Baked okra with tomato, ginger and mustard seeds

Baked okra with tomato, ginger and mustard seeds

Real Food by Mike
Alan Benson

Okra is super seasonal and can always be replaced with green beans. When I cook okra I always roast it first before folding it into a sauce, in order to keep it crisp. If you cook it for too long in the sauce the okra will become gooey and lose its shape. The labne adds a cooling element to the spicy sauce and the dish is lovely served hot or at room temperature. Try using young sorrel leaves instead of the spinach leaves for a nice tart flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
30g fresh ginger, finely chopped
75ml extra-virgin olive oil
500g okra, washed
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 pinch chilli flakes
1 handful baby english spinach leaves, washed
75g labne
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked in sprigs

Tomato jam

Quantity Ingredient
2.5kg truss tomatoes
50ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the jar
1 pinch freshly ground white pepper
1 small brown onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped


  1. For the tomato jam, preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Put the whole tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle them with half the oil, a couple of pinches of salt and the white pepper and roast them for 10 minutes until soft and lightly caramelised.
  3. In a frying pan over medium heat, sweat the onion in the remaining oil for a couple of minutes until translucent. Add the roasted tomatoes to the pan and squash them with a wooden spoon to break them down. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20–30 minutes until thick and jammy.
  4. Pass the mixture through a sieve, then store in the refrigerator with a film of oil on top until ready to use. This will keep for 1 month in the refrigerator.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  6. In a small frying pan over medium heat, toast the mustard seeds and ginger in a little of the olive oil for 1 minute until fragrant, then remove from the heat.
  7. In a large baking tin, toss the okra with half the remaining olive oil. Add the ginger and mustard seed mix, the garlic and chilli flakes. Bake for 20 minutes until tender.
  8. While still hot, fold 250 g of the tomato jam through the okra with the baby spinach, then dollop with labne. Garnish with coriander, then drizzle over the remaining olive oil and serve.

Medicinal Benefit

  • Okra contains plenty of mucilage, a thick, gooey substance full of soluble fibre that helps move food through the gut. It also contains good levels of folates, vital for cell production, as well as vitamins A, C, K and B6, and appreciable amounts of magnesium (for bone health and energy metabolism) and manganese (for regulating blood sugar and supporting the nervous system).
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