About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006
Chicken with Okra
My wife D asked me the other day to buy four chicken marylands for some soup she was making. I was off to the market where there are several poultry shops and saw some lovely corn fed marylands in one of the counters. They are a lot more expensive than regular chicken and for what D wanted, unnecessary. At the next chicken shop, they had a tray of marylands which were quite large, two would have been enough, but if I was wrong I would have caught it, so purchased four of them, better too much than too little. When I got home D said that two would have been enough and so the excess marylands were consigned to the fridge.

A couple of days later, I was home early from work and D looked at me and said, "You can cook dinner," as she had other things she was doing, like the washing. "Fair trade," I thought silently to myself. We had decided this week not to buy any meat as the freezer was groaning full, but there was nothing defrosted to cook, so a quick look in the fridge revealed the marylands, but how to have them? On another shelf was some okra, one of my favourite vegetables.

I came to know and love okra in my first marriage. They were not readily available fresh at that time and we purchased them dried from specialty stores, they were also available tinned, and had the rather charming name of ladies fingers. We cooked often with them and the ones we preferred to use were very small, which were considered the best. The flavour is not dissimilar to green capsicum, but one of the properties of okra, which was not so apparent in the dried version, is it's ability to thicken a sauce via a mucilaginous liquid* stored in the pod, which is the unripe seed pod of a plant that we use as a vegetable. This clear, gooey and sticky liquid has enough thickening power to make flour unnecessary as a thickening agent.

Chicken with Okra

2 large chicken marylands
4 tablespoons oil
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small chile, finely diced
1 800 g (2 lb) tin crushed tomatoes
200 g (1/2 lb) okra
200 g (1/2 lb) cauliflower
salt & fresh ground pepper

separate the marylands into thighs and drumsticks, if you like you can cut them into smaller pieces and brown them in the oil. Remove and brown the onions and carrots, then add the garlic, chile, crushed tomatoes and the browned chicken pieces, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the stem from the okra and cut into short pieces, cut the cauliflower into small florets and add the okra and cauliflower to the pot and season. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the sauce thickened. Serve with plain rice.

* I wanted to say this liquid looks like clear snot, but that would never do in a cooking blog, would it?
  posted at 7:45 am

At 9:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, god Neil, but it does. Look like clear snot! I wish you could hear me laughing!! Too funny. I love okra. I need to do that, I think they are really fresh in the markets now. Learned from my daddy.
So, I guess I'll have to google the marylands. Like all the veggies in there.

At 11:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love okra, too! Unfortunately, it's quite hard to get hold of here. Usually only in tins, but I don't like that as much as the fresh variety.

At 11:31 pm, Blogger pentacular said...

Neil, you will know Okra's main use in Lebonese cuisine from your first marriage. C and V call it Bearma, and they say they saute the okra for fifteen minutes to get rid of the 'snot'. They also turned up their nose at the idea of the 'snot' until i read them your post and then they realised the advantage of the 'snot'. Bearma is made with garlic, onion (big wedges), and tomato and sometimes capsicum. The best okra for this dish is small not large. Cheers, Gregory

At 2:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, Neil! You managed to insert the "clear snot" comment. And I fear, anytime I eat okra (which is often) I'll remember the comment and think fondly of you. ;-) My family would love this recipe. It's sort of close to a similar African recipe of preparing okra stew. Sometimes we eat the okra with an African meal called banku (different but reminiscent of polenta). I'm not sure what it's made out of but for me the best part of eating the banku and okra stew is the way the clear snot... Uhh... I mean the liquid... slides down my throat with the banku. Yum!

Paz ;-)

At 2:40 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, sometimes I'm so happy I don't have an editor! Marylands are what we call the thigh & drumstick still joined together. If you wanted you could use cubed dark meat as well, but I think breast meat would be wasted in this.

Hi honeybee, in the eighties here it was so hard to get fresh, so I know how you feel. Try asian grocers.

Hi pentacular, yeah, we had that a few times, only A called it bamia. Knowing those girls I'm surprised they hadn't though of that use for the snot!

Hi paz, yeah, I tossed up about the snot a few times, but thought what the heck and in it went. It's interesting about the African connection, when I made it, I put in a teaspoon of oregano, which changed it from what seemed like an African identity to a more Greek one, but preferred it before the herb went in.

At 5:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you saying we're twenty years behind you guys? ;-) Good tip, I'll try some of the asian shops.

At 9:00 am, Blogger Gigi said...

You know who wouldn't have any trouble saying the liquid 'looked like clear snot?' Why, Chef Gordon Ramsey, that's who! And he'd yell it, and then spit on the floor... ;D

At 3:27 pm, Blogger Gillian said...

I've just finished doing a MEME on 5 things to eat before you die. I've had my list ready for a long time. But this post made me think of a new MEME. 5 things you have never eaten and are not sure that you ever will and why.
I'm no good at the technology of this and dont even know what MEME stands for! but please will someone start one cos I'm on to my list already.
Guess what's on it!!!
Cheers Gillian

At 3:52 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi honeybee, not at all, I think we are just a bit closer to parts of Asia. No problem, this is a full service blog!

Hi gigi, he's a terror isn't he? I have no trouble believing he would too!

Hi gillian, that list of yours could get pretty nasty!

At 1:06 pm, Blogger Melissa CookingDiva said...

Hola Neil! The recipe sounds great. I am glad to see you are doing quite well with your blog. A hug from Panama,

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