This is one of the most addictive dishes that I know of. It also appears to be a miracle cure for the common cold and a great relief if you have the flu. It is, however, absolutely vital that you use good olive oil when you're cooking it; cheap oil or any oil other than olive oil will totally ruin the taste and/or upset your stomach. Serves two to three, as usual.
- ½ cup (125 ml) good olive oil
- 350 g boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 300 g fresh okra
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 400 g tomatoes, skinned and chopped (or a can of polpa)
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt, pepper
Do not use canned okra. They have a very different taste and will disintegrate if used with this recipe.
Remove the tips and caps from the okra. If they are too large, cut them in half. Put in a bowl, add the lemon juice and fill the bowl with water until the okra are covered. Ideally, let the okra soak for about two to three hours. As a minimum, lert them soak for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan, but don't let it get too hot or it'll lose its taste. Add the chopped onion and chicken pieces and fry until meat and onions have a brownish tint. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, stir well, then reduce heat, cover with a lid and let everything simmer over low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the chicken from the sauce and put it aside. Drain the okra and put them into the sauce. Cover and let simmer over low heat for about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then add in the chicken pieces, let boil very briefly just to make sure the chicken is warm; then serve immediately, preferably with rice.
The idea behind cooking chicken and okra separately is that the okra and tomatoes get a fruity, slightly lemony taste, whereas the chicken does not. This contrast is essential, and you should not spoil it by cooking okra and chicken together.
Update: At the request of a reader, here is some more information about okra:   .