Okra soup, the original West-African gumbo

 sauce gombo_okra soup
Name: Sauce Gombo/Okra soup
Eaten in: West Africa
Foodie: Linda

In a stew, soup or sauce, okra is one of those “love-it-or-hate-it” vegetables. It has a deliciously runny texture and a melt-in-your-mouth quality that could either be incredibly appealing or… not. Okra soup is an ubiquitous dish in West Africa. Just like all the other soups, you have as many variations as you have ethnic groups, villages or available proteins. I have tried it with beef, chicken, smoked fish, snails, all of the above. So once you have the basic recipe in your arsenal, you can explore variations and discover your favorite combination.

Sauce Gombo/Okra soup

Serves 2-4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Main Dish


  • 1lb sliced okra (frozen or fresh)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½lb cubed stew meat
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 chili pepper (scotch bonnet or habanero)
  • oil, salt, water


1. Season beef with onion, garlic and salt
2. Add oil in a pot, when the oil is sizzling, put in the meat
3. Add water and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then cook on medium heat for 25 minutes.

4. In a separate pot, add the okra, 2 cups of water and the baking soda
5. Cook on medium until the okra is cooked (it should look like it’s melting)
6. Use a spatula to vigorously stir the okra mixture as if you were hitting it against the sides of the pot
7. Remove the tomatoes from the meat pot, use a blender to crush them (skin on)
8. Stir in okra and crushed tomatoes in the meat pot.
9. Add salt, pepper, chili pepper to taste
10. Boil on medium heat about 20 minutes
11. Serve with foutou or rice

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