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Monday, August 1, 2011

Okra with Spicy Caramelized Onions - Beans # 1

First and foremost, okra is not a bean.  Botanically it's a fruit, being in the same family as Hibiscus.
But generally, here, culinary wise,  it's called a bean due to it's longish shape. Just like pine nuts are not real nuts, but are called nuts. Same goes to macadamia which is a kernel and not a real nut. If you watched Masterchef Australia 2 you would've remembered the day Marion, Jonathan and Aaron were tested their 'nut' knowledge.

A dish that I made up out of nowhere since many years ago.

There are few ways for me to cook okra and this is one of my favourites. Okra is a veggie that is pretty much like aubergine or egg plant. Either you love it or you hate it.
Mike hates it and I love it. And so with opportunities to dine with my inlaws, I get to cook Mike’s most hated veggie and not end up eating it myself. My MIL and aunt loved this dish a lot.

For okras, do not buy huge ones as they are old and fibrous. Makes you chew and spit because it’s almost impossible to swallow. I always buy small ones, those that you do not see bulging seeds. I usually go for those slightly longer than my fingers and they are tender and sweet.

The okra in this dish doesn’t have much flavouring, but it’s the caramelized onions that give it that uuumph!.
How nice this dish taste depends on how well the onions are done.

Okra with Spicy Caramelized Onions
Recipe source: Wendyywy
Serves :4-6, depending on portion. 3 of us finished this : )

350gm okra
350gm onions, sliced
3-4 red chillies, sliced
2 cloves or garlic, finely chopped
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp oil

1. Rinse okras and trim the stem away.
2. Bring a pot of water to boil, add some salt to the water.
3. When water has come to a boil, put in okras and boil for one minute. Drain well and arrange on serving plate.
4. Heat a wok on high, put in 3 Tbsp oil and put in garlic. Cook until it is fragrant very slightly golden and put in sliced onions and chillies.
5. Cook until edges of onion looks browned and becomes fragrant.
6. Put in salt and Worcestershire sauce.
7. Cook for another minute and put on top of blanched okras to serve.


  1. Love the way you presented the dish...

  2. Love okra...I agree once they get large they are not edible. Never seen it prepared like this.

    ps Beautiful photos!

  3. A delicious combination dish. Loves okra and onions. Thanks for the post. I'm sure to cook this one day.

  4. Caramelized onions add so much of flavors to okra. I always trim the head beyond the brown line. Oh oh...

  5. I bet the spicy caramelized onion is good with almost any kind of greens! nice, will try it out when I see fresh okra in the market.

  6. Wen,

    Yeah, they will feel like chewing on straws

    High 10! they are perfect combo!

    Little Inbox,
    If you cut them below the brown line, the mucus comes out when you blanch or steam them, so better cut it above the brown line.

  7. i love okra, Thanks for sharing your way of cooking okra, must try later.

  8. hohoho... look superb
    i love onions...

  9. feel like having this for iftar..tyou for sharing! :)

  10. I always cut into thin slices and stir fry them that makes the okras very dry. This is definitely a must try. :))

  11. Those caramelized bits are so addictive! Hubby loves this so maybe I get to surprise him with his two favorite - okra & onions! :D

  12. the colors of this dish is so vibrant! will attract anyone to try this dish out :)

  13. Sonia,
    hope u like this

    Nur Misnan,
    Oh yeah, they add life to the okras

    Selamat berpuasa dan berbuka ;P

    Belly good,
    okras are good for stir fries too, but... you must add in sufficient oil to counter the dryness.

    Food Dreams,
    Hope he likes it

    hehe, hope so :)

  14. I used to hate it, but now I love it. Same for eggplant. I don't know why haha. especially love how juicy it is with fish curry.

  15. This is nice, I love Okra, I plant some at home too but they are in red colour. I think it tastes great to be served together with caramelized onions :)

  16. i like the caramelised onions more than the okra. They are so tasty..i think cook this with ikan bilis also can, hor?

  17. Shu Han,
    Oh yeah.. it's an acquired taste that grows on you :)

    Red ones? Loaded with antioxidant pigments :)

    U mean, use the onions as toppings for crispy bilis? U can, I think. Or just do other beans.

  18. Okra, my wife's favourite! Normally cook with curry only...

  19. Can Worcestershire sauce be replace with other sauce?

  20. Wendy, I LOVE okra prepared in anyway. When I go for fish head curry, I ask for more okra, I even like it steamed and then add oil, fried garlic and onion. The way you cooked it looks awesome!! I can't wait to go out to buy some okra today and cook this dish.

  21. Pete,
    curry only ah? try something new la

    Use half balsamic vinegar and half soy sauce.
    But then, if you have neither balsamic vinegar or worcestershire sauce, then the taste will be somewhat off and not as nice. It's the worcestershire sauce that gives anything with caramelized onions that distinctive smokey taste that is so beautiful.
    Just buy a small bottle of Lea and Perrins. I do use it in quite a few recipes in my blog, that is if you're planning to try out more.


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