Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saim & Okra

It is funny how we gravitate to certain things when we are away from home or thinking of loved ones. My mom loves saim, a type of string bean. For my part, I'd eat it but it is not one of those things that I'd buy regularly. However, whenever I see saim in the market here in Barbados, I almost always buy it, just because it reminds me of home and my mom. She'd always cook it curried with shrimp or beef as it is a bean that stands up to long cooking. I too curried mine but without any meat and cooked it with coconut milk. The coconut milk really enhanced the flavour and gave the bean some body. But then again, everything tastes better with coconut milk, doesn't it? :)

For the curry:

1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons curry paste (recipe follows)
Salt to taste
1 lb saim with tips and seams removed; pulled apart
3 cups fresh coconut milk (dilute if using canned coconut milk)

For curry paste:-
  • Grind together 2 large cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped onion, hot pepper to taste and 2 - 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro to make a paste.
  • Add 1 heaped tablespoon ground garam masala and 1 heaped teaspoon ground turmeric along with a few drops of water to the herb paste and mix together to form a paste (if you have more paste than you need, reserve the excess in an air-tight container for later use).


  1. Add oil to pan and heat until hot but not smoking; add curry paste and saute for 1 - 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low because you don't want to burn the spices
  2. Season with salt to taste for the entire dish
  3. Add saim and toss to coat with sauteed curry paste. Let continue to cook for 3 - 4 minutes, tossing intermittently
  4. Turn up heat to high, pour in coconut milk and scrape the bottom of the pan with spoon to release any bits that may have been stuck. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let cook until all the liquid has dried out
  5. Serve with rice or roti

Now this second meal is one which I cook at least once a week. I love, love, love okras and cook it weekly. Sometimes, I'd just steam it and have it with my meal.

There are many dal recipes out there so I am not going to post another one here. What I will say is that I sauteed a large onion and three green tomatoes before adding the dal and cooking it all together. The green tomatoes gave a dal a delightfultang and I added a bit of palm sugar to balance it. To temper the dal, I used mustard seeds, whole cumin and sliced garlic.

For the Sauteed Okra:

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup diced onions
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 lb okra, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in pan until hot (until shimmering)
  2. Add onions and saute until until translucent
  3. Add thyme and garlic and saute for 1 minute
  4. Add okra, toss to coat, reduce heat to medium and let cook for 8 - 10 minutes tossing a couple of times
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat
  6. Serve with rice, roti, bread etc.



That's certainly an unusual way of cooking those beans, we get them here. And okra with thyme - that's unusual, never imagined that combination before!


Cynthia you are speaking my language. Rice and curried saim certainly tastes better with coconut milk as with every other recipe I could think of.

The fried ochro, another favourite of mine, looks appetizing. I love to eat fried ochro with sada roti!

Lori Lynn

I really like the okra recipe, looking forward to trying this.

David T. Macknet

Yes! Coconut milk (or coconut cream) DOES make everything better! :)


Very good, this kind of beans is really common (and cheap)here.
That's a nice inspiration.
Next time i will try currying them too.

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