9th Anniversary + Okra with Garlic dressing

No.188

My life as blogger started in June 2007 and this year I am celebrating the 9th anniversary. I counted today to find out I have written 2300 blog posts in total in these 9 years! These blog posts have given me many different opportunities and I have met different people from different countries and I am so very grateful for that. Blogging is a matter of connecting and sharing and I thank you those who faithfully follow me here on my blog and on my Facebook page and Instagram. Thank you so much.

Now this blog “Rie’s Bento and Cooking” has become  one of “the useful websites in Norway” chosen by the Norway-Japan Society. I have not been so good at updating this blog regularly but I will be happy if you find any useful information or recipes. If you read Japanese, please visit my blog “Rie’s Bento and Cooking Japan”, it is updated everyday and is now ranked No.29 out of 32894 cooking blogs in all Japan!

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Today I am writing a new recipe. I had a cooking class yesterday in Oslo and I made this recipe for the class. If Okra is a new vegetable for you, this post is for you. I wrote it for someone who is not so familiar with this vegetable yet.  The recipe is meant to be a cold salad but when we made this in the lesson yesterday some people said they liked it warm. So I hope you can try both and find your favorite way. Enjoy!!

Okura Salad

Okura, which is called “Okra” or “Ladies’ Fingers” in English, is a widely available vegetable we eat in Japan and we call it “OKURA” in Japanese. We do get it in Oslo as well at Chinese/Vietnamese/Turkish stores in town but maybe many of you are not so sure if you can prepare it properly. There are many vegetables like that in the multicultural food market in Oslo and wouldn’t it be fun to learn new vegetables? In my cooking class I would like you to explore and try to change your conception. It is also very useful and necessary to explore with new food when you try to cook Japanese food with only locally available food ingredients in Oslo. So let’s start with Okura.

There are many different ways to cook this green vegetable in the world. Some prefer to cut them small and stew together with other vegetables, some countries deep fry it and eat with a strong sauce. Today we will simply cook Okura and marinate it in a soy-sauce-based marinade with fried garlic.

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I buy Okura at the Chinese store SCANASIA in town (Address: Storgata 27, 0182 Oslo) and it comes in a package. If I go to a turkish store, I find Okura in an open box and people can pick as many okura as one likes and buy them by weight. However, I often find these Okura not so attractively fresh. When people try to grab them they tend to press by their fingers and this leaves brown spots on the pod of Okra. So I prefer to buy a packaged one.

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Fresh Okura are firm. I recommend you not to pick large Okura ( they are usually tough and do not have any taste) nor too small Okura (not matured). Be selective.

When you prepare Okura, there are three important things to remember before you cook them:

1. Trim the hard stem but do not cut off the ends. I will show you how to do it.

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2. Prepare the pod – rub it with salt to remove fuzziness before cooking.

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3. Today we are going to boil Okura in boiling water. Some recipes say you should plunge them in ice water after they are cooked but I prefer to cool them in air.

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Ingredients for 4 people
Okura                                         25, trimmed and prepared
Salt

Sesame oil                                  1 table spoons
Garlic                                           2 cloves (sliced)
Ginger                                         1 piece about 5 cm long (grated)
Soy sauce                                   2 table spoons
Water                                          1.5 table spoons
Sugar                                          2 tea spoons
Green onion                              2 (minced)
Lime                                             1

How to make :
1. Preheat a fry pan. Add some sesame oil.

2. Put the garlic and fry them for 4-5 min. Do not burn them!

3. Mix soy sauce, water and sugar in a cup and mix. Pour into the fry pan. Bring to a boil. Take it off the heat and transfer into a container. Add the grated ginger.

4. Boil water in a large pot. Add a pinch of salt. Cook Okura for 7 minutes. Drain. Place them into the container. Sprinkle the minced green onion and marinate in the marinade for at least 3 hours. Chill well. Squeeze 1 lime and pour the juice right before you serve.

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Bon appetite!!
xxx Rie

 

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