Ensaladang Okra at Dilis (Okra and Dried Anchovies Salad)

Since July is Nutrition Month, KCC’s hosts Kai and Isabel’s challenge is to “cook something that is pampahaba ng buhay and that should be a part of our cooking menu habang buhay.   It should be nutritious, and must contain vegetables or fruits, but not necessarily vegetarian.   We may not like it – it may have been forced upon us by our elders when we were young, para pampalaki.”

I was one of those kids who would eat anything given to them; however slow it would take me to finish a meal.   There were only a few things I didn’t like so it’s quite easy to remember.  On top of that short list were saluyot and okra; I just couldn’t take the gooey slime of these vegetables.  When served with pinakbet, I had no qualms whatsoever taking all the ampalaya slices while my sister would take as much okra as she could.  I was in my late 20s when I decided to give this ‘mucilaginous’ vegetable another try.  Oh my gulay!  It’s not so bad after all, especially when cooked crisp to the bite.  The best way I can describe it is to liken it to crunchy asparagus with hollow core semi-stuffed with a bit of goo.  Sounds fantastic, eh?  But seriously, I love okra now.  It’s probably an acquired taste.

Okra is apparently quite healthy, too – a good source of high fiber, Vitamin A (pampalinaw ng mata) and C (pampalakas), B complex vitamins (pampalaki), calcium (pampatibay ng buto) and potassium (pampalakas pang muli).  It is also said to be high in antioxidants, which help prevent chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Oh ‘di ba naman?

Like mom and dad, I have a very limited arsenal when it comes to okra.  With the exception of sinigang and pinakbet, I normally cook okra in the simplest way possible.  Whole okras steamed or boiled with fresh tomato slices and tossed with bagoong (salted anchovies), alamang or patis (fish sauce).  For KCC, I prepped this ensalada made of stir-fried okra slices with crispy fried dilis (dried anchovies), spring onion ringlets, and a refreshingly light dressing of patis, sugar and lemon juice.  Stir-fried to cut down sliminess a great deal. And instead of bagoong, I opted for dilis.  Crunchy and crunchier.  Om nom nom nom.

I can say that my son is growing up to be just like me. He has an adventurous palate and will try anything served to him.  But of course when he doesn’t like something it would take time for him to try again.  Or not at all.  Right, he doesn’t like okra.  Oh well let’s see what happens after 10 to 15 years.

Having said that, this dish is meant for my ‘secret pot’ – a term coined by a fellow blogger referring to a dish no one else at home would eat but me.

Ingredients:
Approx. 1/4 cup dilis
A handful of okra, tough tops trimmed, sliced diagonally about 1/2 in thick
A thumb of ginger, crushed and sliced thinly
1 small onion, sliced thinly
Approx 1/8 cup of chicken stock (or plain water)
1 tsp sugar
Juice of half a lemon (or 2-3 kalamansi)
1 tbsp patis
1 stalk of spring onion, sliced thinly for garnish

Heat oil in a wok and fry dilis until crispy but not burnt. Set aside.

Clean wok with paper towel.  Heat about a tbsp of oil. Saute ginger slices until a bit crispy and fragrant.  Add onion and stir-fry until caramelized.  Add okra and stir-fry over high heat for a minute.

Add a bit of stock so that it’s not too dry and continue to cook for another minute or until okra is al dente.  Turn off the heat.  Stir in sugar while still hot.

Transfer to a serving platter.  Drizzle with patis and freshly-squeezed lemon juice all over.  Toss to combine. Stir in fried dilis and garnish with spring onion.

 

“Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.” - Kulinarya Cooking Club

 

Stir-fried Okra Salad with Dried Anchovies
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
Ingredients
  • Approx. ¼ cup dilis (dried anchovies)
  • A handful of okra, tough tops trimmed, sliced diagonally about ½ in thick
  • A thumb of ginger, crushed and sliced thinly
  • 1 small onion, sliced thinly
  • Approx ⅛ cup of stock (or plain water)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
  • 1 stalk of spring onion, sliced thinly for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a wok and fry dilis until crispy but not burnt. Set aside.
  2. Clean wok with paper towel. Heat about a tbsp of oil. S aute ginger slices until a bit crispy and fragrant. Add onion and stir-fry until caramelized. Add okra and stir-fry over high heat for a minute.
  3. Add a bit of stock so that it’s not too dry and continue to cook for another minute or until okra is al dente. Turn off the heat. Stir in sugar while still hot.
  4. Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with patis and freshly-squeezed lemon juice all over. Toss to combine. Stir in fried dilis and garnish with spring onion.

 

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About The Author: Iska

I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo. My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes. Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

Discuss - 6 Comments

  1. peachkins says:

    Nice entry! Okra is one of my favorite veggies but like you, I have very limited Okra recipe…

    I will try this!
    peachkins recently posted Kinalabasang Hipon

  2. Kai says:

    Hehehe I have a lot of secret pots myself. But this post is a revelation – crunchy okra? Why didn’t I think of that before? I’ve actually made something similar, but the dilis was the only crunchy part. Though I have no qualms about eating slimy veggies, crunchy okra like asparagus is too good to be true!
    Kai recently posted Mainland Bohol

  3. Love this, Iska! This is a good and delicious way to enjoy the slimy okra! :)
    Tina (PinayInTexas) recently posted Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  4. Adora says:

    I have a love hate relationship with okra. I used to hate it but now love it. The way you cooked it here reminds me of my Malaysian Chinese mom-in-law’s vegetable dishes. She usually stir fries them with dills. Love it. So simple yet so delicious.
    Adora recently posted SPINACH CRISPS AND ARTICHOKE DIP

  5. Kim,USA says:

    I love okra too. And like you I have limited recipe about okra and since it is summer okra is abundant at farmers market. Now I can try this and for sure hubby will love it too. Thanks for sharing! ^_^
    Kim,USA recently posted Summer squash & Zucchini

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