Ladies’ Fingers are also known as Okra in the deep south of USA and as Bhindi in India and Pakistan. You will find this vegetable in Carribbean, Filipino and Japanese cuisines as well. It does look pretty when sliced traversely. As a young child, it didn’t appeal to me as a vegetable dish but it made pretty flower prints on my drawing block during art lessons when we were taught “potato and vegetable printing”. Health benefits of Ladies’ Fingers. A check with several sources reveal that it is very low in calories and dense with nutrients. It is high in fiber, vitamin A, C, and folate content. It is also a good source of the B vitamins, vitamin K, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and traces of magnesium and manganese. Okra is one of those few vegetables which have the highest content of phytonutrients and antioxidants such as beta-carotene, xanthin and lutein. The recipe which I am introducing in this post is delicious and so simple to put together. It goes well with other dishes from Chinese, Singaporean, or Malaysian cuisine. The ladies’ fingers can be blanched ahead and kept in the fridge for a day or 2.
Some comments about Ingredients
- Sesame Oil. In many of my posts, you will notice that there is a bottle of Korean sesame oil. Just use any Asian sesame oil which pleases you. I usually buy a large bottle of sesame oil and fill a small bottle for ease of use and this bottle was on hand.
- Fried Shallots. Instead of purchasing a packet of commercially prepared fried shallots you might want to know how to make them at home. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how it can be done.
- Ladies’ Fingers.Dish tastes best when you can get hold of tender young Ladies’ Fingers. Examine those in the photo. Try bending the tip of each ladies’ finger as a test for tenderness.
HINT. To keep away the sticky slime when this vegetable is washed, wash them whole and then slice them only just before cooking.
Preparation – Blanching the Ladies’ Fingers
STEP 1. In a medium size saucepan, over high heat, bring 3 Cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, prepare a medium basin of tap water to cool cooked ladies’ fingers. Place filled basin nearby.
STEP 2. Drop washed Ladies’ Fingers into the saucepan. The water temperature drops immediately so continue cooking over high heat till water comes back to boiling. Boil for 3 mins. Do not cover saucepan as covering will cause vegetable to turn yellowish. Use a spatula or a p[air of wooden chopsticks to turn vegetable around in boiling water so that they cook evenly.
STEP 3. Quickly lift cooked vegetable out of boiling water into the medium basin of water to stop cooking and keep the firmness and bite of the vegetable. Drain them once they have cooled. Cut off the stem part of the Ladies’ Fingers and place them attractively in a serving dish.
Sambal Hae Bee
Photo above shows a comparison between store bought Sambal Hae Bee on the left (“Heng’s” is a brand that was introduced to me and I found it very acceptable if home-made one is unavailable). The Sambal Hae Bee on the right is home-made. My helper makes a large batch of it once in several months. Click here for the recipe. It stores well in the fridge and it is eaten in so many different ways. We love it as a sandwich filling. Don’t despair if you have no time to make a home-made batch. On the local supermarket shelves you will find that there are so many brands selling commercially prepared Sambal Hae Bee.
- 250 gm young and tender Ladies’ Finger
- 2 rounded Tbsp of Sambal Hae Bee (either home-made or commercially prepared)
- 1 Tbsp fried shallots
- 1/2 Tbsp fried shallot oil
Garnish 1 Tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro leaves.
1. In a medium size saucepan, over high heat, bring 3 Cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, prepare a medium basin of tap water to cool cooked ladies’ fingers. Place filled basin nearby. 2. Drop washed Ladies’ Fingers into the saucepan. The water temperature drops immediately so keep cooking on high heat till water comes back to boiling. Boil for 3 mins. Do not cover saucepan as covering will cause vegetable to turn yellowish. Use a spatula to turn vegetable around in boiling water so that they cook evenly. 3. Quickly lift cooked vegetable out of boiling water into the medium basin of water to stop cooking and keep the firmness and bite of the vegetable. Drain them well once they have cooled. Cut off the stem part of the Ladies’ Fingers and place them attractively in a serving dish. Just before serving, sprinkle the Sambal Hae Bee and then the fried shallots on top of the cooked vegetable. Dish is served at room temperature.
Quick Simple meal. Serve this dish with cooked Thai Jasmine rice.
Expecting guests? What are their preference or dietary requirements? For your convenience, suggestions of dishes which are complimentary are listed below.
HINT: Try to use those ingredients which are already in the fridge, freezer or larder. For a sample weekly marketing list, click here.
1. Jin Hua Ham and Winter Melon Soup. Click here.
2. Lotus Root, Peanut and Pork Ribs. Click here
3. Radishes and Dried Squid. Click here.
4. Pork Stomach with Peppercorn. Click here
5. Tang Ho with Fishballs. Click here
6. Watercress and Red Dates. Click here.
1. Dry Assam Seafood. Click here
2. Fried Fish with Fermented Black Bean Sauce. Click here.
3. Stuffed You Tiao (Baked). Click here.
4. Prawns in Tomato Sauce. Click here.
1. Beef Rendang (spicy). Click here
2. Singapore Curry Chicken (spicy). Click here.
3. Paper Wrapped Chicken (Baked). Click here.
Vegetable, Tofu and Egg Dishes
1. Broccoli and Meat/Tofu Stir Fry. Click here.
2. Pork, Spinach and Egg Stir Fry. Click here.
3. Shanghai Cabbage with Oyster Sauce & Garlic. Click here.
By substituting sambal hae bee and fried shallots with shredded imitaton crab legs and a squeeze of some Japanese mayonnaise, this variation be complimentary to the Japanese dishes listed below.
1. Chawan Mushi. Click here.
2. Tofu no Shira-ae. Click here.
3. Pari Pari Style Chicken. Click here.
Dessert A plate of cold, freshly cut seasonal fruits is always appropriate. Perhaps you had time to make one of the desserts listed below?
1. Almond Jelly + Longans Click here.
2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.
3. Sweet Potato Dessert Soup. Click here.
4. Orange Agar Agar Wedges. Click here.
5. Sago Pudding. Click here.
6. Caramel Custard. Click here.