Pickled Okra with Smoked Paprika and Chiles
This was a big hit during the Fourth of July. Some people asked me how the okras remained crunchy even after being pickled for two weeks. My secret is skipping the blanching part of most pickling recipes. After washing the okras thoroughly, I pat them dry with paper towels and put them in a jar. (I use chopsticks to keep them vertical.) They soften enough to eat raw after being in brine for a few days, but not too soft that there’s no more oomph left to them. For those who think okras are too slimy, I minimize that by keeping the tops intact. When the pickles are ready, the stems are even tender enough to eat.
1 pound small okra, thoroughly washed, pat dry
2 cups white vinegar
2 tbsps sugar
2 tbsps salt
2 tbsps smoked paprika powder
1 tsp whole mustard seed
1 tsp whole white pepper corns
1 tsp crushed chiles
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1. In pickling jars, stuff the okra standing up.
2. In a small non-reactive pot, bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil for a minute or until the salt is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture into the jar and add enough water to cover the tops of the okra. Use a small tea cup to weigh the okra down. Secure the lid and allow the jar to come to room temperature. Store in fridge.