This roasted okra recipe strikes a delicious balance between the earthy flavor of okra and the sweet and savory umami glaze. The Xinjiang spice mix gives a beautiful kick of heat and a depth of flavor that is hard to resist. The okra, when roasted, takes on a delightful crunch while still maintaining a tender interior.
Roasted okra is a tasty vegetable dish that you can easily make with a BBQ or a very hot cast iron skillet pan. Okra gets a bad rep for being slimy, but my recipe will teach you exactly how to do it for the perfect crunch. The trick is to keep them dry, which minimizes the sliminess entirely.
What sets this recipe apart is the unique combination of spices and the umami glaze. The glaze, made with oyster sauce and honey, pairs incredibly well with the smoky, spicy notes of the Xinjiang spice mix. This roasted okra recipe will certainly make for a memorable appetizer, or side dish that your family and friends will love.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious roasted okra recipe today!
What is Roasted Okra?
Roasted okra is a delicious vegetarian side dish that features okra that’s roasted to perfection using a BBQ or a very hot cast iron skillet pan. There are many ways to make and season this delicious dish, but this particular recipe takes it to the next level!
We’ll be roasting okra to perfection so that it’s nice and crunchy, minus all the sliminess this veggie gets a bad rep for. Plus, we’ll be adding a delicious umami glaze with a Xinjiang spice mix. My simple version of this famous spice blend is commonly sprinkled on grilled lamb, kebabs, and vegetables in Uyghur cuisine.
This spice blend has wonderful flavors with both Chinese and Middle Eastern influences and can honestly be sprinkled onto anything grilled and it would taste fantastic.
If you have furikake, you can use that instead of this Xinjiang spice mix. I also have a homemade furikake recipe made with homemade powdered miso and gochujang that you may like that also goes fantastic with this roasted okra!
Why You’ll Love This Roasted Okra Recipe
Easy to Make: This Roasted Okra recipe is incredibly simple to prepare. With just a few ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, you'll have a delicious vegetable dish ready in no time.
Quick: Whether you choose to grill or roast your okra, the cook time is fast, making this a perfect go-to recipe for busy weeknights or last-minute meals. From start to finish, this dish can be made in just 11 minutes!
Family-Favorite: The umami glaze and Xinjiang spice mix add unique and delicious flavors that even the pickiest eaters would love. It is a fun and tasty way to include more vegetables in your family's diet.
Vibrant and Versatile: This recipe is adaptable to your preference. You can adjust the spices, use a BBQ or a hot cast iron skillet, and even change up the dipping sauce, making it an exciting addition to various dishes.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Roasted Okra At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious roasted okra recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Okra: This vegetable is the star of the dish. Fresh okra is preferred over frozen or pre-packaged ones for this recipe. The fresher the okra, the less slimy and more crunchy it will be when cooked. Choose small, thin okra for a more tender result. I have a brief guideline below on how to pick them at the supermarket.
For the Umami Glaze:
- Oyster Sauce: This ingredient is a key part of the umami glaze. It has a thicker consistency than soy sauce, which helps it stick to the okra and create a better glaze. There is no substitute for oyster sauce for this recipe. If you don't mind the extra work, you can thicken the soy sauce with a small amount of cornstarch slurry - just keep in mind that it will be a lot saltier than oyster sauce, so you may need to add a bit more honey to balance the saltiness out.
- Honey: Honey is used in the umami glaze. It not only adds sweetness but also has a viscosity that blends well with the oyster sauce. It also mixes more easily into the oyster sauce.
For the Xinjiang Spice Mix:
- Cumin Seeds: These can be ground or left whole, depending on your preference. They add a distinctive flavor to the Xinjiang spice mix. If you don't mind occasionally getting a bite of a cumin seed then I suggest whole cumin. I personally like to use whole cumin seeds but roughly crush it with a mortar and pestle (or food processor) so that it is not as fine as ground cumin but not whole cumin seeds as well. The cumin flavor is much more flavorful if you use whole cumin seeds.
- Korean Pepper Flakes: These add a bit of heat to the Xinjiang spice mix. If you prefer a spicier dish, you can substitute with Chinese chili flakes.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds: These add a nice crunch and a nutty flavor to the Xinjiang spice mix.
- Powdered Garlic: This is used in the Xinjiang spice mix for added flavor. Make sure to use powdered garlic, not garlic salt.
- Sichuan Peppercorns: This is an optional ingredient in the Xinjiang spice mix. They are not the same as regular peppercorns and should not be substituted. They add a unique, slightly lemony flavor to the mix.
How to Pick the Right Okra at the Grocery Store
Whenever you buy okra, make sure you are buying them fresh and not frozen or pre-packaged. Frozen okra has been sitting in a enclosed plastic bag with ice crystals on them which means once they defrost, they will become slimy.
Here are a few things I look out for when I pick out my okra:
- Pick small and thin okra. Small okra is younger and more tender. They generally have less seeds as well which usually means it will be less slimy.
- Make sure the okra is firm, and not shriveled up or wrinkled. Shriveled and wrinkled okra means it has been sitting out for a while are are dried out.
- Make sure to the okra is not wet or sitting in water. Wet okra will not store as long, and will go bad quicker.
- Pick okra free of blemishes and holes. If you see a lot of blemishes or holes, it usually means it's been handled a lot or bugs have bore holes into it and might be living in it! ick.
How to Make Roasted Okra (Step by Step)
Making this incredible roasted okra recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
Preparation of Ingredients and Spices
Prepare the okra: To avoid the okra becoming slimy, avoid washing it. If you do prefer to wash it, ensure you dry it thoroughly, wiping off all water with a towel.
Prepare the Sauces: Start by mixing the oyster sauce and honey in a small bowl and set it aside.
Make the Spice Mix: In another bowl, create your spice mix. If you're using ingredients like Sichuan peppercorns or whole cumin, crush them into smaller pieces using a mortar and pestle or food processor. Set your spice mix aside for later use.
Grilling the Okra (Option One)
Heat up your BBQ: Crank up your BBQ to the highest setting and let it pre-heat.
Skewer the Okra: Use metal skewer sticks if available, as they won't burn at high heat like wooden ones. Skewer the okra onto the metal skewers. I also don’t recommend wooden skewers since soaking them will add moisture to the okra, which will make it slimy, bit if you don't have a choice then using wooden okra is better than using no skewers because it makes the flipping much easier.
Grill the Okra: Once the BBQ is preheated, place the okra on the grill and cook it for about two to three minutes per side, until it is charred and brown. After grilling, place the okra on a plate.
Roasting the Okra in a Cast Iron Skillet (Option Two)
Heat your Kkillet: Set your stove to high heat and let your cast iron skillet get really hot. There's no need to add oil to the pan.
Char the Okra: Once your skillet is hot, add the okra and let it char for about two to three minutes on each side until it is brown or charred. Remove the okra from the skillet and place it on a plate.
Flavoring the Okra
Apply the Glaze and Spices: Brush the okra with the umami glaze you prepared earlier and sprinkle your spice mix on top. Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious roasted okra!
Joyce’s Tips For Making the Best Roasted Okra
Use Fresh Okra: Opt for fresh okra over pre-packaged or frozen ones. Fresh okra is less slimy and delivers a satisfying crunch in every bite.
Avoid Washing Okra: Keep the moisture away from the okra to prevent it from becoming slimy. If you must wash it, make sure it is thoroughly dried before cooking.
Pick Small, Thin Okra: Smaller, thinner okra is younger, more tender and less likely to be slimy. Ensure the okra is firm and dry, not shriveled or wrinkled.
Skewer Okra for Grilling: Using metal skewers is preferable when grilling okra. Wooden skewers can burn at high heat and might add moisture to the okra if you choose to soak them beforehand. That being said, if you can't find metal skewers, wooden ones are still fine.
Flavor the Okra After You Finished Grilling It: Brush the okra with the umami glaze and sprinkle the spice mix after it is grilled or roasted. This makes sure that the flavors are fresh and intense and the moisture from the sauce won't create a slimy texture.
Cumin Seeds vs Ground Cumin: Whole cumin seeds offer a more robust flavor than ground cumin. If you don't mind the occasional bite of a cumin seed, opt for whole cumin.
- Roasted okra with Umami glaze and Xinjiang spice mix is a delightful addition to any meal. Pair it with some grilled chicken, like the Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken or Chinese BBQ Pork for a hearty, flavorful dinner.
- This roasted okra recipe can also be served as a unique and healthy side dish alongside Grilled Thai Coconut Chicken Skewer. The sweet and spicy flavors of the chicken compliment the umami and heat of the okra, creating a well-rounded meal.
- If you are a fan of Vietnamese cuisine, pair this roasted okra with Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops. The sweet and smoky flavors go incredibly well with the flavors in this recipe.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Roasted Okra
This delicious roasted okra recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
Furikake Seasoning: If you have furikake, you can also sprinkle that on top as well instead of the Xinjiang spice mix.
Spicier: The Xinjiang spice blend has wonderful flavors with both Chinese and Middle Eastern influences. But if you’re looking to make it spicier, you can add some Chinese chili flakes instead of Korean pepper flakes.
Sweeter: Add a little extra honey to the umami glaze to give your roasted okra a slightly sweeter flavor.
Other Spice Blends: Feel free to experiment with any other spices that you like. Some great options include cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, it is best to use fresh okra for this recipe. Frozen or pre-packaged okra tends to retain a lot of water, which can make the okra slimy and lack the desired crunch.
There really isn't a substitute for oyster sauce in this recipe. Its thick consistency makes it perfect for glazing. If you don't mind some extra work, you can thicken soy sauce with a bit of corn starch, but remember it will be saltier, so you may need to add more honey or sugar to balance it out.
Honey is the preferred ingredient as it mixes more easily into the oyster sauce and also has the right viscosity. However, if you don't have honey, you could use sugar, keeping in mind it might slightly alter the texture of the glaze.
When picking okra, opt for small and thin ones as they are younger, more tender, and usually less slimy. Make sure that the okra is dry, firm, and not shriveled or wrinkled, as these are signs of aging. Read the section above in the post for more tips!
How to Store Leftover Roasted Okra
If you have leftovers of this delicious roasted okra, then you can definitely store it. Once the okra has cooled down, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It should last for up to three days.
To reheat, preheat your oven to around 350 F or 180 C. Spread the okra out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and heat until it is warmed through.
You may also use an air fryer to reheat the okra. Set the air fryer to medium heat and cook for a few minutes, shaking the basket occasionally to guarantee even heating. Another option is to reheat it the same way you cooked it, using a grill or cast iron skillet.
Now, if you're wondering about freezing your roasted okra, I would generally advise against it. Okra has a high water content, and freezing can alter its texture, making it mushy once thawed.
Recipes To Use Up Leftover Oyster Sauce
More Grilled Recipes You May Like
- Sweet and Sticky Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
- Grilled Chicken Skewers
- Skewered Chicken Satay Wings
- Grilled Marinated Halloumi Cheese
- Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops
- Nem Nuong (Grilled Vietnamese Pork Sausages)
- Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp Vermicelli Bowl
- Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
- Umami Beef and Pork Burgers
- Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
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Roasted Okra Recipe
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- For this recipe, buy fresh okra and not the pre-packaged or frozen ones. Frozen or pre-packaged okra will have a lot of water in it and the texture will be very slimy with no crunch.
- Oyster Sauce - there is no substitute for oyster sauce for this recipe. I use oyster sauce instead of soy sauce because of its viscosity - oyster sauce has a thicker consistency than soy sauce which sticks on as a glaze better. If you don't mind the extra work, you can thicken the soy sauce with a small amount of corn starch slurry - just keep in mind that it will be a lot more saltier than oyster sauce so you may need to add a bit more honey to balance the saltiness out.
- I use honey instead of sugar for this recipe because of viscosity as well. It also mixes more easily into the oyster sauce.
- When picking cumin, you can use either ground cumin or whole cumin. If you don't mind occasionally getting a bite of a cumin seed then I suggest whole cumin. I personally like to use whole cumin seeds but roughly crush it with a mortar and pestle (or food processor) so that it is not as fine as ground cumin but not whole cumin seeds as well. The cumin flavor is much more flavorful if you use whole cumin seeds.
- When picking okra at the supermarket, pick small and thin okra. Small okra is younger and more tender. They generally have less seeds as well which usually means it will be less slimy. Make sure the okra is dry firm, and not shriveled up or wrinkled. Shriveled and wrinkled okra means it has been sitting out for a while are are dried out.
- If you have furikake, you can also sprinkle that on top as well instead of the Xinjiang spice mix
- 30 okra (approx. 350g)
Xinjiang spice mix
- 1 ¼ teaspoons cumin seeds (ground or left whole, see notes)
- 1 tablespoon Korean pepper flakes (or Chinese chili flakes, which I find is spicier)
- 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- ½ tablespoon powdered garlic (not garlic salt)
- ¼ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (optional, this not the same as regular peppercorns and should not be substituted with it)
- I personally do not like to wash my okra because any type of moisture on it will make them slimy.If you want to wash your okra, make sure you dry it very well until all the water has been completely wiped off with a towel.
- In another small bowl, combine 1 ¼ teaspoons cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon Korean pepper flakes (or Chinese chili flakes), 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, ½ tablespoon powdered garlic, and ¼ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (optional). Set it aside for later.If you are using Sichuan peppercorns or whole cumin, use a mortar and pestle or food processor and crush them into smaller pieces.
Grill The Okra (Option 1)
- Set the BBQ to the highest setting possible and let it pre-heat
- Skewer the okra. If you have metal skewers, use these instead of wooden ones. Since you are charring it on very high heat, the sticks may burn. I don't recommend soaking the wooden skewers since that will add moisture to the okra which will make it slimy.
- Once the BBQ is hot, add the okra on and grill them for 2-3 minutes per side or until they are charred and brown. Keep flipping it to prevent the sticks from burning.
- Once they are done remove them from the BBQ and set them on a plate.
Roast the Okra on a Cast Iron Skillet (Option 2)
- Set the stove to high heat and place the cast iron skillet on until it gets really hot. You don't need to add oil to the pan.
- Once the pan is very hot, add the okra on and char it for about 2-3 minutes a side until they are brown or charred.
- Once they are done, remove them from the skillet and set them on a plate
Flavor the Okra
- Brush the umami glaze on the okra and sprinkle the spice mix on and enjoy immediately.
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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