This piquant Sambal Steamed Okra with a spicy sambal belacan and soy sauce dressing is full of umami flavor. Takes only 20 minutes to prepare.
In Malaysia, okra or ladies’ fingers as it is commonly known are often added to spicy and tangy fish curries. They are also frequently cooked like the ever popular Kangkung Belacan stir fry. Yet another popular okra dish is this Sambal Steamed Okra which takes only about 20 minutes to prepare if you have Sambal Belacan on hand.
There are many variations to the sambal dressing. The one I am showing you today is my Mom’s recipe. It is really tasty and I cook this dish often because the guys enjoy it very much. If you do not have sambal belacan on hand and wish for a shortcut, I have you covered. Please check out my Spicy Okra Salad to see what I used as a substitute. 😉
Dried shrimps are a key ingredient in this dressing. They have a very concentrated flavor and so a little goes a long way. Chopping and frying makes it fragrant and a little crispy, giving the dressing a little bit of crunch and texture.
Finally, a word on the okra. Mature okra can be woody. Always choose small, bright green colored ones. These are often more tender. Avoid the ones with the pointy ends broken off. This usually means that someone broke it off to test if that okra has past its prime. The grocer does not like people doing that because it spoils the lot for others. Simply use your judgement and select the ones you want and they should be just fine.
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- Rinse and drain okra. Cut off the stalks and trim the ends. Place in a steaming rack.
- Drain dried shrimp and chop coarsely.
- In a small saucepan, heat vegetable oil over low heat. Add dried shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and continue to stir fry for another 30 seconds.
- Place sambal belacan in a small bowl. Transfer cooked dried shrimps and garlic into the bowl. Add sweet soy sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Mix well and set aside.
- Place okra in a steamer and steam for 7 to 8 minutes. When pierced with a fork, okra should be tender. Transfer steamed okra to a shallow bowl.
- Spoon dressing over steamed okra. Serve immediately.
This Sambal Steamed Okra is best served with lots of steamed rice. Do give it a try.