This spicy vegetarian recipe is from the Creole Restaurant and Music Supper Club in East Harlem.
Servings: 3 - 4
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown rice, rinsed well and drained
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 6 to 8 ounces okra, stems and caps removed; washed and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Pinch ground cumin
- Pinch dried basil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Pinch dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon file powder (see TIP)
Combine the water, brown rice and 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, place a colander in the sink. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the okra and cook for 30 seconds, then drain in the colander.
Combine 2 tablespoons of the vegetable broth, the cooked okra, red and green bell peppers and chopped garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant; the peppers will still be crunchy.
Transfer to a medium pot and place over medium-high heat. Add the remaining vegetable broth and bring to a boil; then add the cayenne pepper, garlic powder, sweet paprika, chili powder, ground cumin, basil, parsley and oregano, stirring to mix well. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the okra picks up some golden color, then add the file powder and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes (uncovered), stirring occasionally; the gumbo will have thickened and will be slightly sticky.
Divide the brown rice among individual bowls and ladle the okra gumbo on top. Serve hot.
Adapted from "The Go Green East Harlem Cookbook," edited by Scott M. Stringer (Jones Books, 2008).
Tested by Randy Richter.
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