Apr 01 2021

Gullah-Geechee Sauteed Shrimp and Okra Recipe

Edisto Shrimp is the Best

The waters off Edisto Island are known to have the best shrimp in the world, and nothing is better than eating fresh dishes with these tasty critters included! If you love seafood and haven’t visited Edisto yet, you need to put it on your bucket list. 

What’s so special about Edisto Beach shrimp? They are meatier, juicier, and sweeter compared to other shrimp and have an incredible flavor. Once you taste these amazing shrimps, you will never be able to eat frozen again. 

Gullah Culture’s Impact on Edisto

Edisto Island and the Gullah-Geechee community go hand-in-hand. You can’t think about shrimp dishes without thinking about the Gullahs. Their history is fascinating, and their authentic cooking comes from their heart and traditions. 

The Gullah-Geechee community is known for its traditional dishes that often involve shrimp, okra, vegetables, rice, and fresh seafood. These dishes have rich flavor combinations that date back to the 1700s in the Lowcountry. These extraordinary descendants of West African slaves farmed rice plantations and developed traditional food and customs the Southern region now embraces open arms.

Their enslavement involved working and living on coastal plantations and isolated islands. Deep African roots developed the Gullah culture and are evident today in their food, language, music, arts, and more. 

The Gullah people’s traditional diet includes locally grown and raised food plus items imported from Africa and Europe. Staples of the diet include fruits, vegetables, seafood, livestock, game, peas, yams, okra, peanuts, rice, watermelon, hot peppers, and sesame seeds. 

Foods such as berries, tomatoes, squash, and corn were introduced to the culture by Native Americans. Many Gullah dishes’ goal is to make a small amount of food go a long way to ensure everyone ate well. 

Since cooks on plantations were primarily African women enslaved, most of the food known today as “Southern” is made using African cultural practices. 

When I think of shrimp and okra, my mind goes to an authentic Gullah recipe that makes my taste buds sizzle with delight. 

Here’s the recipe for Sauteed Shrimp and Okra: 

This recipe serves 4 to 6 people. 

Ingredients: 

1 cup of diced tomato

Vegetable oil

Kosher salt (season to your liking)

Black pepper (season to your liking) 

½ cup of onion (diced) 

1 tsp. of ginger (minced)

1 tsp. chile pepper (diced) 

Parsley (minced and used to season to your liking) 

Thyme (minced and used to season to your liking) 

2 to 3 tsp of garlic (minced) 

1 pound of shrimp (peeled) 

1 ½ pound of chopped okra

Directions 

  • Coat the bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with vegetable oil and place it on a burner at medium heat.
  • Add the chopped okra to the skillet and stir occasionally. (You might need to add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan to prevent the okra from sticking) 
  • Add the shrimp, garlic, chile pepper, ginger, and onion to the skillet. 
  • Add salt, pepper, parsley, and thyme to the skillet creating your desired taste. 
  • Allow the ingredients to cook together for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the cup of diced tomato, including all the juice and seeds, into the skillet. 
  • Allow it to cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp is ready. 

Once the shrimp is cooked, it’s time to serve this amazing Gullah dish. You can choose to eat it in a bowl or pour it over rice. I must admit I prefer the rice option because the juice gets absorbed, and it creates a delicious and powerful flavor and texture combination. 

Presenting this meal in colorful, elegant, or sophisticated dishware increases the dining experience. When visiting Edisto, you will notice weaved baskets, textile arts, and other crafts related to the Gullah people. 

You can create an authentic Gullah-style dining experience for a dinner party, holiday, birthday, or a weekly dinner using locally made arts and crafts. 

Since you will be making this delightful dish at home using your local shrimp options, it’s recommended that you visit Edisto Beach sometime soon to indulge in the real deal. 

There are a variety of local restaurants that have unique and tasty Gullah recipes. Shrimp and other seafood options are high in demand due to the exquisite marine life in the area. 

Dining at a local restaurant in Edisto Beach exposes you to culture, good food, and music. Shrimp is a popular item on the menu but don’t forget to try other popular options such as oysters, crab, clams, lobster, crawfish, catfish, shark, snapper, grouper, tuna, and flounder. 

You can also indulge in unique dishes that contain gator tails and frog legs. Most local restaurants create their recipes for casseroles, dips, crab cakes, cocktails, and more. 

Your dining experience at any local restaurants will help you create your at-home menu when trying the tasty shrimp and okra recipe shown above. You can even put your twist on it by adding some of your favorite ingredients. 

One thing is for sure, Edisto Island is a great place to eat Gullah recipes and learn more about the extraordinary history of the culture. 

The authentic ingredients grown locally in Edisto produce incredible flavors you can’t find anywhere else in the world. 

Visitors and locals adore this easy and mouthwatering shrimp and okra recipe in Edisto Beach and the surrounding area. Make sure you add this recipe to your list of favorite quick and easy dinners to make for your family and friends today! 

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Recipes

Bob Hart Author

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