Sautéed Chinese Okra

Chinese okra, often overlooked due to its fibrous, woody exterior, is a lovely vegetable with a subtly sweet taste and crisp bite similar to cucumber and zucchini.

More about Chinese Okra

Chinese okra (luffa acutangula), also known as angled luffa, is unrelated to the okra (also called gumbo or ladies’ fingers) commonly found in grocery stores. When mature, Chinese okra typically measures 30-40 cm in length and 5-7 cm in width. It has a tough, woody exterior that is high in fiber, iron, and protein. When peeled it has a soft, fleshy body resembling peeled cucumber. Young Chinese okra, ranging from 15-25 cm in length and 3 cm wide, can be enjoyed raw. [1]

Chinese okra has a spongy interior similar to eggplant, high water content like zucchini, a mildly sweet taste, and a tender, slightly crisp texture. It is known by other names, including dish cloth gourd, ridged gourd, sponge gourd, vegetable gourd, strainer vine, ribbed loofah, silky gourd, silk gourd and sinkwa towel sponge [2]. Unpicked, dried out okra can also be made into loofah sponges after peeling and deseeding them [1].

There are a variety of ways to prepare young or mature okra. Young okra can be blanched and dressed with sauce. Mature okra is often peeled before cooking, although the gourd can also be simmered and eaten as is [1]. Young or peeled mature okra can be stir-fried, deep-fried in batter, or added to sauces and soups.  

Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes – Cooking Time: 2 minutes – Total Time: 7 minutes

Helpful equipment

  • Vegetable peeler


  • 1 okra
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced or ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper or black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp oil


Step 1
Peel the entire okra, including skin between the ridges, using a peeler. Chop the okra into pieces.

For microwave cooking:

Step 2
In a microwave-safe bowl, toss the chopped okra with oil, salt, white pepper, and garlic.

Step 3
Cover the bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.

For stove cooking:

Step 2
Warm a skillet over medium heat with oil. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.

Step 3
Add the chopped okra to the skillet along with salt and white pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes until the okra is tender, slightly crisp, and sweet. 

Step 4
Remove the okra immediately to prevent it from releasing excess water.


  • You can slice okra in various ways: at an angle, into noodles, as circles, semi-circles, quarter-circles, diagonally, and more. The 1/4-inch thick quarter-circles are not only bite-sized, but have a quick cooking time.
  • When cooked, okra tends to release a significant amount of water. To prevent a watery, mushy outcome, avoiding overcooking okra. 
  • Okra should be refrigerated and consumed within a week to prevent fungus from developing.

More information references

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