Okra and Tomatoes With Grains of Paradise

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins

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).

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
  4. Add the tomatoes and sugar if using. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Decrease the heat to low and add the ginger, pepper, cardamom and okra. Stir to combine. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve immediately.
Most Helpful

Even using frozen okra (I've never seen it fresh up here) this was delicious. I have a small pepper grinder that I keep my grains of paradise in and just keep refilling it. The veggie combo is excellent and the seasonings really combine to make this side a star. Add to that the fact that this is low in calories, fat and sugar and I ask you, how could you go wrong? Made for Veggie Swap 37.

Annacia August 04, 2011

I used frozen cut okra, fresh pounded grains of paradise, skipped the salt and 1 tomato. This is a refreshing dish. I did use a mortar and pestle to crush the Grains of Paradise. Thanks.
Made for ZWT 2011

Rita~ June 08, 2011

Wonderful! I love okra! This reminds me of my childhood, when we had boiled okra and tomatoes often, since it was grown in the garden. First time I've ever used grains of paradise...had to cross the three mile bridge and go to the international market for that! Also first time I've ever put ginger in with okra. Loved it! A permanent addition now. Thanks for sharing. Made for ZWT7 Africa!

breezermom May 28, 2011