Kate loved making new okra plain quick recipe (solar) - tomato ugali version with 'x' - you'll z00t!

Where 'x' is my flavoring of choice, fennel. Makes this 95% homegrown from food I grew, just feet from my front door.

First off I was anxious to fix an okra meal that wasn’t gumbo. It isn’t that there is anything in the world wrong with gumbo. It is just that this is the only recipe American’s seem to know for preparing okra.

The decision to try Ugali, the East Africa cornmeal mush part of a standard diet, has the added bonus of using up some cornmeal I have had for too long. I am trying to keep corn in any form out of my diet, because any food from agribusiness will have corn in it. Therefore, it seems like a prudent idea to keep corn to a minimum when consciously selecting food. My occasional meals or snacks add enough corn products to my system. The Ugali was also deliberate, to introduce me to an international dish for something different.

Eating a vegetarian meal was another bonus with this version, besides trying to eat within 100 feet of my home. Because I used a bit of butter for flavoring I couldn’t be considered a vegan meal. The salt, pepper, butter & cornmeal were not local, hence 95%.

I also got a kick out of using no energy except the sun to cook this meal. The utter simplicity of walking outside to gather, coming inside to rinse off, add water, season and take outside to the solar cooker – done in a couple hours is exhilarating.

Besides, it was fun to write a recipe introduction with the alphabet: K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Okra in the Solar Oven

4 okra, chopped
½ kg. tomatoes, chopped
1½ cups of water

Combine okra and tomatoes, and add to a dark pot. Add water, and cover pot with lid. Cook in sun for 2 hours. Serve over rice, pasta or the traditional East African staple ugali (white corn meal cooked to a texture similar to polenta.This recipe was from the refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya where the Sudanese are being housed.

ugali – less than double water to cornmeal & salt. Boil water, add cornmeal slowly and cook until done (4 min or so) Add butter to flavor.

Mucilaginous vegetables – Chile cautions these aren’t good for stock.

Okra Kakuma style (Submitted by SCI staff at Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya)
Remember this family? I posted this photo and others from around the world in Global Groceries.

The Aboubakar family of Darfur province, Sudan, in front of their tent in the Breidjing Refugee Camp, in eastern Chad, with a week's worth of food. © 2005 Peter Menzel from 'Hungry Planet: What the World Eats'

Meat, Fish & Eggs: $0.58**
Goat meat, dried and on bone, 9 oz; fish, dried, 7 oz. Note: Periodically, such as at the end of Ramadan, several families collectively purchase a live animal to slaughter and share. Some of its meat is eaten fresh in soup and the rest is dried.

Fruits, Vegetables & Nuts: $0.51**
Limes, small, 5; pulses ration, 4.6 lb, the seeds of legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans. Red onions, 1 lb; garlic, 8 oz; okra, dried, 5 oz; red peppers, dried, 5 oz; tomatoes, dried, 5 oz.

Condiments: $0.13**
Sunflower oil ration, 2.1 qt; white sugar ration, 1.4 lb; dried pepper, 12 oz; salt ration, 7.4 oz; ginger, 4 oz.

Water, 77.7 gal, provided by Oxfam, and includes water for all purposes. Rations organized by the United Nations with the World Food Programme.

Food Expenditure for One Week: 685 CFA francs/$1.23
**Market value of food rations, if purchased locally: $24.37

Post Script: I fixed the okra and hated it. I didn't z00t! I sent out an email to my neighbors offering up this okra that another neighbor had planted and harvested, that I'd cooked in the solar oven. NO TAKERS - out of several dozen. ZERO. Okra is an aquired taste it seems. I actually didn't get as far as the ugali because the main dish was so off-putting.

This is a tough one. The idea of something can get in the way of reality. I had to shake myself and just stop. I was going to just ditch this whole post too until I read Chile's post about a canning dish she didn't like. It is a very real aspect of what we do. I compare it to when I get sick and vomit. Sadly, nobody plans to eat a perfectly fine meal and then lose it - without virtually any nutritional gains. It just happens.


Chile said...

Well, hm, the comparison of edible food to vomit is interesting. I'll have to think on that one, Kate.

Anonymous said...

Yup. Okra.
Here in the South we either put it in gumbo, or fry it up and eat it like popcorn.