Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Okra the Japanese way

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of okra is "slimy". But this grilled version is anything but slimy. You need even sized baby okra about 2 to 3 inches max in length. These are so tender that you don't even need to trim them. I can only find them at this time of the year in farmers markets in the US. In India, there is another kind which are dark green and narrow and those would be great too.

I would have never thought of grilling okra till we went to a Japanese restaurant in Singapore and since my husband is vegetarian, a friend of ours who speaks Japanese ordered everything vegetarian for us. Amongst the many things that we liked were these grilled baby okra, grilled shisito peppers and grilled scallions, all on skewers and very lightly spiced.

Plan on atleast 10 per person since they are terribly addictive.

Grilled Okra Japanese style

1/2 lb baby okra, about 2 inches long (there were 21 pieces)
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Japanese chili powder (Shichimi togarashi***)

  1. Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat.
  2. Wash and dry the okra. Toss them in a bowl with sesame oil, salt, and chili powder and let them marinate for 15 minutes. 
  3. Place the marinated okra on the grill and cook the okra for about 5 minutes on each side till they have nice grill marks. Serve immediately.
 Serves 2

 ***A Japanese spice blend that typically includes red chile flakes, dried orange peel, white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, nori (seaweed) flakes, poppy seeds and ginger. Actual ingredients may vary depending on the brand. If you don't have access to this blend, you could make your own from this link http://www.food.com/recipe/shichimi-togarashi-japanese-spice-powder-198955


  1. Thanks for the tip on grilled okra! Had never heard of it but will have to try and make Suvir Saran's recipe that way!

  2. Tried this last night. It's the best recipe I've found for okra, thank you!