This is an Alton Brown recipe. Grains of Paradise have a taste that is a mix of mild black pepper, cardamom, coriander and ginger and with a luscious citrus aroma. Long used in Middle Eastern, North and West African cuisines, this spice is starting to gain in popularity throughout other regions of the world. The two major exporters of Grains of Paradise are in Ghana and Nigeria. Grains of Paradise are also known as alligator pepper, melegueta pepper (not to be confused with Brazilian Malagueta pepper which is actually a member of the Capsicum family), Guinea pepper, ginny pepper and Roman pepper. Helpful hint; you will enjoy its fullest flavor if you grind it just before adding to a dish (or just before serving).
- 1 lb okra, rinsed and trimmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1⁄2 cups red onions, finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
- 1 pinch sugar, to cut acidity
- Cut each okra pod in half lengthwise and set aside. If there are any pods longer than 4 inches, cut them in half crosswise and then lengthwise.
- Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions along with the salt and cook until they begin to turn golden, approximately 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Add the tomatoes and sugar if using. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Decrease the heat to low and add the ginger, pepper, cardamom and okra. Stir to combine. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve immediately.