edible communities
In the American South, okra is most commonly eaten fried or pickled, or is used as a thickening component in soups and stews. Mucilage—the mixture of sugars and proteins found naturally in okra—is what makes it such a great thickener, but is also what often causes it to become slimy when cooked. In Malaysia, where okra is known as “ladies’ fingers,” the pods are sliced thin and stir-fried over high heat. Slice your okra just before you cook it, use high heat and serve immediately to avoid a slimy texture. Alone, Sambal Okra is a light appetizer, but over steamed rice, it is substantial enough to be a main course.
By / Photography By Katie Farmand | March 01, 2014

Ingredients

  • 3 dried red chilies (such as arbol)
  • 1 tablespoon belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 shallots, julienned
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 24 small Florida shrimp (such as Canaveral White), cleaned
  • 20 okra, sliced thin on a bias

Instructions

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Pour boiling water over dried chilies and let soak until softened. When soft, remove chilies from water. Slit chilies lengthwise and remove seeds. Then slice into ½-inch sections.

Measure belacan and place in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons hot water. Mash with a fork until mixture becomes as smooth as possible.

Dissolve sugar in lime juice.

Heat oil in a wok or heavy sauté pan until it begins to smoke slightly. Add shallots, garlic and chiles; stir fry, tossing frequently.

Add shrimp and belacan. Stir-fry until shrimp begin to turn pink. Add okra and cook 1 more minute before adding limesugar mixture. Cook another minute and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Related Recipes: Local Ingredients, Global Roots.

Ingredients

  • 3 dried red chilies (such as arbol)
  • 1 tablespoon belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 shallots, julienned
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 24 small Florida shrimp (such as Canaveral White), cleaned
  • 20 okra, sliced thin on a bias
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