OKRA, BAMIA, LADIES FINGERS, GAMBO, BHINDI

Dear friends:

 As you may know from various articles in my biography, recipes and articles on the web that I immigrated to Canada from a town in Athens, Greece called Kalamaki.

 I am not going to include any stories of different product creations, etc. I will only focus on the okra.

 During my early years things that were very common in Greece were uncommon, hard to find and at times unknown in Canada.

 A few years after my arrival, I opened a small store in Kensington Market in Toronto where I had different nationalities ask me for an assortment of products. 

Back in the early 1970's this little store was the centre of the world for many nationalities seeking food from their homelands.   To further understand this, read my books the Cow Foot Story,   The Mango Tree,   The Coconut Tree, One Caribana Story, among others.

 

Since then, I created over 1,200 of the best products in the world.

 For example, when asked for Okra, I had no idea since in my country it is called bamia, to others ladies fingers and some bhindi.

 It took me a while to realize we were all referring to the Okra.

 I imported a few trays of fresh Okra from the Caribbean and that was the beginning of the introduction of the Okra to Canada.

 From there on, I created different products over the years, for example, Okra in Brine and the Okra in Tomato Sauce.

 At the time these items were very popular since the fresh Okra was not available anywhere and not grown in Canada.

 As of the new millennium, the fresh Okra has become readily available in Oriental supermarkets making it very easy for the consumer to purchase a couple pounds and do their own ethnic cultural creations.

I remember I wrote in one of my books or, maybe one my assistants, Bernadette Scott, wrote in the booklet, Yes, Sir!, that my days are very diversified, even having to make arrangements with the warden in Thailand to have the prisoners released at four a.m. to pick the okra because within the next few hours they would become too large with too many large seeds making them unsuitable for canning.

As you may be aware, I am a perfectionist with all my products.

 I also imported Okra in Tomato Sauce ready to eat in the Can from Bulgaria. 

Unfortunately, I no longer produce this product. 
However, you may hit the jackpot by finding a can on EBay. 

 You may think that I am joking.   Recently I found a copy of my biography, The Immigrant, on sale for $75.00 on EBay. 
The vendor also claimed it was signed by me.

 Within this article, I have incorporated photos of okra fields, the various stages from the flower to the vegetable and the picking process by gypsies in the area.

WOW!  What lovely, original photos.

Here you see the pickers carefully snipping the top of each okra without cutting deep enough to prevent exposing the seeds within each pod.

 

The photos were taken by Sofia Papadimitri who was sent on my behalf to investigate the growing area, the fields, the picking and canning process.

Ms. Papadimitri assisted me in writing the books, 

The Koukla Story

Costa Rica, the World's Best Kept Secret,  

and was in charge of the development of my website, www.FlyerMall.com one the largest flyer advertising sites in the world.

 Back to the Okra. 

 To some people the word okra is foreign and unheard of.  

To others, the Okra is a common food item referred to as OKRA, OCHRO, BAMIA, LADIES FINGERS, GAMBO, BHINDI, and many other names depending on the cultural origin.

 

Sometimes when our appetite calls for a certain food, we make that trip to the grocery store to purchase it.

Should you feel like Okras, you endure the following procedure:

Upon arrival at the grocery store you head for the fresh produce department.

Depending on which day it is, you are faced with either a pile of hard, old-looking, withered Okras without tips, or a wonderful display of young, tender, 2 to 3 inch Okras.

And like each person purchasing Okras, you break the tip to hear the special snap-sound that a fresh Okra makes.

So, until you hear that sound, you continue breaking the tips!

A word of caution.  You may do this in a large supermarket where no one is watching you.  However, be careful, Mr. Chin,  the owner of the Oriental supermarket, if he notices you doing this to his okras, he will probably snap the tip of your fingers. 

How do like that?  Did this make you laugh for a minute.

On the other hand, you may on occasion purchase a few cans of Mr. Goudas Okra in Brine.

They are hand-picked ensuring that only the best, young, tender, unblemished Okras end up on your table

Upon opening the can you will notice all of the above characteristics in addition to the fact that they are almost uniformed in size.

Additionally, none of the tips are broken.

For a moment there, I believe that I motivated you to go pick up a can or two.

Unfortunately, this original recipe was written when this product was readily available in the supermarkets and some individuals purchased a few cases since they last for a long time in the can.

In fact, reading this was last a flash into the past for me,  I felt like I was in a time warp or in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Sometimes I wonder if there is anyone out there who has the patience and the passions to create such products.

Okras have been around for centuries. at least according to Wikipedia.

They were first discovered in Ethiopia, Africa, and later transported to and developed in other regions of the world.

The Okra is an international vegetable, and depending on the dish, you may even be able to pinpoint the area the dish is unique to, e.g. Gumbo - Louisiana, Breaded and Fried Okras - Southern U.S.A., Callallo - Trinidad and Tobago, Bhindi - India., Lady's Fingers - England, Okra in Tomato Sauce -Bamia Greece.

The internet has an endless amount of recipes for the Okra.

Mr. Goudas has a large variety of food items, canned and ready-to-eat, available from your local supermarket or independent food store under the Mr. Goudas label.

Mr. Goudas Okra in Brine was one of these.

 The following recipe is for Okra in Tomato Sauce, mmm!  

I suggest that you become familiar with this recipe and master it since my Okra in Tomato Sauce is no longer available. 

It was too expensive to create and I was unable to market it for its true value.

In reality, the contents of  the Mr. Goudas Okra in Tomato Sauce in the can were of the quality and calibre that could be served at the Royal York Hotel or The Sheraton at a pricey $29.99 plus GST and PST.   Include tips to a total of 40 bucks.

How on earth could I manage with a marketing price of $2.99.

Here are the ingredients and procedures. 

1 kilo (2 pounds) okra
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 chopped onions
1 can of Tomato Puree
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon Mr. Goudas Trinidad Hot Sauce
Salt and pepper

Cut off the top of the okra (avoid cutting too much off because the seeds will fall out).

Wash, drain and place in a bowl.

Sparingly sprinkle with vinegar and wash the okra again - this removes the 'gumminess'.

Fry the onions in olive oil until light brown, add the tomatoes, sugar, parsley, garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper.

Simmer until the tomatoes are dissolved fully.

Add the okra to the mixture, add 1 cup of water, and continue boiling for an additional 30 minutes or until okras are tender and the water has evaporated.

Serve as the main course accompanied with a fresh loaf of bread and cheese.

You see, it is very, very simple and you can have a wonderful meal.

All you need is some patience and the desire.



Provided you follow these instructions, you may end up with the most perfectly blended Okra in Tomato Sauce 

We are certain that you will be very, very, very pleased because Mr. Goudas only brings you the best recipes in the world.

Just a friendly reminder, that I do not market any Okra products any more.

I simply love to impart my knowledge to the new generation.

Spyros Peter Goudas

 OKRA TIPS BY NAVAJOPA

In this video Mrs. Reaganite shows you how to Pickle Okra like her granny used to do it.

 

Cooking Okra The Caribbean Way With Chris De La Rosa

Here's a quick and tasty way to prepare okra or ochro as it's known in the Caribbean.
First we'll create an aromatic base with diced onion, garlic and curry powder, then we'll toss in the okra and give it a quick stir-fry.

In the Caribbean okra is a very popular vegetable, so we're always looking for ways to cook and enhance it's appeal.
This curry okra (okra curry for my Guyanese friends) will be a hit on your dinner table

Stuffed okra (Bharwani bhindi) done home style by celebrity chef Harpal Singh Sokhi

 

 

Please Note: Salt is used as an ingredient in many recipes from all over the world, however, in this website, we have mentioned the ingredient salt, in the following recipes

 

Keywords: | VEGETABLES |