Okra Gumbo from Heaven

There is this little "Afro-Asia" Lebensmittel Laden down the street from where I live, and I'm there almost every day. The front is plastered with Bollywood posters, and on the inside little kids buy ginger beer and gummies from the bored shop girl, who spends most of her time on the phone. Its a modest, kind of dusty little spot, but for me, its heaven. Its my local source of plantains, chipotles, mirin, sriracha, silken tofu, masa harina... you name it, they've got it. Along with every spice and flour on the planet, bags full of frozen crustaceans still in their shells, strange looking spice mixes (like, for sugar cane broth? what do you use that for?) And best of all,  in a small and crowded refrigerator they also offer up fresh thai basil, habanero peppers and... okra.

Believe it or not, I've never cooked with okra before! Its a standby in good old Virginia, but I usuallu come across the canned version and I never felt compelled to experiment with it. But when I saw box of fresh okra at Afro-Asia, I became curious. Luckily, Isa posted a recipe for Okra Gumbo w/ Chickpeas and Kidney Beans on the PPK a few weeks back, and I made a mental note to try it out. That ended up being a really good idea.

Isa's version is a lot quicker than most versions, even if you make a darker roux like I opted to. The end result is complete comfort food, toothy and creamy and a little sour from the okra, and the perfect receptacle for a bit of hot sauce. With some white rice and a beer you can pretend you're in steamy Louisiana (even if you're in freezing Berlin.)

Song of the day: Chuck Berry - You Never Can Tell

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