NO doubt about it we consume a large quantity of ochro as a nation. It’s a main ingredient in many of our traditional dishes: coo-coo, callaloo, rice, soups, fried ochro with sada. It’s delicious, economical and healthy too.
Head down south to Louisiana, USA where that cuisine utilises ochro a quite a bit too: in their gumbos, smothered, fried in cornmeal to mention a few.
There are many different types of ochro, some are light green in colour, some brighter green and almost finger sized, some are longer, some are purple, and some even tend to be less slimy too.
Whatever type you buy, ensure freshness by gently bending the tip, it should snap off quite easily. Incorporate ochro into your diet, it’s easy to cook, its versatile, high in vitamin C and fibre and you can even eat them raw, pre-washed of course!
Cornmeal crusted ochro
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅔ cup cornmeal
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
coconut oil to fry
Wash ochro and pat dry.
Place flour in a plate.
Combine cornmeal, cayenne and salt in another plate.
Dredge ochro in flour, then dip into egg and dredge in cornmeal.
Fry in hot oil until golden and tender.
Drain on paper towels and serve.
Curried ochro with masala seed mix
1 lb ochro
2 tbs coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp masala seed mix
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbs grated ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp geera
2 tomatoes chopped
½ cup coconut milk
Salt to taste
Wash and slice ochro diagonally in to 2 inch pieces
Heat oil in sauté pan, add garlic and cook until brown, add masala seed mix and fry for a few seconds until aromatic.
Add onion and ginger and cook until tender, stir in turmeric and geera.
Add tomatoes, stir and add ochro.
Stir and fry until ochro turns bright green.
Add coconut milk, and gently simmer for 10 minutes until tender but not mushy.
Serve with rice or roti.
Creole smothered ochro
1 tbs coconut oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped peppers
½ cup chopped celery
1½ cup chopped ochro
1 14 oz tin corn niblets, drained
1 8 oz tin whole tomatoes, crushed, with juice
1 tbs fresh thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
salt to taste
Heat oil in a sauté pan, add onions, celery, peppers, cook for about 4 minutes until fragrant and tender.
Add ochro, corn and tomatoes, stir to combine, add thyme, paprika and cayenne, season with salt and pepper, cook for about 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Serves 4 to 6
Moruga Hill ochro rice with coconut
2 oz salted cod
2 tbs coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
2 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped
12 ochro, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups Moruga Hill rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
Salt to taste
Soak salt cod in cool water for about 30 minutes, drain and shred into bits.
In a large sauté pan heat oil, add onion, garlic and peppers sauté until fragrant.
Add salted cod bits, stir then add ochro and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir well.
Add rice and turn to coat rice grains with oil and flavourings.
Add stock, coconut milk and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, then cover.
Cook for about 35 to40 minutes until rice grains are tender.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serves 6 to 8
3 cups yellow cornmeal
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth or water
½ lb fresh ochro, finely chopped
4 pimento peppers seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Boil water or broth in a large Dutch oven add ochro, peppers, garlic and salt and pepper.
Simmer for 15 minutes until ochroes are tender.
Add the coconut milk and return to a boil.
Pour in the cormneal whisking vigorously to prevent lumping, stir well and cook until the mixture becomes stiff and smooth and moves away from the sides of the pot.
Generously butter a bowl, add coo-coo to bowl and shake it around to form a ball. Let set.
Slice and serve.