The Sichuan Mountain House in New York City was the source of inspiration for this spicy Sichuan okra salad. Although okra isn’t typically associated with Chinese cooking, this dish does a wonderful job showcasing its subtle taste and interesting texture.
Kitchen Time With Okra
Okra is a favorite ingredient of ours when cooking. We have one growing in our backyard, and before it bears fruit, it blooms with the most exquisitely gorgeous petals.
Okra is often fried (or, in my case, stir-fried) or stewed. Here, it’s just blanched before being used in the dish. Okra retains its bright green color even after being boiled for two minutes, which is the recommended cooking time.
The thickening and sticking properties of the sauce are a direct result of the okra, which also contributes its trademark sliminess to the dish.
Okay, now onto the recipe!
The recipe can now be presented.
- 10 ounces of fresh okra
- 3 scallions (2-inch/5cm lengths)
- 5 cloves of minced garlic
- 1-star anise
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons of hot water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon of sesame paste
- 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon of Sichuan chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
- Start a kettle of water boiling. Boil the okra for 2 minutes after adding it. Have an ice bath ready while the okra is cooking.
- Transfer the okra from the boiling water to the icy water using a strainer or slotted spoon. The okra ought to be a vivid shade of emerald green. While you make the sauce, let the okra chill in the cold water.
- Warm the oil, scallions, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, and Sichuan peppercorns in a small saucepan. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes over medium heat until the scallions are tender and the garlic is browned.
- Meanwhile, in a small, heat-proof bowl, combine the sesame seeds, chili flakes, and salt.
- When the oil has infused to your liking, drain it and add it to the dish of sesame seeds and chili flakes. Add the boiling water, light soy sauce, sugar, and sesame paste, and mix well.
- Spread the okra out in a serving dish and drizzle the sauce on top. Serve!