Now that Builder Guy is almost 9, we decided he was ready to learn some kitchen knife skills, something a little more advanced than spreading butter and jam. So I thought of some fruits and vegetables that he could learn on, things that weren’t too difficult and would allow him to easily handle it while learning to use the knife. Bananas and scallions were the first thing that came to mind, and then when I saw some okra in the grocery store I thought it would be perfect. When he saw the okra, Builder Guy was very interested and dove right in, and with a little help he managed to keep all his fingers intact.
We made a Cajun-style smothered okra with tomatoes, onions, and a bit of hot sauce, though this particular hot sauce is pretty mild. Go for whatever level of heat you prefer.
The boys all gave it a thumbs up, and the most hilarious comment was from Builder Guy, ‘”Mommy, it tastes like chicken and rice!” Kids say the darnedest things…
How Adults Can Help the Kids
- Demonstrate and assist with any tasks that might be new: measuring, stirring, pouring, chopping.
- Assign the simpler tasks to the younger kids, and save the more challenging tasks for the older kids and adults.
- Make sure an adult is present at all times.
- Young children should not handle sharp knives or hot pots, though this is a good recipe for beginning knife skills.
- The oil in the pot will be hot, so be careful when adding the vegetables and watch for splatters.
Serves 4 to 6.
3 to 4 quart heavy bottom pot with lid
1 large onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
2 pounds (about 900 g) okra, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
1. In the pot, sauté the onion and tomato in the olive oil until the onion starts to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sliced okra, stir, and cover. Cook about 45 minutes, until the okra is tender and not stringy.
2. Season with the kosher salt, black pepper, and hot sauce. Serve immediately with extra hot sauce on the side.