally. The okra will become a vibrant green, and then become a more olive color and soften. At this point, turn off the flame.

5. Mix the vinegar, sweetener, and water. If using jaggery (I did, it was delicious that way), heat up the jaggery with the vinegar and water to dissolve it.

6. Pour over the onions and okra, and let marinate in the refrigerator. After an hour, mix it, so that the parts that were uncovered by the vinaigrette are now covered, and the parts that were covered are now uncovered. Let marinate at least one more hour.

Serve chilled.

Are you in the okra loving or okra hating camp? If you're in the okra loving camp, what is your favorite way to make okra?
Did you know details about Suriname, or did you also have to wikipedia it for more info?
Does this seem like a recipe you'd try out?
Ever cook with jaggery before? Its my new favorite sweetener!


  1. I have never cooked okra. I know I ate it once, at a friend's, and I remember that it was good. I don't know about eating it cold, though. I did pin the recipe.
    I have heard of Suriname and probably would have guessed it was in South America. Don't know anything about it, not even how to pronounce it.

  2. Can you please post the tweaks you made? I'm just curious what the original recipe had. Thanks!


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