The okra is quickly cooked in a peppercorn and chili pepper infused hot oil until slightly charred on the outside. The dish has a smoky and spicy savory flavor that is almost as good as a roasted one. It uses only five ingredients and takes five minutes to cook. Isn’t it a perfect dish for a busy weekday?
Okra is becoming more popular in Beijing lately, and I’m glad to see that even my neighborhood vegetable market sells it sometimes. I wasn’t so familiar with how to cook okra until recently, so I have been experimenting with it by employing various Chinese cooking techniques. Some of the experiments didn’t turn out so great, but I loved this simple stir-fry a lot. It uses peppercorn and chili pepper to infuse hot oil with a pungent aroma. The okra is cooked quickly and gets a smoky, spicy, and tangy flavor with a simple splash of soy sauce.
For daily home cooking, my family really likes to keep things simple. If you look at this dish, you’ll get an idea of what we actually cook and eat on a daily basis. Instead of adding various types of vegetables to a dish, sometimes a single veggie yields better results, and it’s just just plain faster to cook.
Unlike roasting veggies in the oven, stir-frying requires no preheating or long cooking times to get a dish on the table. Rather than chopping and cooking a bunch of different veggies, I tend to cook very quick stir-fried dishes that use just one or a few ingredients on a daily basis. Like this easy okra stir-fry, for example, where you need only ten minutes and a few ingredients to make wonderfully flavored veggies.
Like almost all Chinese stir fried dishes, this one uses a simple technique called “qiang guo” (炝锅), which means to add pungent spices and herbs to hot oil before cooking, to infuse the oil with a nice aroma. Think about the simple Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (pasta with garlic and oil). You only need the garlic infused olive oil and a pinch of fresh herbs to cook a very flavorful dish.
By using this technique, even if you just season the dish with a pinch of salt at the end, it will have a more complex taste. The ingredients that can be added to the oil include green onion, ginger, garlic, peppercorn, and chili pepper. In simple recipes like Chinese style green vegetables, kung pao chicken, and cabbage stir-fry, qiang guo is used to add tons of flavor to the ingredients and make the dishes “taste like China”.
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Four-Ingredient Okra Stir-fry
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
- 2 chili peppers , dried
- 10 (200 grams / 7 ounces) okra , chopped
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
- Heat oil in a wok (or nonstick skillet) over medium heat until warm. Add Sichuan peppercorn and cook until fragrant and dark, about 1 minute. Turn to lowest heat and use a spatula (or ladle) to scoop out the peppercorns and discard them.
- Break chili peppers into 2 to 3 parts and add them into the skillet. Stir a few times.
- Turn to medium high heat (high heat if using electric stove) and add the okra to the skillet. Stir quickly to coat okra with oil, about 1 minute. Swirl in the soy sauce and stir to mix well. Cook and stir until the okra is cooked through and charred on the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. If the skillet starts to smoke intensely, lower to medium heat during stir-frying. If you can’t hear the vibrant sizzling, turn back to high heat.
- Transfer to a plate and serve warm.
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Questions and Reviews
This looks beautiful. Okra is readily available where I live, so I’ll have to try it. Most people deep fry okra which I don’t love Thanks!
This is such a pretty dish, Maggie! I love it! I never buy okra, cuz I don’t know how to cook them, but I love pickled ones!
Hey Maggie!! How have you been?? Love your recipe. Skip the soy saice and thats how mom nakes it. Makes ne nostalgic 🙂
This dish is so pretty! I never really appreciated okra until I moved to the American south, but they’re really quite delicious and surprisingly versatile. Your recipe looks like a fantastic way to prepare them and I love the heat in there.
I usually have breaded fried okra, but this one looks 100 times more delicious! Looks fresh and beautiful! Love it!
I LOVE okra and almost never see recipes for it. This looks awesome, Maggie!
Can I just say how glad I am that I found you? I really love these incredibly simple recipes you share that I never would have thought to make and are too simple for celebrity chefs to share. But these are the day to day staples I need! I might not have okra. But I use recipes like this with whatever I have in the fridge!! I love it. Thank you for sharing!!
You’re totally right, you can use all types of veggies with this method. The one I like the most is the stir fried cabbage. And yep, these are my day to day staples. There was one second I thought, hmmm, this is too simple to share on the blog. But now I’m glad I did it anyway 🙂
Okra is one veggie I never think of cooking but these pictures have me craving it right now. Thanks for the okra inspiration!
Hi Kristen, thanks for stopping by and drop a message! I thought the texture of okra is weird at first, but I’m totally hooked up now! Happy cooking 🙂
I never ate these vegetables okra and do not know what they taste. In our country there but looks good.
oh i can’t wait to try the stir fry with okra!! i’m southern, love okra!
what plugin do you use for your pop up newsletter sign up?
Hi Lindsay, I use OptinMonster (http://optinmonster.com/) basic plan. You can set up to let the pop up show up after the reader spending certain time on the site, or when they visit the second page, without showing up again to the same user after certain days (I set 30 days). It’s a bit pricey but I like it 🙂
I have always been a BIG fan of okra having been encouraged by my mother to eat the vegetable.
It’s also said to have a lot of health benefits as well.
As a working woman who has very little time for prepping and cooking, I loved the simplicity of your recipe. Though I have been regularly cooking Okra, I usually cook it in an Indian style (tumeric is used as also fenugreek sometimes), so this recipe (in Chinese style) is new and hopefully very useful for me.
I am dying to try this today or tomorrow.
I’m so glad to hear you like the recipe Choten! I totally agree with you. I love to keep my vegetable dishes simple and flavorful. These are the things I cook daily and I don’t have enough to deal with complicated seasoning. I believe these okras will taste great with a turmeric seasoning. I’d love to try that out next time!
Happy cooking and hope your dish turns out great 🙂
yum! I just made okra for the first following most of this recipe (I had to substitute the peppercorn) + adding some cherry tomatoes. Was a success; i will definitely make more! thanks for sharing : )
Adding cherry tomatoes sounds yum! I’m glad to hear you like this dish Fay. And thanks for taking time to leave a comment! 🙂
A note to those who do not raise their own okra. It is real easy to get tough or woody okra and only one pod in a dish will turn people off. I find if I can pop over the tip end of the pod then it will be tender if it splits up and down it will be woody. You can check this at your market also. Good receipt for when you do not want to mess up the kitchen with a lot of grease smells Enjoy
Most. Amazing. Okra. Ever!!
Much, much better than fried or stewed.
(Very spicy, which I love, but I have to use less spice for the family.)
Marrie, I love your blog and all the recipes I’ve cooked (dozens)! Apologies for leaving a review when I haven’t yet tried this okra recipe. I’m here looking for a recipe that’s similar to a dish I had at Viet fusion restaurant in California. I haven’t found anything that is a dry type sautee. It is described as: Spicy Okra – charred chili flakes, spicy fermented soybean, garlic, peanut. Any suggestions? Thank you.
I think it might be cooked with fermented black bean paste or another type of fermented sauce.
The recipe might like this one with some added chili flakes: https://omnivorescookbook.com/stir-fried-bitter-melon/
But I cannot say for sure without seeing or tasting it.
What is a good substitute for the sichuan pepercorn? Thanks
Easy, delicious, and healthy!
We love okra, and this is the simplest and best way we’ve prepared it. The ingredients shine! Thanks for sharing this recipe.
So simple yet so satisfying. I had some celery left over that I chopped up and added with the okra. Yum! Thank you for this and your many other recipes
As a resident of the American South, I was very used to a breading on my pan-fried okra. I tried your recipe this evening with some freshly cut, young okra. My husband was a little suspicious of a new recipe. I used some fresh habanero peppers from my pepper garden. The results were AMAZING! My husband loved it, too. I only used about half of the okra that I had because it was a new recipe but I will definitely be making this again tomorrow night with the rest! It hits ALL of the marks… beautiful, easy, AND DELICIOUS!! Thanks for your recipe!!