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This simple stir-fried okra side dish is a healthy, delicious, and foolproof way to serve okra. Asian aromatics meet the natural crunch of okra, making a zesty celebration of simplicity and taste – and it only takes 15 minutes to make!
Another delicious way to cook okra is our orange balsamic roasted okra recipe.
This vibrant green veggie is so simple, yet so satisfying! Okra is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked in many ways – this particular okra stir fry recipe is a perfect complement to any Asian-inspired dinner. The perks don't stop there: this healthy and flavor-packed dish takes only 15 minutes to whip up!
- Okra: Find it fresh in the vegetable section of your grocery store, or at farmers market. Okra grows in the warm season, but if you're craving it in the colder months, most grocery stores sell frozen okra, too.
- Coconut oil: While coconut is our go-to, you could also use peanut oil. Both are compatible with the Asian flavors in this dish and have a high smoke point, so it won't break down at the higher temperatures that okra cooks best in. Avocado oil, grape seed oil or canola oil work, too.
- Aromatics: This stir-fry calls for beautiful Asian aromatics such as ginger, shallots, garlic, and chilies.
- Toppings: Squeeze some tangy lime and throw down some sesame seeds, cilantro, and a pinch of sea salt to complete this dish.
How to make stir fried okra
- Cut the okra in half lengthwise and then sear it in coconut oil. This step gets the okra nice and crispy!
- Now comes the aromatics! Add ginger, garlic, shallots, and chilis to the pan for major flavor.
- A squeeze of lime juice, some sesame seeds, cilantro, and a little salt are all you need to finish this okra recipe!
Tips for cooking okra
Okra has a distinct texture and can sometimes get a bad rap for being slimy or gooey. In some dishes, like soups or stews, this is actually a great natural thickener. But the goal for okra in stir fry is to keep it slightly crunchy and crisp! Follow these tips to avoid the gooey-ness:
- High heat: Sear the okra quickly, aiming for a cook time of 5-7 minutes. The goal is to get a nice char on the skin, searing them rather than steaming them. To do this, cook them in two batches to avoid overcrowding.
- Trim the ends: The stem ends and tips can release mucilage when cooked, the substance responsible for the goo! Trim them off before searing, immediately before cooking.
- Dry it out: Give your okra pods a pat down with paper towel before searing. Moisture is the enemy of crispiness!
- Flavorful friends: Okra is a flavor sponge, absorbing what else is in the pan. This works great for the Asian flavors in this stir-fry, but be mindful of the amount of oil as okra can be absorbent. The lime also helps deter the slimy texture.
- Don't over-stir: Keep things moving in the pan but avoid constant stirring.
- Serve it hot: For the best texture, serve the stir-fried okra immediately after cooking!
What to serve stir-fried okra with?
The green char of the okra makes it a crisp, fresh, and nutritious side to complement heavier proteins. Get your hands sticky with these glazed hoisin chicken drumsticks or honey sriracha chicken which you can make alongside ginger rice. Or, indulge in this delicious maple glazed pork belly with crispy crackling.
Can I use frozen okra?
Frozen okra can be great if you're craving it out of season – just thaw it out completely and pat it down with paper towels to make sure it's dry before cooking.
How many chilies should I use?
Two chilies in this dish are spicy and burn your tongue (in the most delightful way!) If you are less of a masochist, you'll want to use fewer chilies, or perhaps just remove their fiery seeds.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (divided)
- 10 ounces okra (cut in half lengthwise)
- 1 inch piece of ginger (julienned)
- 2 medium shallots (thinly sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
- 1-2 red chilies (thinly sliced)
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 handful cilantro (roughly chopped)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Work in 2 batches to cook the okra. Melt 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half the okra, cut side facing down, and cook for 1 minute.2 tablespoons coconut oil, 10 ounces okra
- After 1 minute sprinkle half the ginger, shallots, garlic, and chilies over the okra. Sauté, occasionally shaking the pan to toss the okra, for about 5 minutes, or until the okra has browned well. Set the okra aside in a bowl and then repeat again to cook the rest of the okra.1 inch piece of ginger, 2 medium shallots, 2 cloves garlic, 1-2 red chilies
- Plate the okra, squeeze some lime juice over the top, and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, and a pinch of sea salt.1 lime, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 handful cilantro, 1 pinch sea salt
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.