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Asian Foodways Series: Part 3 Okra

Bhindi Ki Subji (stir-fried okra) with traditional Indian bread, recipes below

The impetus for today's post on okra and the link between African and Asian foodways comes from a great Bhindi Ki Subji (stir-fried okra) dinner I had at a colleague's house. Okra is a plant indigenous to West Africa. Apparently North Africans and or Portuguese traders introduced it to South East Asia during the Christian era. Today one can find okra stuffed, crispy fried, stirred fried with prawns, or sautéed with potatoes and or tomatoes across many parts of India and eaten almost all over Asia. Similarly Africans used okra in a variety of ways in their kitchens and they introduced it to kitchens in various parts of the Americas during the Atlantic slave trade. More recently, “I lived for Sunday dinner,” says South Carolinian Alexander Small. He goes on to say. “Southern fried chicken, fried okra, creamed corn, . . . buttermilk biscuits, a mountain of potato salad with sweet pickles.” Today he counts okra among a short list of his favorite foods. Here are some okra recipes below from different geographic regions:

African okra recipes: http://www.ifood.tv/network/african_okra/recipes

Indian okra recipes: http://indianfood.about.com/od/vegetarianrecipes/tp/bhindirecipes.htm

Southern okra recipes: http://southernfood.about.com/library/weekly/aa081401b.htm

Sweetest okra recipe (vegan): http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=10974.0

Asian Foodways Series: Part 5 Plantains

The Great Migration and Southern Restaurants