Growing up, my parents have always cooked okra (aka ladies finger) so I have grown very familiar with this vegetable and various ways of cooking it. However, I do realise that a lot of people have never ever cooked with okra nor have they tasted them. If you have never cooked with okra before, perhaps this simple dish will encourage you to try something new. Okra is really not that scary... it is very commonly used in Asian dishes and has a very unique texture.
It is a little... slimy.
Please do not let that put you off!!
Okra when sliced is generally slimy on the inside which is why once you have sliced them, you are not supposed to let it get in contact with any water or else it will just melt away and turn into a slimy vegetable with no real texture to it.
However, if you keep it dry after it is sliced and cook it without any water, the outer later of the okra which is firmer and pleasantly textured really compliments the little gooeyness. This dish makes it even more enjoyable as it also combines the salty crunch of the fried anchovies and the soft textures of mushroom. I love this dish and can easily eat a big plate of this for dinner with nothing else.. but it serves well with rice. It also takes 10 minutes to prepare this dish from start to finish... I simply cannot complain!
Before I start with the recipe, here are a few helpful notes:
- You can buy okra from most fruit and vegetable shops in Australia, or Asian grocers.
- You can find dried anchovies (the little ones) in packets from Asian grocers or the Asian section in Coles supermarkets.
200g okra, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 tbsp dried anchovies, softened in water for approx. 5 mins, then drain water.
1 medium cup mushroom, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add garlic, sliced mushrooms, and soaked anchovies. Fry in oil for 3-4 minutes on medium heat, until the garlic is browning and fragrant, and anchovies starting to crisp. Add sliced okra and season with salt and pepper. Stirfry for another 3-4 minutes or until the okra starts to soften. Serve while it is still hot.