Steamed Okra with Garlic (蒜蓉秋葵 Suan Rong Qiu Kui) | Asian Cooking Mom

Steamed Okra with Garlic (蒜蓉秋葵 Suan Rong Qiu Kui)

 Preparation: 10 minutes | Cook: 10 minutes      6 ingredients      vegan
December 19, 2020 Jump to Recipe

This delicious steamed okra with garlic dish is super simple and easy to make. It takes less than 20 minutes from beginning to end. I wowed my entire family when I made this one the other night. Even my husband, who normally does not like okra, couldn’t stop eating it and said I made too little of it for dinner.

Okra has an interesting texture. Despite the various health benefits, I initially couldn’t get my husband to like it. He finds okra’s slimy taste off-putting. But this steamed okra with garlic dish has become a frequent member of our dinner table. For this recipe, I only steam the okra pods for a short time. The sliminess that my husband dislikes is not quite noticeable. Okra absorbs the flavor of the garlic sauce extremely well, resulting in a super fragrant and tasty dish.

This recipe is enough for 1-2 people. So make sure you increase the amount of ingredients accordingly if serving more than 2 people.

Gluten Free, Vegan

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Total Time:  20 minutes

Servings: 2 people


  • 7-10 baby okras
  • ~5 garlic gloves
  • 3-4 fresh Thai chili peppers or other fresh chili peppers (optional)1
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce2
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar3


  1. Boil water in a steamer or a large pan with a steamer rack. Make sure the water level does not exceed the steamer rack. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the other ingredients.
  1. Wash the baby okra pods and dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Cut off the tough stem part on the thicker end of the okra. Split each okra pod into halves by making a lengthwise cut. Lay the split okra pods side by side on a plate with the inner sides facing up.
  1. Peel and mince the garlic gloves. Cut the Thai chili peppers into small pieces. Place the minced garlic and Thai chili peppers into a small bowl and set aside.
  1. When the water starts to boil, gently place the okra plate on the steamer rack. Close the lid and set a timer for 4-5 minutes (no longer than 5 minutes). Keep the heat at medium-high or high.
  1. While waiting for the okra pods to steam, heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in another pan under medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, turn off the heat and immediately pour the hot oil on top of the minced garlic and chili peppers, mixing thoroughly (you are doing it right if you hear a sizzling sound while pouring the oil). Then mix in the 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.3
  1. When the timer is up, open the lid and carefully transfer the okra plate out of the steamer. Evenly scoop the sauce prepared in step 5 on top of each okra pod. The dish is best enjoyed while it’s warm or lukewarm.4

Bon Appétit


  1. I recommend using some type of fresh chili peppers, if not the spicy Thai chili peppers.
  1. If gluten sensitive, use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari.
  1. You can use Chinese black vinegar to replace the balsamic vinegar. Just add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar into the sauce.
  1. Since it’s best enjoyed when it’s warm or lukewarm, I usually steam the okra and prepare the sauce ingredients beforehand without pouring the hot oil. After I’m done with all the other dishes for dinner, I then heat the oil to complete this dish last.

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