Friday, July 20, 2012

Lady’s Fingers/Okra 羊角豆/秋葵

From garden to table - Lady’s Fingers/Okra

The short one was normal okra purchased from market

Following my previous gardening post, this post I wish to showcase one of my successful crops from my recent gardening experience. The star of the day is Lady’s Fingers /Okra.
This tropical plant with its edible green seed pods is commonly known as "lady's fingers" in South East Asian region. However to the westerners especially in United States they are branded as Okra. Okra has high content of fibre and is also known to be high in antioxidants. It may even be eaten as part of a weight loss diet since it is both fat-free and cholesterol-free. However, some may not like the gooey slime inside of an okra pod. This substance is called "mucilage" which is made up of protein, carbohydrate and fibre molecules.
There are many ways to cook lady’s fingers. In Malaysia okra is commonly used as vegetable ingredients in spicy dishes especially curry, stir-fried with sambal belancan or steamed and eaten as salad with sambal. For the Chinese in Malaysia, other than stir-frying and steaming, we like to stuff fish paste in it and boil with a selection of vegetables and tofu and to be served in soup. We call it Yong Tau Foo, one of the signature dishes of Hakka cuisine. In the Japanese cuisine, deep fried tempura okra is another easy recipe to make.
Both hubby and I love lady’s fingers; it is one of our “must buy” in our weekly marketing list. When I resumed my gardening interest, one of the plants that I wanted to grow was Okra. Ten over years ago, I planted Okra in our front yard and it was a huge success. We always harvested more than we could consume and had to give away to friends and neighbours.
I was so pleased when one of my neighbours, an old former farmer offered his okra seeds to me when he saw me clearing and plowing the plot of land into garden bed a few months ago. I told him I wanted to cultivate a piece of own homegrown vegetables and herbs garden. In supporting my wills, he shared about 8 of his okra seeds with me and some with my next door Auntie who is also a gardening lover. Three of us, started to plant the seeds at about the same time. After a week, out of the 8 seeds, 6 germinated but only 4 survived, my successful rate was about 50%.

When I checked with my neighbours, I was surprised to learn from the ex-farmer neighbor that he only had 4 survived out of 30 seeds he planted. Even worse for the lady neighbour, none of her okra seeds survived! I guessed I should be very proud of my result! J
Okra flower and new pod

The okra I planted is longer breed, 2 times longer than normal type purchased from market

The 2 longer okra/lady fingers harvested from my garden

Time to get the harvested crops to the table!

A pan fried fish

Curry paste - click to get the recipe

Fresh mint leaves from garden to garnish

Curry fish with steam okra/lady fingers

Serve with white rice, let's eat!


  1. Pheow, you got me hungry looking at your fish curry so i am going to try make some. referring to your chili paste recipe, i usually mix dried and fresh red chillies. i see you only use dried chili, is there a difference in taste or is it just preference?

    1. Heah,
      Well, my auntie told me she prefers to use fresh chili more to enhance color of the sambal, she felt fresh chili tend not so spicy and best for making fresh sambal chili, however for longer storage purpose she advised to use dried chili.

      Well, especially in overseas fresh red chili very expensive and hard to get too, when I were in Auckland, I saw one red chili selling at NZ$1 = RM2.5!

  2. is this plant available in Auckland? if yes, do you know where I can get it?

    1. Yes, You can get this in Auckland especially from the Asian grocery shops, ie. Simply Fresh chain shops.

    2. thanks. time for shopping in Auckland again



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