This is inspired by my mother and her southern roots. Growing up, okra was a favorite in our house. I honestly don’t understand why some people dislike it. I guess it is one of those things that you either love or hate. I absolutely love it, and I think I have converted my husband with this dish. He used to be a hater of okra. Although, I don’t think he wants to give me the satisfaction of admitting his new love.
My mother would fry bacon, saute up some okra with onions and add it to cooked rice, so delicious and total comfort food. Obviously bacon makes everything better, but there is something about the combination of bacon with okra. In the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, he has a recipe for coconut rice with okra cooked in sambal. I was excited to see okra done in a different way than what I am used to. I couldn’t wait to try coconut rice as the base for my mother’s okra and bacon. It’s a wonderful combination of flavors. The coconut milk gives a background of creamy rich flavor.
The bacon is crisped first and the fat is used to saute the onions and okra. Then add basmati rice, coconut milk, and chicken stock. Simmer until the rice is done and serve with sambal oelek. You could totally put a fried egg on top give it a bit more protein.
- 3 slices of thick cut bacon
- 12 ounces okra (fresh or frozen), chopped
- ½ onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1¼ cup basmati rice, rinsed well under cold water
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 1¼ cup chicken broth or water
- sambal oelek, for serving
- Crisp the bacon slices in heavy bottom pan. Remove the bacon. Let it cool and chop.
- Heat the bacon fat over medium heat, add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the okra and saute for about 5-6 minutes or until the okra starts to get caramelized. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Then add rice, salt, ⅔ of bacon, coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and top with the remaining ⅓ of bacon. Serve with sambal oelek.
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