Monday, May 26, 2014

Okra and Kale Stew with Madagascar Pink Rice and Corn-off-the-Cob with Sweet Onion (Almost No Added Fat)

My wife and daughter camped locally last night. I don't like camping, but joined them for a potluck dinner that they and other area vegetarian families put together, then came home to my more comfortable home :-) .

All of us like okra, but I don't cook with okra often. My wife brought some fresh okra home from the store, and I thought that I would use my Instant Pot to pressure cook it. The pot does much more than just pressure cooking and can also, for example, sauté - and it comes up to heat very quickly. One should be able to duplicate this recipe by sautéing in a stock pan and then cooking, covered, on low heat for probably 15m or so. This is what I did.

  • Half small or medium sweet (e.g., Vidalia - but yellow okay, too) onion cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 4 ounces tempeh cut into 3/8" cubes  3-4m medium sauté
  • 1/2 c marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c water
  • 30 spears okra (just over a half pound), halved lengthwise and tough ends removed
  • 1/8 c bell pepper
  • 6 baby carrots, cut into thirds lengthwise
  • 6 leaves kale (I used lacinato but any kind is okay), leaves roughly hand torn into approximately 1" squares with stems left for compost
  • App. 1/2 teaspoon lemon sage leaves
  • App. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • App. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • (Optional) Hot sauce to taste

  1. Into the Instant Pot, I put the onion and tempeh, then I turned the pot on in standard sauté (i.e., medium) mode.
  2. The pot heats up quickly; within a minute or minute and a half, I could hear the onion sizzling. I then stirred frequently for about 3-4 minutes till the onion was getting clear. The tempeh was starting to stick.
  3. I turned the pot off and put in the marinara sauce (2g fat per half cup - hence I list this recipe as "almost no added fat") and stirred, releasing any of the stuck tempeh.
  4. I added the water, okra, bell pepper, carrot, kale, lemon sage, salt, and pepper, and stirred.
  5. I closed the Instant Pot. Okra takes 2-3 minutes cooking time on high pressure; I set the pot to cook for 3m on high.
  6. When the pot was done, I turned it off. Ideally, I'd let it release pressure naturally over about 10-15m, but we were ready to eat after maybe 5 or 6m, so I slowly let a little pressure out intermittently with the release valve over a minute or so (I wanted to be sure not to suck any tomato sauce out of the valve; this has not at all been a problem for me) till the pot was depressurized and would allow the top to be removed.
  7. I stirred and served, adding some hot sauce at the table.
I also made Madagascar pink rice (1 part rice to 1 3/4 parts water simmered for 20m; I usually add a vegan bouillon cube, but we are out right now) and corn-off-the-cob. After I roasted two ears of corn on an open gas flame, I stripped the kernels and added juice of half a lime, a pinch of salt, and a bit (I used the rest of the onion, though I knew it was probably too much - 1/8 or 1/4 of a small sweet onion would be good, cut into a small 1/8" dice ideally) of onion.


Wow, the stew was very good! My wife felt that this was one of the best okra dishes that I have served. I quite enjoyed dinner. It's fun cooking under pressure - most of the time is just chopping and assembling ingredients, and the cook time itself is just a few minutes.

Ideas for the future

I should have added a bit of garlic, maybe 2 finely chopped cloves, when I added the okra and the other ingredients. A little jerk seasoning could work well, though I didn't want to go that route since I was also cooking for my spice-averse daughter. I wonder what this dish would be like with black, Great Northern, pinto, or other beans, with or without the tempeh.

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