Okra (Lady’s Fingers) And Anchovies Stir Fry

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Okra and anchovies stir fry

Okra and anchovies stir fry

Okra is one vegetable that I eat a lot since I was young. It is a very healthy vegetable. It is long and slender and I think that’s why it’s called ‘ladies’ fingers’ in Malaysia. My parents used to plant a lot of okra plants. There’s one type which is lighter green, bigger and longer. That species is the best in terms of texture and taste. Over here, I can only get the smaller and darker green type. They are not as delicious but it’s better than nothing.

The usual way we cooked it was to stir fry it with eggs like in Okra Fried With Egg or with tiny anchovies, called ‘ikan bilis’in Malaysia, which are absolutely delicious.  I love the tiniest anchovies for this dish. When we were young, we were all too happy to have stir fried okra with a lot of rice, whether fried with eggs or anchovies…….very filling and delicious.

This recipe is again simple and easy. All you need is a good wok or a thick based frying pan. The crunch, flavour and taste of the fried anchovies make this dish awesome.

Ingredients A
350g okra (sliced)
1C anchovies (washed and drained)
fried garlic oil

Ingredients B (seasoning)
1T light soya sauce
1t chicken stock granules
1T sugar
1t crushed chilies

Tiny anchovies before washed

Tiny anchovies before washed

Fried, crispy anchovies

Fried, crispy anchovies

Heat up some oil in a pan. Add the tiny anchovies and fry until crispy. Dish it up.

Frying the okra

Frying the okra

Add some garlic oil into the pan. Pour in the sliced okra. Fry until it’s cooked. Do not add water otherwise it will become slimy. When it’s cooked, add the seasoning and mix well. Pour in about 1/2 of the anchovies and stir through. Dish up and sprinkle the rest of the anchovies on top. Serve immediately with rice. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.

Do you like okra? How do you like it cooked? Please share, add and comment in the comment box below.

Other vegetable stir fry recipes that you may be interested :
Fried Zucchini With Eggs
Fried Garlic Green Beans
Creamy Mushrooms And Spinach Stir Fry
Shrimps And Bok Choy Stir Fry
Lamb And Bok Choy Stir Fry
Zucchini And Salted Fish Stir Fry
Leeks And Curried Chicken Stir Fry
Creamy King Prawns And Marrow Stir Fry
Chinese Cabbage With Turkey Mince Stir Fry
Asparagus With King Prawns

Quote of the day……

“Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages prevents great affairs from being accomplished.”


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tigerfish  on March 22nd, 2010

I like okra but have not tried this way of frying with anchovies.

Sushma Mallya  on March 22nd, 2010

sounds great, love the idea to adding crispy anchovies and making it a stir fry with okra…nice recipe mary…beautiful clicks as well

3hungrytummies  on March 22nd, 2010

With the added anchovies is making the dish even tastier! :)

The Little Teochew  on March 22nd, 2010

Okra was something I learnt to eat only in my teens. I had it as part of fishhead curry and I grew to love it this way. Previously, my parents introduced it to me as a simple stirfry dish, which didn’t appeal to me at all. After learning to eat it in a curry, I now love it, even just plain & steamed. :) Anchovies is a great idea, Mary. It gives crunch and balances the mushy texture of the okra!

the lacquer spoon  on March 22nd, 2010

Lovely dish again :) In Japan, we also use the similar baby anchovies called “jako” (sun-dried, not fried). And we eat okura daily too, simply mixing with ground Japanese yam or so. I occasionally cook stuffed okura curry. A lot to share in our food culture!

Mary  on March 22nd, 2010

@tigerfish - Give a try. It’s really delicious. I really like it :D

@Sushma Mallya - Thanks very much, Sushma! You are always very encouraging :D

@3hungrytummies - It is! I feel like cooking it again today :P

@The Little Teochew - Oh….now you make me crave for curry fish with okra. I think I should go and buy fish to cook this….as soon as possible…LOL :D My hubby really likes it, too. Hope you will like this dish fried with the anchovies.

@the lacquer spoon - Indeed we have so much similar things in our culture to share. I love Japanese food…so healthy and delicious :D

Drick  on March 22nd, 2010

a great way in cooking okra, but of course …. have never heard of lady fingers, okra is used in so many southern dishes but my two favorites is simply battered and fried and then the stewed okra with corn and tomatoes

caroline  on March 22nd, 2010

will try this out .keep on dishing gal

anncoo  on March 22nd, 2010

This looks great! I love okra, once my friend cook okra in boiling water, dish and add sambal chilli with lime over it.

SathyaSridhar  on March 22nd, 2010

Woooow,,dear sounds great and different anchovies with okra,,,looks superb and delicious,,,beautiful click dear,,,

Mary  on March 22nd, 2010

@Drick - Battered and fried sounds great. I would love to try that first. Thanks very much for sharing, Drick! :D

@caroline - Thanks very much for visiting and comment! Have fun cooking :D

@anncoo - Oh yes, now you’ve just reminded me. My mom used to cook it that way. She could eat lots of it. She made this very garlicky and lemony sauce to pour over it. I wasn’t very keen though :( … one of her rare dishes that I didn’t like.

@SathyaSridhar - Thanks very much, Sathya! Have a nice day :D

Patty  on March 22nd, 2010

Hi Mary! I LOOOVVEEEE okra, but have no idea how to cook it properly at home! This recipe looks like something I might be able to manage! I hope because it looks out of this world and delectably spicy and warm. Thank you as always for sharing!

Roti n Rice  on March 22nd, 2010

We are definitely on the same page. I just made a salad this weekend with okra and will be posting it real soon. Yours look delicious and very appetizing!

Tangled Noodle  on March 22nd, 2010

I have not been terribly successful cooking okra as it comes out a bit too ’slimy’, so I’m excited to see that you’ve addressed that in your recipe! And given that I’ve never cooked with fresh anchovies before, either, I’m eager to give this a try. 8-)

kristy  on March 22nd, 2010

Lucky you! Finally, found some lady fingers and some dried enchovies! You must have miss this yummy dish very much.

Nasi Lemak Lover  on March 22nd, 2010

Mary, lady finger is one of my favourite veggie, this is the usual way i cook, yummy!

shaz  on March 22nd, 2010

I love okra too, and can also only find the short stumpy kind here in Australia. I wonder if it’s just the weather affecting the growth? We used to have our okra very similar except without the anchovies but with some dried prawns instead. Using ikan bilis sounds so moreish!

5 Star Foodie  on March 22nd, 2010

Sounds like a terrific stir-fry! I need to cook with okra and anchovies more often!

TasteHongKong  on March 22nd, 2010

I came across some nice packs of okra in the market last week (it is not that common in our place), but lacked a good recipe in mind and therefore left it behind. Now glad that you share this here, thanks Mary.

fresh eggs?  on March 22nd, 2010

[...] Keep Learning Keep Smiling » Okra (Lady's Fingers) A&#1495&#1281 Anchovies … [...]

Kamalika  on March 22nd, 2010

Different preparations of Okra is quite common in our house..but this dish is totaly new to me….looks very delicious and healthy….colourful too…..

Treat and Trick  on March 22nd, 2010

Adding anchovies to okra I have not done before but this looks so yummy Mary….

sippitysup  on March 22nd, 2010

I’d love to see this anchovies before they were fried. Were they “fresh” or were they fillets and packed in oil.. or more in the Italian style of salt packed? I have a feeling they were tiny whole fish and I have never had them that way! Am I right? GREG

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[...] Keep Learning Keep Smiling » Okra (Lady's Fingers) A&#1495&#1281 Anchovies … [...]

Mimi  on March 22nd, 2010

I’ve never seen such small anchovies before. This sounds like a delicious reicpe.

Mary  on March 22nd, 2010

@Patty - Really lovely to know you love okra too. I have just bought another 2 packets just now. Going to enjoy cooking and eating it for dinner later. It’s tricky to cook but as long as you use a little more oil and don’t add water, you should be fine. Enjoy your cooking! :D

@Roti n Rice - Haha….same wavelength! :D Can’t wait to see your okra salad! Must be very delicious.

@Tangled Noodle - Tiny anchovies are very delicious when fried. Here it gives a very beautiful crunch that matches well with the okra. Give a try. I hope you can find this anchovies over on your side. I really like it :D

@kristy - Haha….really lucky lor…even though not the type of okra that I prefer. Still happy :D

@Nasi Lemak Lover - Lovely to hear that :D I hope to learn other ways of cooking it.

@shaz - Well, I don’t think it’s the weather. It’s the wrong species. We do get this type back home, too. Oh yes, it’s delicious with dried prawns. Would love to try that…mmmm Thanks very much for sharing :D

@5 Star Foodie - It is! It’s my favourite. Give a try :D

@TasteHongKong - Now you can try this recipe. Have fun cooking :D

@Kamalika - Thanks very much, Kamalika! :D I hoe to learn more okra recipes.

@Treat and Trick - Thanks very much! :D Give a try. Hope you like it.

@sippitysup - I have just put up the picture of the anchovies before they were fried. They look whitish and are very small. They were in the dry form. You can buy this in most Chinese shops though some may not have. I went to one Chinese shop yesterday and was really disappointed that they didn’t sell this :( I need to get back to bigger Chinese shops.

@Mimi - It is! Give a try, Mimi. I think you’ll like it. It’s my favourite :D

rebecca  on March 22nd, 2010

wow this is a great recipe we love okra will try it out thanks

Mary  on March 22nd, 2010

I’ve never used okra in this fashion. I’m intrigued now :-). It really looks like a delicious dish.

Erica  on March 22nd, 2010

I have to buy some okra! That sounds delicious. I see it at the market, but I don’t know how to cook it!

Mary  on March 22nd, 2010

@rebecca - Thanks very much, Rebecca! Have fun cooking :D

@Mary - Give a try. Hope you like it. I like it very much :D

@Erica - Now you can try it. I hope you like it. It is delicious if cooked right. I like it :D

Juliana  on March 22nd, 2010

Wow, nice way to cook okra…unfortunately I do not find okra often selling in this area…would love to try it with anchovies…looks delicious!

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[...] Keep Learning Keep Smiling » Okra (Lady's Fingers) A&#1495&#1281 Anchovies … [...]

Blackswan  on March 22nd, 2010

I love Okra but I normally fry them with sambal chilli. It’s simply delicious!

Little Inbox  on March 22nd, 2010

Normally I just stir fry okra with shrimps or dried shrimps in sambal belacan. At times, cook it in curry. That’s all I know, haha…

penny aka jeroxie  on March 22nd, 2010

I like the texture difference and I do the anchovies very often in my stir fry. it makes so much difference

tasteofbeirut  on March 22nd, 2010

Wow, I learned something! Never saw these anchovies and i was going to see if i could find them at the Vietnamese market! Looks like a delicious dish! I bought some okra too recently and was planning on making a dish from our region, but I am keeping yours in mind.

Jessica {The Novice Chef}  on March 22nd, 2010

This looks absolutely delicious!

noobcook  on March 22nd, 2010

I love dishes like this! and this is extra nice with the crispy anchovies. I love orka but seldom cook it because I’m the only one at home who eats it. now I am reminded to cook it for me hehe

Kristi Rimkus  on March 22nd, 2010

Hi Mary! I have some frozen Ocra in the freezer. I wonder if it would work as well?

lululu  on March 22nd, 2010

u know what, mary, i’m not a big fan of okra. but i can never have enough of those little dried anchovies. i remember when i was a kid, my grandma loved to have those to go with a bowl of plain congee!

citronetvanille  on March 23rd, 2010

OooooH I just love this dish, you know I never cooked Okra? what a shame, I know I would love this one with the mini anchovies, they add so much flavor to any dish! I live in a area with lots of Asian stores, so I might go and get those anchovies!

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on March 23rd, 2010

I never buy any okra as I have absolutely no idea how to prepare them…now I have it! Thanks, Mary!

SathyaSridhar  on March 23rd, 2010

Mary,,Please collect your gift from my blog.

Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes  on March 23rd, 2010

I like fried okra but haven’t tried it in any other way! This looks delicious!

Mary  on March 23rd, 2010

@Juliana - I don’t find it all the time here, too which is sad :( If they do sell and it’s fresh, you can bet I would be eating it almost everyday…haha :D

@Blackswan - Mmmm….I would love to try it with sambal chili. Sounds very delicious. I know my family will like that :D

@Little Inbox - I haven’t try it with dried shrimps yet. I’m going to try. Have to be very delicious. I love it in fish curry, too, especailly the assam fish curry….soooo good. I’m happy just thinking of it :D

@penny aka jeroxie - The next time I go to Chinatown you bet I’m going to buy many packets of this anchovies. I’ll be soon adding to a lot of dishes, too :D I love the crispiness, flavour and taste. Can even snack on them.

@tasteofbeirut - I hope you can find this anchovies over at your place. I failed to find it in quite a few Asian shops here. Looks like I can only get it from Chinatown which I don’t go often :( Would love to see how you cook your okra. I would love to learn more ways to cook it.

@Jessica {The Novice Chef} - Thanks very much for visiting and comment, Jessica! :D

@noobcook - Yeah…you can cook and enjoy it all alone…no one to fight with….haha :D

@Kristi Rimkus - I have never put okra in the freezer so I’m really not sure. But it’s always fun to experiment. It may turn out just as delicious :D

@lululu - Oh yes, now you reminded me. Those fried anchovies are just soooo awesome with congee. I have to cook that. Wait, I need to go and buy these anchovies again. I have been using it so much these few days. Thanks very much for the reminder! :D

@citronetvanille - Whah….you are very lucky! I wish I am surrounded by Asian stores! The main one in my place always run out of stock and takes ages to re-stock :( I just wonder how they do business. Have fun trying :D

@Angie@Angie’s Recipes - Hope you like it. It’s my favourite :D

@SathyaSridhar - Awwww….thanks very much. So sweet of you….greatly appreciate, Sathya! :D

@Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes - Give this a try. You may like it. It’s my favourite :D

Sarah, Maison Cupcake  on March 23rd, 2010

I never saw tiny anchovies like this before, I guess I need to head to some proper oriental shops in Chinatown in the West End to find them round here?

Conor @ HoldtheBeef  on March 23rd, 2010

Oh cool, thanks for this Mary! I was going to buy some okra the other day, as I love it when my friend cooks it (some magical Moroccan spicy way) but I didn’t as I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I love anchovies so I’ll have to give this a try!

yoursdeliciously  on March 23rd, 2010

Haven’t tried ikan bilis with okra. Got to try it!

peachkins  on March 23rd, 2010

Okra is my favorite veggie. I’m sure this is very tasty…

msmeanie  on March 23rd, 2010

I love okra. It is very common in Indian food as well. This looks like a great healthy dish.

Anh  on March 23rd, 2010

Yum! I never try okra this way. But I love anchovies so yeah, I’ll make this.

Carolyn Jung  on March 23rd, 2010

Love okra. And love anchovies. Would have never thought to pair the two together — until your post. I can see how they would compliment one another now.

Namitha  on March 23rd, 2010

I love okra.In India also we call this ladies finger :-)anchovies and okra will be a great combo

Faith  on March 23rd, 2010

Those anchovies look so good with okra — my hubby loves both anchovies and okra so I know he’d LOVE this dish! :)

Catherine  on March 23rd, 2010

This is such a lovely dish Mary! It looks absolutely deliciuos!

Divnia  on March 23rd, 2010

This is a wonderful way to serve okra. It’s very tasty and definitely needs rice for this. :)

yasmeen  on March 23rd, 2010

Tasty unique combo,never tried anchovies this way :D

Christine@Christine's Recipes  on March 23rd, 2010

When I first read your post title with “ladies’ fingers”, I thought it’s banana, heehee..
I heard this vegetable, Okra is very healthy, very expensive in Australia.

theUngourmet  on March 24th, 2010

To be honest, I haven’t had okra in so long, I’ve forgotten what is tastes like. This dish looks amazing. I’d love to give it a try!

cheah  on March 24th, 2010

This happens to be one of my favourite dish, like okra as well as those tiny anchovies which we call ’silver fish’, translated from ‘ngan yu chai’!

Mary  on March 24th, 2010

@Sarah, Maison Cupcake - If you go to the main Chinatown, you will surely be able to get them. I found that some smaller Oriental shops don’t sell them :( Hope you can find them.

@Conor @ HoldtheBeef - I heard so much about Moroccan food. I would love to try the Moroccan way next time. Must be very delicious. Have fun trying this one :D

@yoursdeliciously - I find it very delicious. Have fun trying :D

@peachkins - Lovely to know it’s your favourite too :D

@msmeanie - Oooh….I hope to learn the Indian way of cooking it. I’d love all the spices added. I can just imagine the beautiful flavour and taste…mmmm :D

@Anh - Give a try. Since you love anchovies, you may like this dish. Okra is a very healthy vegetables. I hope you like it :D

@Carolyn Jung - Time to take out your wok to cook this! I’ve been eating a lot lately :D

@Namitha - Oh….we seem to share the same language/description. So lovely to know that :D

@Faith - Oh, then he’d be so happy if you cook this for him. It’s one of my hubby’s top requested dish :D

@Catherine - Thanks very much, Catherine! :D

@Divina - It is. I’m actually very happy if I have this and rice only :D

@yasmeen - Thanks very much, Yasmeen! Hope you like this one :D

@Christine@Christine’s Recipes - Haha….what a wrong guess :D
It’s also expensive here.

@theUngourmet - Oh dear…time to train your taste buds again :D Have fun cooking!

@cheah - I bet you can get loads of anchovies okra there. See….I miss home again! :(

rosebelle  on March 24th, 2010

Gosh, I was at the supermarket yesterday and saw some really fresh okras but didn’t buy it because I couldn’t think of any way to cook it. Wish I had checked your blog before I head out yesterday. What a simple and delicious recipe. Will try it this weekend!

Tuty @Scentofspice  on March 24th, 2010

Thank you… thank you for sharing this recipe. I have been searching for a recipe for okra. My husband can eat the okra and I can eat the ikan bilis :-)

Mary  on March 24th, 2010

@rosebelle - It happened to me on a few occasions too. But really glad I learn so much because of blogging :D I learn new food and new ways of cooking. Have fun cooking!

@Tuty @Scentofspice - Haha…..both of you make such a wonderful pair! :D

Thas  on March 24th, 2010

This is new to me, I love fried okra, but never added anchovies to it. Sounds interesting, I guess dry shrimp goes well too.

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[...] seeing a beautiful picture of a okra and anchovy dish on Mary’s site, I changed my mind and attempted a little experiment. I loved Mary’s recipe, but obviously I [...]

Mary  on March 25th, 2010

@Thas - Oh yes, dried shrimps will work equally well. I’m going to try that too. We eat lots of that back home…mmm…delicious :D

Kitchen Butterfly  on March 25th, 2010

I would love to try this as I don’t cook okra in many ways….sticking to the having it in a ’stew’/ soup as we make in Nigeria. This looks great!

Bo  on March 29th, 2010

This is so different from the ways I have eaten okra. I would love to try this.

Mary  on March 29th, 2010

@Kitchen Butterfly - I only other way that I cook okra is in curry. It’s so long I have not cooked that. I would like to try your stew/soup method. Sounds delicious :D

@Bo - Thanks very much, Bo! :D

MarkSpizer  on May 2nd, 2010

great post as usual!

Mary  on May 2nd, 2010

@MarkSpizer - Thanks very much, Mark! :D

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