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Chinese okra recipe with garlic chili sauce

There are various ways to cook okra- make curry, gumbo, oven-roasted, stew, etc. Here is a different Chinese okra recipe – just blanch or steam the okra and dress with the chili garlic sauce.

Okra dressed with chili garlic sauce is a quick and easy Chinese okra recipe often prepare in the ordinary household. It takes advantage of the intensely savory sauce paired with the light flavor okra with a slimy texture. You will be surprised by how tasty it is and how simple the preparation is.

Okra is also known as lady’s fingers in many English-speaking countries. It is called mainly as 秋葵 in Chinese but is more commonly as 羊角豆 in Malaysia.

How to cook okra with garlic chili sauce

This Chinese okra recipe takes only two steps to complete. First, cook the okra, either steamed or blanch, and prepare the chili garlic sauce.

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Okra dressed with chili garlic sauce is a quick and easy Chinese style dish often prepare in the ordinary household. It takes advantage of the intensely savory sauce paired with the light flavor okra with a slimy texture. You will be surprised by how tasty it is and how simple the preparation is.

1. How to cook Chinese okra style

  • After you purchase the okra from the market, clean it under running water briefly, then place it in a bowl of water.
  • Add one to two tablespoons of salt to the water. Soak for ten minutes. Then rub each okra with your hand to remove the fine hairy stuff on the surface. Please wear a pair of the glove if your hand is sensitive to allergens.
  • Remove the okra and wash again under running water and drain.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add some salt and then blanch the okra for about two minutes until cooked.
  • Remove the okra and place them in a bowl of ice water immediately. This step will stop the okra from further cooking and retain the bright green color.
  • When the okra is cold, remove and drain.
  • Place the okra on the chopping board. Cut off both ends.
  • Halve each okra lengthwise.
  • Arrange the okra, surface up, on a serving plate.

Note:

  1. I soaked the okra with salted water for ten minutes without adding soda bicarbonate. Some cooks suggest adding soda bicarbonate to kill germs and parasites, which I do not buy the idea based on its chemical properties, and I think it is unnecessary.
  2. I also watch another video recipe that suggests adding some wine into the water during blanching.  The reason given is to preserve the green color of the okra. However, I decided not to add wine, as wine is acidic (pH less than 7). According to this article, acid can turn green vegetables muddy and dull grayish-green. Therefore, I only add some salt to the water to add some saltiness to the okra.  You can see the color after blanching in the video on this page, which is bright green.
  3. There is no best way to cook okra. Blanching the okra is a convenient way to cook it but will cause the loss of some nutrients, particularly water-soluble vitamins. If you are concern about this issue, you can steam the okra for ten minutes, which will achieve the same result with fewer nutrients being lost in the process. You can read here for more information.
  4. The purpose of transferring the cooked okra to the ice water is to stop further cooking immediately.  This step helps to prevent the okra become too soft and the color from turning dull. If you do not have ice water, you can place it in a pot of tap water and change the water a few times until they are back to room temperature.
  5. I would suggest either blanch or steam the whole okra and only cut away both ends after that. The okra can become quite slimy if you cut both ends before cooking once the mucilage inside of the okra is exposed.
  6. You may want to serve the whole okra uncut. I halve the okra as that is my preferred presentation.
Okra dressed with chili garlic sauce is a quick and easy Chinese style dish often prepare in the ordinary household. It takes advantage of the intensely savory sauce paired with the light flavor okra with a slimy texture. You will be surprised by how tasty it is and how simple the preparation is.

2. Prepare the garlic chili sauce

The second part of this recipe is practically unrelated to the first part, i.e., to prepare a spicy garlic chili sauce. This garlic chili sauce is ideal not only for okra but also for dressing for other meat and vegetable dishes.

  • Coarsely chop about eight medium-sized cloves of garlic.
  • Slice two bird’s eye chilies thinly.
  • Remove the seeds of one large red chili, then cut the chili into short, thin strips.
  • Place two tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat in a small pan. Then add the garlic to the oil and saute for a minute.
  • Add the chilies and saute further for half a minute until the raw taste of the chilies has gone.
  • Switch off the stove, then adds the Maggi seasoning, light soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar, oyster sauce, and salt. Mix well.
  • Turn on the stove over low heat until the mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat.
  • Add a tablespoon of thinly sliced scallion ring to the sauce mixture. Mix well, and it is ready to use.

Note:

  1. Another way to prepare this sauce is not to saute the garlic and chili. Instead, place the chopped garlic and chilies in a heat resistance bowl. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a small pan separately, and pour the hot oil into the bowl to partially cooked the garlic and chilies and bring out the aroma. I prefer sauteing the garlic for a better aroma, but both ways work well.
  2. The amount of chilies depends on the level of heat you want. Bird’s eye chilies (called cili padi in Malaysia) are very spicy, and it is hard to remove the seeds. You can reduce or omit the bird’s eye chilies and use the large red chilies, which are less spicy. Please remove the seeds as much as you can if you can’t take the heat, rather than reducing the amount, as you are reducing the flavor of chili if you do so.
  3. You can omit the Maggi seasoning and use more light soy sauce if it is unavailable. If you wish to make it vegetarian, omit the oyster sauce.
  4. The scallion rings I added last are mainly for presentation, which is not essential. 

To serve, arrange the okra on a serving plate, then dress with the garlic chili sauce. It is a cold dish and therefore does not need to heat up before serving. It is best to serve with steamed rice as the sauce has an intense savory flavor.

Other recipes related to okra and garlic chili sauce 

If you like hot and spicy food, I want to introduce a mouth-watering sambal prawn recipe, a Malaysian dish prepared with sambal tumis, a relish made with chilies, tamarind, dried shrimps, and belacan.  Ever tried typical Malaysian food? Start with this one.

If you like garlic sauce, steamed eggplant with garlic sauce will tantalize your taste buds with its tender texture and savory flavor.

Yield: servings

Chinese okra recipe with garlic chili sauce

Chinese okra recipe with chili garlic sauce (3)

Okra dressed with chili garlic sauce is a quick and easy Chinese okra recipe often prepare in the ordinary household. It takes advantage of the intensely savory sauce paired with the light flavor okra with a slimy texture. You will be surprised by how tasty it is and how simple the preparation is.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the chili garlic sauce:

For the okra:

  • 250g okra
  • 1 tbsp salt

Instructions

For the okra

  1. Clean the okra under running water briefly, then place it in a bowl of water.
  2. Add one to two tablespoons of salt to the water. Soak for ten minutes. Then rub each okra to remove the fine hairy stuff on the surface. Remove and wash again under running water and drain.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add some salt and then blanch the okra for about two minutes until cooked.
  4. Remove the okra and place them in a bowl of ice water immediately. 
  5. Place the okra on the chopping board. Cut off both ends.
  6. Halve each okra lengthwise.

For the chili garlic sauce

  1. Coarsely chop the garlic.
  2. Slice two bird’s eye chilies into thin rings.
  3. Remove the seeds of one large red chili, then cut the chili into short, thin strips.
  4. Heat the oil over medium heat in a small pan. Then add the garlic to the oil and saute for a minute.
  5. Add the chilies until the raw taste of the chilies has gone.
  6. Switch off the stove, add the remaining ingredients in B except for the scallion. Mix well.
  7. Turn on the stove over low heat until the mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat.
  8. Add the scallion ring. Mix well.

To serve

  1. Arrange the okra, surface up, on a serving plate.
  2. Spoon the sauce on top, and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 503Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 6331mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 8gSugar: 12gProtein: 23g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 9/20/2021

KP Kwan

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.

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