Summer Recipes

Voodoo Okra

This spicy shrimp, okra and green chile stew tastes like Brazilian gumbo.

By Robb Walsh August 2, 2013

Shrimp and Okra Stew

This is one of my favorite okra recipes. It is the Texas version of a traditional African-Brazilian okra stew called caruru, which is made with okra, red palm oil, peanuts, and dried shrimp.

Caruru is made on the festival of the twin spirits, the gods of fertility, in the African-American religion called Candomble in Brazil, Santeria in the Caribbean and Voodoo elsewhere. This time of the year, I like to use fresh-roasted Hatch green chiles in the stew. So keep this recipe in mind—Central Market's Hatch Green Chile Festival starts August 7.

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon red palm oil (or substitute olive oil)
  • Pound and a half whole small okra pods, cleaned and chopped
  • Pound of chopped tomatoes (or a #10 can crushed tomatoes)
  • Half cup roasted Hatch chiles, skins and seeds removed (or two chopped serranos)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Pound of Texas brown shrimp

Mince and brown three cloves garlic in the oil over medium heat. Rinse the okra, drain and allow to dry. Toss the okra in the hot oil until coated. Add the tomatoes, chopped roasted chiles, (or serrano peppers). Stir in 2 tablespoons peanut butter and salt. Simmer 20 minutes or until okra are beginning to get tender. Add the shrimp, stir and cook until the shrimp start to curl, about five minutes. Season to taste. Serve over rice.


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