Okra, Corn and Tomato Sauté

August 23, 2008 | Chuck
Okra, Corn and Tomato Sauté

During our last trip to the Serramonte Farmers' Market, Hungry Bear and I picked up the freshest produce we could find for a light and simple sauté. The corn looked fantastic and the cherry tomatoes were super sweet. Hungry Bear told me that she had never cooked with okra, which surprised me, so that was a must get. The end result of our market bounty was this veggie sauté.

Which brings me to my childhood okra story... one summer while I was in elementary school my dad decided to do some gardening. At that point, my family had been in the States for only 5-6 years and we were still living in an apartment complex in Allentown, PA. So, my dad rented a tiny plot at a community garden. The only things I clearly remember him planting were okra and tomatoes, but I'm sure there were Vietnamese vegetables that we couldn't get at the local Acme supermarket.

These days, I would love to have a garden with fresh vegetables, but back then my brother and I hated going to the garden with Dad to pull weeds and water the plants. At that age, given the choice between gardening or riding our BMX bikes, there was only one good option. But we had to help Dad out and he grew a ton of okra and tomatoes. At first the okra was great, but by the end of summer, I was sick and tired of it. I didn't want to eat okra ever again.

To add insult to injury, some kids in the apt complex made fun of my parents for growing their own vegetables, saying we had to because we couldn't afford to buy vegetables at the store... whatever. It annoyed me because I was trying to fit in with the American kids in the neighborhood. I was thankful the next summer when Dad decided to not garden again because it was too much work at the time. It meant no more okra and no teasing from the kids in the complex.

Flash forward 25+ years, I love okra and the idea of a garden with fresh vegetables sounds fantastic! To the kids who made fun of my family, all I have to say to you is... how do ya like my okra now?!?!

Cut Okra

Okra, Corn and Tomato Sauté

SND Note: A quick sauté to highlight the freshness of the ingredients. It can be served hot or cold.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds okra, sliced
  • 5 ears of corn, kernels removed from cob
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Handful of basil, torn
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and soft, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add okra and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Toss in corn kernels and tomatoes and cook until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste, add basil and serve.

Makes 4 servings

[tags]okra, corn, tomato, easy, saute, vegetarian[/tags]

10 Comments on “Okra, Corn and Tomato Sauté”

  1. I totally totally relate!!!! We had a massive garden and grew EVERYTHING even corn. I hated weeding…

  2. Lan said:

    my grandparents had a mint garden and i was in charge of watering it every evening. i HATED it. but i should’ve paid attention because what i wouldn’t do for some fresh mint at a drop of a hat now!

    your dish looks wonderful. i’ve only ever had okra fried southern style or in canh chua.

  3. I always wished my parents would have a garden when we lived in a tiny apartment in New York City when I was a kid. They had no interest, but on my way to school we would walk past community gardens and little front yard tomato plants, and I was so jealous. I’m no fan of okra — but your photos are seductive!

  4. Regina said:

    I can totally commiserate with you about the pains of growing up Asian in a non-Asian suburban neighborhood… and then, on this side of the tween/teenage years, coming to appreciate many of the things that made our family stand out.

    Glad you regained your appreciation for okra, and for garden-fresh vegetables. :)

  5. Jen Yu said:

    Oh man… I *loved* the garden plot that my parents had when I was a kid! I really enjoy weeding too :) Maybe that’s the OCD part of me. But you know, I really feel for you on the jerk kids who made fun of you. I got made fun of from time to time, until I learned to fight back both verbally and physically (hey, I was a tough little girl!) There are so many things that I embrace today that I was ashamed of as a kid. What I would give to go back in time and have a sit down chat with my bratty self. What I would give to go back in time and visit all of my friends who went through similar crap and protect them, tell them it’s going to be fine, tell them they’re gonna grow up to be awesome. I love okra (never had it until I was an adult – can you believe it?! a southerner!?!). That okra photo is *gorgeous*. You’re awesome, man. xxoo

  6. Cynthia said:

    Chuck, I found your blog yesterday and since then I have been filling myself up on your food, virtually of course :) Today, I made the Vietnamese Roast Chicken with the green onion dirty rice, those recipes are definitely going to be a permanent feature in my cooking. I absolutely it all.

    Okra… I love it. Each week when I go to the market I buy okra, I am never without it. If I can put my hands on some fresh corn this week, I’ll definitely make the dish you’ve posted here.

    I use okra in many ways, it is a regular ingredient in much of our cooking here in the Caribbean. The most common ways are sauteed like you did with lots of onions and tomatoes and the other popular way is to simply steam it. Perhaps, if you have the time you can check out my post on okra I did last year.

    So happy to discover your place, and I’ve added it to my feeds and blog roll.

  7. Jude said:

    Very cool story.. Thanks for sharing a bit of your childhood.

  8. Jennie said:

    I relate with the growing up hating pulling weeds and watering the garden. And I’ve got plenty of fun recipes for okra, if you’re ever in need of inspiration again.

    BUT, what I really want to know is…. did Hungry Bear like cooking/eating okra??! :)

  9. Nilmandra said:

    That looks really fresh and delicious. I got to try this, thanks!

  10. dolphing said:

    Your photo and food are excellent, I need to learn more from you ^^

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