Monday, September 22, 2014

Steamed Okra with Gochujang Dressing 蒸秋葵(羊角豆)拌韩式辣酱

Okra is not an ingredient or vegetable that I often cook with; not because I do not like it but fresh tender local okra is not easy to come by. When I saw some fresh ones at the Asian supermarket, there was no hesitation to buy them even though it is not super cheap - a pack of maybe 20-25 for about $3 (at $3.99/lb). Fresh local okra is also currently piling up the farmers markets' booths, so do enjoy more okra before its season ends.

Many times, okra is used in stews because when cooked/braised, they natrually thicken up gravies e.g. gumbos. Similar to fresh fish, I like to steam fresh okra, and enjoy the fresh sweetness of this vegetable. When not over-cooked, the tender-crunch of okra is a test of freshness.

Other than being a rich source of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins mentioned here, okra also propagates good bacteria in our intestines; as the fiber and mucilage (slimy texture when cooked) actually help adjust blood sugar by regulating its absorption in the small intestine. To reduce the slime, it is usually suggested to avoid overcooking or cook it whole.

Steaming is definitely one way to avoid over-cooking; plus it is an easy, fuss-free and relatively clean cooking method. Interestingly, I actually enjoy steamed eggplant, and steamed okra for its natural clean flavors, and easy-cooking of course.

In this recipe, the okra is sliced half length-wise so that the sauce dressing thoroughly flavors up the entire dish. You can steamed them whole if you prefer.

Steamed Okra with Gochujang or Sambal Dressing 蒸秋葵(羊角豆)拌韩式辣酱
12 okra, slice each to half (as shown)

[Sauce]: 1/2 tbsp sambal chili (Note: some sambal chili may not be vegetarian due to addition of shrimp paste) or gochujang (whichever you have available), 1tbsp organic apple cider vinegar, 1tsp toasted sesame oil

Directions: Prepare the sauce dressing, set aside.
Steam okra for 10 mins or less till okra is just cooked (but not over-cooked) . Drizzle sauce over steamed okra and serve immediately.

This is a similar preparation and cooking method as Steamed Eggplant with Gochujang Dressing. For other Okra recipes, you can check these out: Kabocha Squash, Okra, Green Bean Stew, Okra and Eggplant Stew, Steamed Okra with Fried Shallots.

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