Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sambal Lady Fingers

The MIL and I were discussing what vegetable dish to make for dinner. After going through the vegetables I had in my fridge, we decided to cook okra / lady fingers. I usually cook my okra/lady fingers the only way I know it's fish curry.  MIL was thinking about a stir fry... However, we ended up making the sambal okra / lady fingers after seeing a mouthwatering picture of sambal lady fingers in one of my nonya cookbook. We used that picture and recipe as an inspiration to make this dish!

My MIL was kind enough to cook us a big batch of "Dried Shrimp Sambal" or more fondly known in Hokkien as "Sambal Hae Bee. We used that as part of the ingredients for this recipe; instead of using regular dried shrimp. So, if you happen to have some delicious homemade (or store-bought) "sambal hae bee", give this recipe a try!!!  Mixing all the ingredients needed for the sambal, I couldn't wait to dig in... The sambal tasted sooo good!!!! The amount of sugar and lime in the recipe is totally up to your personal preference. The hint of minced kaffir lime leaves and roasted belacan powder gives it a nice aroma. The spicy, sweet, sour and fragrant sambal reminded me of tom yam! I had plenty of rice that day... and happily cleaned the plate of leftover sambal. It's so addictive and appetizing, I could eat another plate of it! Here's the recipe..... I hope you like it as much as I do! Nom..Nom..Nom..!

  • 15-16 Lady Fingers / Okra, Top and Tip Trimmed
  • 2 Tsp Oil 
Sauce Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp Sambal Oelek
  • 2 Tsp Belacan Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Homemade Dried Shrimp Sambal 
  • Juice from 1 Lime
  • 3-4 Kaffir Lime Leaves, Finely Minced
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 3-4 Tsp Sugar (Adjust accordingly)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Tsp Fried Shallots (Optional) 

In a wok, heat some water over medium high heat and place a rack in the wok. Arrange the okra/lady fingers in a single layer in a shallow bowl and drizzle with some oil. Once, the water in the wok starts to boil, place the bowl of okra / lady fingers and cover the wok. Let the okra / lady fingers steam for about 5-7 minutes until tender. The okra / lady finger will turn a darker shade of green.

While the okra / lady fingers are steaming, mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Adjust the sugar and lime accordingly to get your preferred level of sourness and sweetness. I like my "sambal" to be a little sour, so I use about 3-4 tsp of sugar to mix with the juice from the huge lime I used.

Once the okra / lady fingers are cooked, pour the sambal mixture onto the steamed okra / lady fingers. For optimum flavor, gently cut a small vertical slid in the middle of steamed okra, gently pry it open with a small teaspoon and stuff some of the sambal into the okra / lady fingers. Pour remaining extra samba over the okra / lady fingers and sprinkle with optional fried shallots. Serve with plenty of warm white rice!!Enjoy!

June's Notes: If you do not have "sambal hae bee" at home, I think you could probably use some toasted chopped dried shrimp. The flavors might not be as intense, but shouldn't be too bad. I'll have to try this version and let you know the results! =)
Looking at the picture of sambal lady fingers again, make me really hungry!!! Maybe I'll make another batch today.....Slurp! 

Simply June 


lisaiscooking said...

The colors are beautiful, and the sauce sounds amazing! I'm always look for other ways to serve okra, and I can't wait to try this.

Simply June said...

Thanks, Lisa! I'm loving this dish.. can't wait to make another batch soon.

tigerfish said...

Woooo, the sambal must be so robust making this otherwise plain okra so much more appetizing. Sometimes, without the toasted haebee, I just drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil over steamed okra and it is quick, easy and very flavorful too (if the okra is very fresh!)

Mei said...

I used dried shrimp before.. Soak them then grind and toast, not bad but sounds like yours is yummier especially with the hae bee aroma. Reading this makes my mouth watery!

Simply June said...

Tigerfish: Will try it with soy szue and sesame oil next time.
Mei: I'm going to try using dried shrimp next.. bet it's still pretty good.

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