It is super easy to boil okra and it tastes so good with a savory dipping sauce. With this super easy instruction, let’s learn how to boil okra perfectly in just 3 steps.

boiled okra|

What’s Okra

Okra is a green flower-producing plant found in cuisines from Africa to Asia and North America. Also known as “lady’s fingers,” this green plant is bursting with wellness-giving properties and is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of different ways.

Okra is a vegetable with a slimy and gooey texture. It has been widely cultivated in China. In Chinese, we call it “秋葵” which literally means “autumn okra”. It used to be harvested in late summer and early autumn. But now it is available around the year.

Though lots of people hating eating or even cooking okra because of the gooey feeling, we are big fans.

how to boil okra|

How to boil okra

Although okra can be used in soups, stir-frying dishes, and deep-fryings, I love the boiled okra version the most. Because it is super simple to cook and always great as a side dish.

Step one: Trim the hard ends. Take a sharp knife and trim off the stem end of the okra in a 45-degree direction. It is generally recommended to cut just below the cap or “head” where the stem attaches, trying not to cut into the pod itself which can release the “gooey” insides. You can refer to our video for the detailed method.

how to boil okra|

Step two: add salt and 1/2 tsp of vegetable cooking oil to the boiling water. This is critical to keep the okra green after boiled. Place the okra in, and cook for 1 minute.

how to boil okra|

Step three: soak the boiled okra in chilled water to stop the heating.

how to boil okra|

Step four: drain and transfer the okra to serving plates and then match it with the dipping sauce.

how to boil okra|

That’s it, the whole process of boiling okra is super easy and it also keeps the crunchy texture and lovely green color of the skin.

How to make a dipping sauce for boiled okra

A savory dipping sauce can take the boiled okra to another level in terms of flavor. The small holes inside okra can absorb the sauce and make it bursting delicious in your mouth. Take a look at the ingredients for the dipping sauce.

boiled okra dipping sauce|

Black vinegar: using a lot of black vinegar in a salad is a very typical Chinese way. It calls “老醋” dishes, which can be great for peanuts, spinach, and potato shreds. Black vinegar salad is always great as a summer side dish, improving appetite.  

The dipping sauce calls for other common ingredients including light soy sauce, chili oil, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, scallion, and oyster sauce.

If you want a vegan version, simply skip the oyster sauce.

boiled okra|
how to boil okra|

Boiled okra

Boiled Okra with a lovely hot dipping sauce
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 108kcal


  • 10 okra
  • a small pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil


  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 fresh Thai red pepper cut into small circles, optional
  • 2 spring onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. black vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. chili oil , optional
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds


  • Cut off the tail end of okras. Peel off the hard part around okra.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boiling, sprinkle a small pinch of salt and add 1/4 tsp. sesame oil. Place okra in and blanch for 1 minute.
  • Transfer out to chilled water to cool down and stop the heating process.
  • Then strain and transfer to serving plate.
  • In a small bowl, mix all the season together. Serve along with okra.



Tips. 💭 

  1. Adding a small pinch of salt and oil in the poaching water can help to keep the original color of the okra.
  2. Do not overcook okra | Vegetables can be very easily overcooked and lose the light flavor and crunchy texture.
  3. Stop the heating with chilled water or ice | Once the okra is well cooked, soak them in chilled water immediately to stop the heating.


Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 419mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 550IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 0.7mg
how to boil okra|

What to serve with boiled okra

This boiled okra is a lovely side dish. I will recommend serving it with steamed rice, and noodles and match it with a light soup like tomato egg drop soup. Some other savory dishes like Di San Xian can also match it to make a complete meal.

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  1. Unlike Korean cuisine, the okra must be widely used in Chinese cuisine. This salad with black vinegar sounds refreshingly good with all the aroma and texture. There are so much to learn from Chinese cuisine. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Have enjoyed so many of your recipes, Elaine. A question about this one: why not just pour the sauce over?

    1. haha, that’s a good question. It is because okra has small holes. Pour over may make the sauce attach on surface. Whatever, I think pouring the sauce over is a lovely idea too.