Approaching the farm stand on a recent trip to Merrick Farm
(see http://marashgirl.blogspot.com/2014/09/stopping-by-merrick-farm-on-sunny.html ), Marash Boy gave an exclamation of joy. Looking up to see what it was that gave Marash Boy such happiness, Marash Girl spied a bin of freshly picked okra -- but each of the okra in the bin was 4 inches long. Too bad, said Marash Boy. We can't make bumia with these. Let me see, said Marash Girl as she bit into one. They're delicious and crispy, not tough at all! Of course we can make bumia with this. And so throwing handfuls of okra into a bag, Marash Girl happily paid Farmer Merrick for what she knew would soon be a delicious Armenian treat! Home they went with the okra, which Marash Girl displayed in a bowl on the kitchen table as she prepared to make the traditional Armenian Bumia. In walked Murat, their friend from Turkey, who looked at the okra and exclaimed with disgust, "We throw those away!" Marash Girl just laughed as she rinsed the okra and began to prepare supper.
While she sautéed onions and garlic in olive oil in the bottom of a large heavy pot, Marash Girl sliced off the stem ends of the okra (to be tossed into her compost pile in the side yard-- the stems, not the okra), and sliced each okra into half inch pieces. (Each okra was about 4 inches long including the stem -- certainly a throw-away had she not already eaten one, had she not known how delicious and crunchy they were!) She then added the okra to the pot, stirred it around, added some leftover spaghetti sauce (she had no canned or fresh tomatoes which she would typically have used), and let the okra simmer for about a half hour, adding freshly squeezed lime juice at the very end; while the okra was simmering she looked around to see what she had to serve it with, and rather than bulgur which she typically would serve with bumia, she found black rice on the shelf and decided to cook that up with water (rather than the traditional chicken broth -- and anyway, black rice was far from traditional!) The results were amazing! The okra was NOT slimy, but rather perfectly al dente and served over the black rice, a real taste treat. Marash Boy and Marash Girl couldn't eat enough of the delicious bumia with black rice! Murat refused to even taste it!