I think I have a thing for okra going. (But as noted below, this veggie is NOT related to the African or western okra at all.) Not long ago I posted a different okra recipe, the Paleo Baked Okra with Coconut Breading. This current one is in honor of the humungus Chinese okra I recently bought at H-Mart, the Korean grocery I try to visit occasionally in Hartsdale, New York. They sell a good variety of Asian foods, not all of which are specifically Korean. I love stocking up here!
It’s a chain supermarket, and it has stores in various parts of the US. Hmmm, there’s Chinese broccoli, Chinese chives, Chinese okra…. all of these items look at least somewhat different than their western counterparts.
I had to snag the okra when I saw them. Well, one of them. This one looks like Madame Curie got a hold of it during her radium experimentation days, and it went growing up like a triffid.
So a quick surf yielded this recipe: (The Chinese okra specimen in her recipe is not nearly as long as mine, so I played a bit with ingredient quantities. Taste as you cook…)
I decided to adapt it for my own purposes, while keeping the Indonesian/Chinese aspects to this dish. Which actually means, I had a bunch of bean sprouts that needed the using-up. And I’d also bought some of the Chinese chives, so why not use some of them here, too?
The Indonesian name for Chinese Okra is Oyong. Its scientific name is Luffa acutangula, and it is a curcubit, apparently not at all related to western okra, which are in the nightshade family. When they get too big, they get used as luffa… well, as cleaning sponges.
When I chopped it up, I took a gander at a bit or two raw. There are no discernable seeds, and the vegetable was moist, with a very mild crunch, and had almost a hint of cucumber to it. Thankfully mine (sold in the vegetable section of the market) wasn’t remotely going to want to be used as a sponge!
Prep time: Cook time:
Chinese Okra Stir Fry with Egg, Bean Sprout, and Chinese Chives
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or other healthy cooking oil. (Divided)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten.
- 2 minced cloves of garlic, or about 1 teaspoon garlic paste.
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste.
- 1 large Chinese okra, peeled and chopped into bite size portions, coin shapes of about 1/4 inch thick. This ocra was about 17 inches long, disregarding stem.
- 70 grams or 2.5 ounces of mung bean sprouts.
- 5 Chinese chives, woody root area removed, chopped coarsely. (Sub in 2 regular green onions or scallions if you don’t have Chinese chives.)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (I used ground black pepper, because I forgot…)
- 2 tablespoon water
Scramble the eggs in a skillet with a tablespoon of the oil, on medium heat. Cook until solidified and not runny, but don’t overcook. Personally, I prefer large curds, but if you’d rather, go whip them into a frenzy. With a spatula, remove them to a plate and set aside.
Place the other tablespoon of oil in that skillet. Add the garlic and ginger, and stir until the aromas begin to rise.
Add the prepared Chinese okra to the skillet, along with salt and pepper. Stir fry for two minutes, and then add the eggs and the bean sprouts. At this point, add the water, and cover for 5 minutes, lowering the temperature to medium/medium low — keeping the sounds of cooking going. Taste at the end and season further accordingly.
Remove from heat, add the Chinese chives (or the scallions), mix, and re-cover for a few seconds. Bring to the table, covered, and serve into your serving dish.
This recipe is vegetarian (eggs), but you can make it vegan by trying it with a soft tofu stir fry. This recipe is also Paleo, as long as you don’t turn to the tofu…
Verdict: I like, and I am glad I added in the items not included in the source recipe, although I am thankful that the source recipe exists. The only change I’d make is lower it to 1/4 teaspoon salt, because you can always add more at the table.
PS, again being not true western or sub-Saharan world okra, this veggie has no slime to worry about!
There’s a food court at this H-Mart, I suppose most of the H-Mart stores have them? This one has a Korean, a Chinese, and a Japanese stand. Since I was there at about lunchtime, I availed myself of a bowl of ramen soup (mini-sized) from the Japanese booth. All the Korean selections are super-sized, and come with various banchan, and I just wasn’t all that hungry this trip! It wasn’t excellent, but it was serviceable, better than one would normally expect of something called a “food court”. (As a friend of mine from the science fiction community once wrote, tongue in cheek, “Let’s go to the Food Court and Try some food…“)
I forgot to take a picture of the Chinese chives on their lonesome – they look a lot like scallions/green onions, except that the root area is tougher/more fibrous (I cut it off), and sort of “flat”. They have an allium flavor, (and they ARE alliums) less strong than that of scallions, but maybe a bit more so than western chives.