Spicy Tomato Relish


See the RecipeGanda Suthivarakom

It's hard to say exactly when I fell in love with okra. I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, where the viscous vegetable claimed a regular spot on our dinner table, most often in the form of a spicy, savory side dish called ila asepo, a soup strewn with chunks of meat, dried shrimp, tomatoes, and peppers. Many years later, when I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to become a pastry cook, I encountered many fascinating riffs on the familiar green pods. Here, okra came to the table battered and deep-fried, conserved in spiced chutney, roasted whole, and added to thick gumbo. But my absolute favorite use of okra came in the form of fritters, fried until golden and crisp and served as a cocktail nibble. The cornmeal lends the tender okra a nice crunch as well as toasty flavor. This cool but spicy relish is the perfect partner for hot cornmeal-okra fritters. If you prefer a mild relish, substitute seeded jalapeños for the minced habanero chiles.