Okra Salad With Toasted Cumin

Okra Salad With Toasted Cumin

Even avowed okra-phobes love this salad, which is seasoned with a warm and earthy Moroccan spice blend. The okra cooks for only 2 minutes in salted water, and the resulting flavor and texture are somewhat reminiscent of asparagus. The salad tastes best at room temperature.


  • 1teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2teaspoons paprika or pimentón
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 4tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1tablespoon cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½pounds okra, not too big, left whole
  • ½cup oil-cured black olives, for garnish
  • ½cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves, plus additional sprigs, for garnish


  1. Make the dressing: Put cumin, coriander and caraway seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat. Shake pan and toast seeds until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Let seeds cool, then grind to a coarse powder in a mortar or electric spice mill. Transfer to a small bowl and add paprika and cayenne. Whisk in olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to a boil. Add okra and cook for 2 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain and rinse with cool water, then blot with a kitchen towel. Set aside.
  3. To serve, place okra in a serving bowl. Season lightly with salt and toss with dressing. (Leave to marinate for up to 1 hour if desired.) Garnish with olives, chopped cilantro and some cilantro sprigs.

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