We call them ladies fingers here. You may know them as okra. ie, these:
I love them cooked with belacan (shrimp paste). I love them in fish curries. I love them steamed with some shallot oil and soy sauce. But when I have 10 minutes to cook in the morning before work, I love it stirfried simply with just garlic and salt. I cook most of my veges this way because it’s quick, simple and allows us to savour the freshness of the veges without smothering it with tons of seasoning and sauce. I know some people don’t like it because it gets slimy. I think the point is not to let it simmer too long and also to have the fire on high heat. It makes a difference.
I always pick the tiny ladies fingers because thicker larger ones are always soooooo woody! Eww. I try to pick those that are about as thick as my thumb and about 3 inches. Anything smaller is a bonus.
My late grandpa used to plant loads of these when we were little. I still remember him handing us dried ladies fingers, asking us to give them a shake shake. Organic maracas, I say! The dried seeds within the pod made that lovely “tsh..tsh”.
Back to the cooking bit, being a simple way of cooking vegetables, all you would need is one or two cloves of garlic, a bit of oil, a pinch or two of salt, and you’re game!
Here’s how I usually peel and mince my garlic. I watched my grandma doing this when I could barely look over counter top. It’s not as safe as using a garlic press but if you are careful, it’s really easy.
Get your garlic clove on a cutting board.
Lay your knife flat on the clove. Make sure it’s flat, not blade side up!!
Use the palm of your hand and give it a twack. If you have the strength, just lay the palm of your hand on the flat surface of the knife and press down firmly.
See? Smashed garlic.
And the skin comes of very easily. I hate peeling the skin off. This makes it so much easier.
Now that you have your garlic ready, we can start cooking. First slice the ladies fingers diagonally.
(the following pics are of me cooking bok choy the same way. I somehow forgot to take pics cooking ladies fingers because my brain was still asleep in the morning. heh)
Throw your garlic into a cold pan with some oil.
Before the garlic browns, add a bit of salt.
Then add all your veges in. (Pretend you see ladies fingers here)
Sprinkle some water in and cover for a minute or two.
I generally need to let the ladies fingers sit longer than leafy veges because ladies fingers are slightly tougher. I’d say, open it and give it a stir and a little sprinkle more water if it needs it. They should still be bright green but when you use your ladle to press on one piece, it is tender.
Here’s my stirfried boy choy employing the same method:
And stirfried angled beans:
If you have no idea what are angled beans, this is what it looks like uncut.
(photo courtesy of: Hunger Hunger who has another brilliant angled bean recipe there)
It’s also called “winged beans”, “goa beans” and “asparagus peas”. The Malays call them “kacang botol” (literally: bottle beans) and have them as ulam (salad) raw. It’s really crunchy and I absolutely adore them.
See? This method of stirfry is so easy and quick. My version uses waaaaaayyyy less oil than most restaurants here. I hate it when I order simple garlic stirfried veges and they come in a vat of lard! They are drenched in so much oil that, I think, it cancels out the nutritions from the veges. Anyway, this is another one where I won’t write you a recipe because it’s silly. I might insult your intelligence if I need to write out the 3 steps for you. I’m pretty sure you can figure this one out. 🙂
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalms 19:7)