This spicy Szechuan roasted okra recipe is super easy and perfect for spice lovers. I used a bottled Szechuan sauce you can find in any Asian grocery store isle and a sprinkling of crushed red peppers. You can leave the okra whole or slice them in half if you want more seasoning-to-okra ratio. They roast up beautiful and tender; even the larger ones that seem tough when boiled. As for the “slime” okra is famous for, you won’t even notice it when you roast them up. They are sweet and delicate and have a delicious okra flavor.
I was an okra lover before, but now, roasted okra is my new favorite snack. Okra has been available in my grocery store for the past month now, and I’ve been bringing a bunch home every week, trying new flavors and combinations.
So far, I made soy & garlic glazed okra. A Parmesan and garlic okra recipe will be posted soon. I can’t figure out which one is my favorite, but this recipe for spicy Szechuan okra was my husband’. He is not an okra fan, but he ate these like candy, so I must be doing something right! They make a great side dish or unique appetizer everyone will talk about. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/190 degrees C
Wash and dry okra. Cut off stems just above the line where the stem attaches to the body of the okra. Slice in half or leave whole.
Place the okra on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and Szechuan sauce. Toss with your hands to coat. Place into the oven and roast for 20 minutes, turning once. (If roasting whole okra, you may need another 5 minutes). Remove from the oven when okra is lightly browned and tender.
Toss with crushed red pepper flakes and salt (optional) to taste.
Okra holds a special place in my heart. I grew up eating it in the grossest way. While most people try to cook okra in a way that will make it less slimy, my mother encouraged–even reveled in it. We ate okra boiled whole in salted water. Nothing else. You ate it in a bowl with the slimy “sauce” poured on top.
Doesn’t that sound good?
My dad hated the stuff. Anyone who tried it hated the stuff, and it took me a very long time to figure out that maybe it wasn’t the okra that was so disgusting. Maybe it needed to be cooked a different way.
This recipe for roasted okra with soy and garlic glaze is simple. It doesn’t hide the okra. It actually highlights it. The sweet okra flavor is more pronounced. The texture is tender—not slimy. Each little pod is beautifully shellacked in golden soy sauce, split open to reveal the little seeds inside.
This is one of those recipes I will make over and over because it’s that good. It’s eat-the-whole-batch-yourself-good. If you are one of the few people in the world who love okra, and want your family to love it too, this is your recipe.
There are only four ingredients at work in this recipe, but one of them is a little harder to find. Dark soy sauce (you can substitute regular soy if that’s all you have). Dark soy sauce is reddish-brown in color and thick like molasses (but not sweet). You can find it in Asian markets for a few dollars. Regular soy sauce and the “light” soy sauce are thin, saltier and better for adding at the end of cooking. Dark soy sauce is better for slow cooking and for giving sauces deep color and flavor. You can spoon it over roasts or duck to form a beautiful glaze. It works well with vegetables, too because it “sticks” better.
Let me know if you give this recipe a try. I’d love to hear about it. I’d also love to hear your favorite way to eat okra. Please share!
Wash and dry okra. Cut off the hard stem and “head” of larger okra. Slice lengthwise. On a large sheet pan, mix okra, olive oil, soy sauce and garlic powder. Arrange in a single layer and roast for 15-20 minutes, flipping twice, until okra is tender and rich brown on the edges. Taste and sprinkle with salt if necessary. Serve warm.