Yes, this 15-minute easy and spicy okra recipe is what you need to make today! It’s healthy, delicious, and a perfect dish for warmer weather.
In Malaysia, okra is more commonly known as lady’s finger or bhendi or bendi. This humble green boasts amazing health benefits despite the slimy texture.
Okra is one of the four ingredients in a popular Malaysian dish called Four Heavenly King (四大天王, Sì dà tiān wáng). This dish comprises okra, long beans or winged beans, stinky beans (petai), and eggplant that are tossed in a spicy sambal sauce. Okra is also a common ingredient in Yong Tau fu (stuffed tofu), curries such as mixed vegetable curry, and stir-fries.
Honestly, I never thought of making many okra dishes at home until I have kids. My son loves okra especially when they are simply blanched and tossed in a soy sauce mixture. We then race to enjoy this vegetable and see who has the most tops left on their plate. It was definitely a fun way to encourage kids to eat more greens.
So, today, you can see how to make a delicious dish with just a few simple ingredients.
Where to find okra
Before we go into the steps, let’s check on where you can find fresh okra. I get mine from nearby Asian grocery stores such as HMart, Ranch99, or India Bazaar.
I have seen these at WholeFoods Market, Sprouts, and Walmart, so check them out online. If you prefer the cut version, there are many stores that carry the frozen ones. A quick note though, the cut version is not suitable for this recipe but will go well in stir-fries or curries.
How to choose okra
There are so many ‘How to choose okra’ articles online that you can read about. A lot of okras come in a package and you don’t get to select them unless you are at a morning market.
If you do have a choice (I was able to choose mine at India Bazaar), here is what to look for:
- Choose light green okra
- Select those without dark brown spots on the okra
- No soft spots or bruises
- No dried tops or ends
How to make 15-minute Okra
First, clean the okra. Wash and rinse them with water.
Next, prepare a bowl of cold or ice water. Then, fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add some oil and salt to the boiling water.
To cook the okra, you’ll blanch them as a whole. It only takes about 2-3 minutes to cook the okra. They will turn from bright green to a deeper color when ready. Once ready, using a sieve, transfer the okra to the cold water to stop cooking.
For presentation purposes, I removed the ends and top then halved each. These tops and ends are great for compost. Normally, I just keep it as a whole and just chew the okra and stop right before the top.
Place the cut okra on a plate.
Now, make the sauce. The sauce is made of sauté tofu, garlic, chile, soy sauce, and vegan oyster sauce. Then, finish it off with a thin cornstarch slurry.
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You can check out my homemade vegan oyster sauce or use a store-bought version.
Pour this sauce over the cooked okra and mix to combine before serving.
Check out my other easy recipes:
- 15-minute easy Vegan Miso Ramen
- Vegan Spicy Green Bean Noodle
- Mushrooms Stir-Fry
- 20-minute bok choy stir-fry
Why You Need this 15-minute easy Okra recipe
- Super simple to make
- Healthy and Nutritious
- Can be served at room temperature or cold
- Easily customizable
- A great side dish with rice
- Perfect way to add more greens to any diet
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
15-minute easy Spicy Okra recipe
- 1 lb okra
- 1 oz firm tofu mashed
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 Thai chiles chopped
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegan oyster sauce
- a splash of toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup of water
- neutral oil
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- Prepare the sauce: Place soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil in a bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, mix together cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Set both mixture aside.
- Prepare the okra: Wash and clean the okra. Prepare a bowl of cold water and set it aside.
- Fill half of the 5-quart or a big wok with water and bring to boil. Add a drizzle of oil and salt. Then, cook the okra for 2 minutes.
- Remove and transfer the okra to the cold water and let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then drain.
- Cut off the top and end of the okra and slice it in half or leave it as a whole.
- Arrange the prepared okra on a plate.
- Heat a small non-stick skillet with 2 teaspoons of oil. Then, sauté the mashed tofu until golden brown over medium heat. Push the tofu to the side of the pan, add a drizzle of oil then continue to sauté garlic and chile for a few more seconds until garlic is fragrant.
- Using low heat, add the sauces and cornstarch mix, then quickly stir to combine.
- Pour this sauce on top of the okra.
- Mix the sauces with okra before serving. This dish can be served at room temperature or as a cold dish.