Crisp and Flavorful: Stir Fry Okra Perfection

Okra is a vegetable staple eaten in most of Africa. If you would like to try it for the first time, this is a great recipe! The Stir Fried Okra recipe is for spicy food lovers looking for a new recipe. You can also make it without the chilies if you prefer.

Mushroom Okra Derere Stir-Fry - ZimboKitchen


Stir fry okra is a culinary delight that brings out the best of this unique and versatile vegetable through the high-heat, quick-cooking technique of stir-frying. With its slender pods and mild taste, okra becomes a star in this method, retaining its vibrant color and crunch while absorbing a symphony of flavors. The process involves tossing okra in a hot wok or skillet with a medley of spices, sauces, and aromatics, resulting in a dish that's crisp, flavorful, and visually appealing.
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Africa
Servings 4 servings
Calories 100 kcal


  • 1 pan
  • 1 stove


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • large   yellow onion, diced
  • cloves   fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • tsp  jalapeno or red chilies pepper, diced (optional)
  • cups  frozen baby okra (cooked)
  • tbsp   lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a medium sized saucepan, bring one half cup water to a boil.
  • Add Salt and frozen baby okra, reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Drain all the liquid.
  • Heat a large pan on medium heat.
  • Add olive oil and onions and cook until soft before adding garlic and hot peppers. 
  • Cook for 1 extra minute.
  • Add chopped okra and lemon juice.
  • Cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve.



Using frozen baby okra speeds up this recipe, but you can buy fresh okra and cook it first before using in the stir fry. Frozen okra cooks quickly and can be found in the frozen vegetables section of your grocery store.
Keyword vegetables

Tips and tricks

Okra Stir Fry • Oh Snap! Let's Eat!

  • Choose Fresh Okra:
    • Select fresh, young okra pods that are firm, tender, and vibrant in color. Avoid okra that feels slimy or appears dull.
  • Prep and Dry:
    • Wash and thoroughly dry the okra before cutting to prevent excess moisture, which can lead to a slimy texture during cooking.
  • Trim the Ends:
    • Trim both ends of the okra pods before slicing to ensure even cooking and a neater appearance.
  • Slicing Technique:
    • Slice the okra into even-sized pieces to ensure consistent cooking. You can cut them into rounds, diagonal slices, or thin strips, depending on your preference.
  • Hot Wok or Skillet:
    • Use a well-heated wok or skillet to create the characteristic “wok hei” (breath of the wok) flavor and achieve a good sear.
  • High Heat:
    • Stir-fry okra over high heat to ensure quick cooking and retain its natural crunch. Cooking at a lower temperature can make the okra turn slimy.
  • Preheat the Wok:
    • Preheat the wok or skillet before adding oil. This prevents the okra from sticking and ensures an even cooking process.
  • Oil Choice:
    • Use high-heat cooking oils like vegetable oil, peanut oil, or sesame oil for stir-frying. These oils have higher smoke points, preventing burnt flavors.
  • Aromatics First:
    • Begin by stir-frying aromatics such as garlic, ginger, or onions to infuse flavor into the oil before adding the okra.
  • Toss and Stir:
    • Continuously toss and stir the okra while cooking to ensure even heat distribution and prevent sticking. Use a spatula or tongs to gently move the okra around.
  • Flavor Balance:
    • Balance flavors with a combination of sauces like soy sauce, oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce. Add a touch of sweetness with honey or brown sugar, and a hint of acidity with rice vinegar or citrus.
  • Add Veggies or Protein:
    • Enhance the stir-fry by adding other vegetables, proteins (like shrimp or tofu), or nuts for additional texture and nutrients.
  • Avoid Overcrowding:
    • Stir-fry in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the wok, which can lead to steaming instead of searing.
  • Quick Cooking:
    • Okra cooks rapidly, usually in 3-5 minutes. Test for doneness by biting into a piece to check for a tender yet crisp texture.
  • Garnish and Fresh Herbs:
    • Finish with chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, green onions, or Thai basil for a burst of freshness and color.

Nutritional ingredients of STIR FRY OKRA

Fresh Sautéed Okra and Egg – Spice the Plate

The nutritional content of stir-fried okra can vary based on portion size, the cooking method, and any additional ingredients used in the stir-fry. Here’s a general overview of the nutritional components of 100 grams (approximately 3.5 ounces) of cooked stir-fried okra:

  • Calories: Around 30-40 calories
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 7-9 grams, primarily from dietary fiber.
  • Fiber: About 2-3 grams, aiding in digestion and providing a sense of fullness.
  • Protein: Roughly 1-2 grams, contributing to muscle maintenance.
  • Fat: Negligible fat content, usually less than 1 gram.
  • Vitamins:
    • Vitamin C: Okra is a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports the immune system and skin health.
    • Vitamin K: Contributes to blood clotting and bone health.
    • Folate (Vitamin B9): Important for cell division and the formation of DNA.
  • Minerals:
    • Potassium: Supports fluid balance, muscle contractions, and blood pressure regulation.
    • Magnesium: Important for muscle and nerve function, as well as bone health.
  • Antioxidants:
    • Okra contains antioxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols, which help combat oxidative stress in the body.
  • Low Glycemic Index (GI):
    • Okra has a low GI, which means it has a slow impact on blood sugar levels.

Serving suggestions STIR FRY OKRA

Okra Stir Fry • Oh Snap! Let's Eat!

  • Steamed Rice or Fried Rice:
    • Serve stir-fry okra over a bed of steamed white rice or fragrant fried rice. The flavors of the stir-fry will complement the neutral base of the rice.
  • Quinoa or Couscous:
    • Opt for quinoa or couscous as an alternative to rice for added texture and a boost of protein.
  • Noodles or Pasta:
    • Toss stir-fry okra with cooked noodles or pasta for a fusion-inspired dish that combines flavors and textures.
  • Asian Greens:
    • Accompany the stir-fry with steamed or sautéed Asian greens like bok choy, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), or baby spinach.
  • Tofu or Tempeh:
    • Add protein by pairing stir-fry okra with sautéed tofu or tempeh for a complete vegetarian or vegan meal.
  • Grilled Chicken or Shrimp:
    • For a protein-packed option, serve stir-fry okra alongside grilled or sautéed chicken or shrimp.
  • Sesame Noodles:
    • Create a fusion dish by combining stir-fry okra with sesame-flavored noodles and a drizzle of sesame oil.
  • Crispy Tofu:
    • Enjoy the contrast of textures by pairing stir-fry okra with crispy tofu cubes or triangles.
  • Mixed Vegetable Stir-Fry:
    • Create a colorful and nutritious meal by incorporating stir-fry okra into a medley of other stir-fried vegetables.
  • Pickled Side:
    • Serve a small side of tangy and pickled vegetables to contrast the flavors of the stir-fry.
  • Yogurt or Raita:
    • Offer a cooling element by serving stir-fry okra with plain yogurt or a yogurt-based raita.
  • Fresh Herb Garnish:
    • Finish the dish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or mint to add brightness and aroma.
  • Crispy Shallots or Nuts:
    • Top the stir-fry with crispy shallots, toasted nuts, or seeds for an added crunch and depth of flavor.
  • Lemon or Lime Wedges:
    • Provide citrus wedges for diners to squeeze over the stir-fry to add a burst of freshness.
  • Dipping Sauces:
    • Offer a variety of dipping sauces, such as soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, or hoisin sauce, for diners to personalize their flavors.

Join us as we journey through the world of stir-fry okra, uncovering its history, demystifying its techniques, and exploring the myriad ways it can be customized to suit your palate. From its sizzling symphonies in the wok to the moment it graces your plate, stir-fry okra invites you to embrace the joy of cooking and the delight of sharing a beautifully crafted dish that resonates with tradition, innovation, and the universal love of good food.

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