Folksy Steamed Okra Salad
As it is probably one of the least liked vegetables next to ampalaya (bitter gourd), we’re writing this with a glimmer of hope that those who are not fond of it might give awesome okra a chance. Yes, bitterness is to ampalaya, as slime is to okra. It’s that unique texture that can put some people off, whether they be kids or grown-ups.
The flavor of okra isn’t really so bad, especially if you cook it right. You wouldn’t want to over cook okra because it gets soggy and gooey. It’s also nice to use the young tender ones, because they’re softer, have less goo, and are somewhat sweet, more so when freshly picked.
The mature okra has bigger seeds, is tougher, and more chewy, but you should be able to bite through its fibers. These are actually nice with Ilocano Pinakbet—a staple northern stew of lowland garden vegetables, made tasty with fish sauce or paste. The dish also features slices of eggplants, ampalaya, string beans, and cubed squash. Ilocanos are believed to be industrious people who love their vegetables, which is probably why they don’t get fat. They often have their own garden plots and grow their own food, wherever they may be in the world.
Young tender okra becomes perfect simply with steaming, with a savory, sour, or spicy sauce to go with it. Farm folks cook okra efficiently by placing it on top of nearly cooked steaming rice, so that the okra cooks in time with the rice, then is served with sliced fresh tomatoes and grilled river fish. Our okra recipe was inspired by fond memories of farm life—lunch picnics with a lush view of carefully cultivated rice paddies and rustic intervals of trees, hills, and streams.
Enjoy this Steamed Okra Salad to help you feel full, nourished, nostalgic of folksy farms, and maybe motivated to grow your own food, too.
Steamed Okra Salad
Makes 3-4 Servings
|Okra, cooked in boiling water or steamed for 6 minutes
|red onion, peeled and cut into thin strips
|red tomatoes, sliced thinly and seeded
|small siling labuyo, chopped (optional)
|For the dressing:
|Mama Sita’s Distilled Cane Vinegar
|Mama Sita’s Toyo & Kalamansi
|salt to taste
1. Cut the ends of okra and make a slit to remove the seeds inside. Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
3. Chill the salad and serve.