12 Jul2009

okra1

I know there are many folks who sometimes find the “slimy” texture of okra to be unappealing, even off-putting, but over the years I have taken a liking to okra, and hunt for it in a good pinakbet, sinigang, or other mixed vegetable dish. So I was intrigued the other day when I saw Mark Bittman (food critic and author) on television with an Indian chef cooking up a dish of thinly sliced and fried okra. I had intended to experiment with a similar recipe, but at the last minute wondered “what if” I added a tablespoon of taba ng talangka or small crab coral or roe to add flavor and richness to the dish…

okra2

Our friend and neighbor had sent over a bottle of wonderful homemade pure taba ng talangka, and while Mrs. MM likes it simply mixed with hot rice, I find it can be a bit overwhelming, not to mention overly rich. I suspected that if it was mixed in with lots of vegetables and maybe some dayap or limes to introduce some acid to counterbalance the fat, then it might work nicely. I sliced several okras on the diagonal, quite thinly. Then I heated up a saute pan, added some vegetable oil and butter, and when it was hot, added the okra and only occasionally flipped the contents. Don’t over stir, the Bittman guest chef had said, or that can add to the sliminess factor.

okra3

After a minute or so, I added a scant tablespoon of taba ng talangka to the pan, tossed it some more, added salt and pepper to taste, squeezed some dayap or lime juice over top, and served this hot with some steamed rice. I thought it was pretty darned good. The okra was cooked but not slimy. It was a bit like sliced baguio beans in texture and mouthfeel but not as chewy. The taba ng talangka flavor was distinct but not overly rich or cloying. Lots of dayap juice brightened up the dish and cut the richness of the three types of fat (vegetable oil, butter, and crab coral). Excellent with rice. Another way to enjoy okra other than the standard soup or pinakbet. And incredibly economical to boot. If you are a fan of okra and taba ng talangka and looking for another way to enjoy the two, try this dish the next time you are in the kitchen. Yum.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. millet says:

    sounds like a must-try. thanks, MM!

    Jul 12, 2009 | 10:03 pm

     
  2. Sanojmd says:

    This is good news! I love okra.. I was thrilled that when i first settled here abroad, i usually that veggie here. Not only at asian stores but everywhere! We just actually bogged in our pinakbet dish last dinner with lots of okra, of course.. We also love that by just boiling it and dipping to bagoong or alamang.. Now, i have an added dish to do with okra.. Thanks MM! i will definitely try this on my next market schedule.. Btw, do you think lemon will do instead of lime? Thanks

    Jul 12, 2009 | 10:06 pm

     
  3. Mari says:

    MM,

    Interesting… and thanks for sharing this recipe. I also have a bottle of taba ng talangka which I do enjoy with rice, but this is one new way of using it and I would definitely try it. Love okra too…
    You never fail to share new and interesting recipes. Thank you so much for you never ending generosity to share with everyone.

    Mari

    Jul 12, 2009 | 10:07 pm

     
  4. Marketman says:

    sanojmd, yes, lemons should work as well. And since taba ng talangka is now sold bottled, many pinoys can bring this abroad with them, or ask relatives to bring it for them… millet, it worked surprisingly well. And so nice to find another way to enjoy both the crab roe and the okra! Mari, you’re most welcome!

    Jul 12, 2009 | 10:07 pm

     
  5. MeSoHorny says:

    In the southern USA where okra is a popular vegetable, many cooks soak okra in water & vinegar or lemon/lime juice for 20-30 minutes to reduce the sliminess.

    Jul 12, 2009 | 11:10 pm

     
  6. marilen says:

    two of my favorites okra and taba nang talangka- thank you for a new recipe. (we want to hear about the new york trip too!)

    Jul 13, 2009 | 12:01 am

     
  7. Eileen says:

    I don’t like okra that much but this recipe is hard to resist. I think I’ll try this! :)

    Jul 13, 2009 | 12:06 am

     
  8. gtrine says:

    I’ve tried to buy different brands of taba ng talanka here in the Bay Area pero they seem to be puro extender (flour or cornstarch) kasi mukhang jello when you open the bottle. What we’ve done is when its crab season (late fall) we buy lots of crab sa asian grocery ($2.99/lb and sometimes lower) and then we have a crab party. My husband who is kampampangan saves all the fat (the ones we let him have hahahaha) and then sautes them with garlic and other herbs and bottles them. Viola, crab fat as best as we can have it here! Its really good on some fettucine .. thin out the crab fat with some cream or mascarpone tapos zest some lemon on it and serve with pasta!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 12:28 am

     
  9. ariel says:

    sarap, I like taba ng talangka..sometimes I steam the okra and just put fish bagoong on top..

    Jul 13, 2009 | 12:36 am

     
  10. mary grace says:

    i love okra, just stir fried with garlic and oil and serve it with taba ng talangka and mango salsa. sometimes with crispy daing na bangus or danggit and lots of rice. I don’t mind eating this set averyday.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 12:48 am

     
  11. Vanessa says:

    Definitely will try this recipe!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 1:21 am

     
  12. Thumbbook says:

    Sarap! Im telling my friend about this post, she sure loves taba ng talangka :)

    Jul 13, 2009 | 1:48 am

     
  13. jtan says:

    since i rarely get my hands on taba ng talangka here in the US, i’ll remain a purist like mrs MM and have over hot steamed rice.
    BUT if someone here should make this okra dish, i will try. not big on okracious dishes. BTW, article on bed bug infestation in the US in an issue last week of the NYTimes.
    what’s next: bedbug flu? H1SuROt

    Jul 13, 2009 | 1:53 am

     
  14. jade186 says:

    Would sauteing some chopped garlic, onions, and tomatoes (ginisa) before the okra kill the flavour of the taba?

    Thanks for this great recipe – I really want to try this :)
    I love taba ng talangka, and have been thinking of ways how I can serve them to non-Filipino friends. So far I’ve only served them as hors d’oeuvres – on sliced grilled aubergines and courgettes sprinkled with parsley then a dash of lemon.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 1:57 am

     
  15. bagito says:

    Great idea! I love okra. My last experiment with okra didn’t work out so well–cooked it in coconut milk a la gising-gising–but it turned out too slimy (must have been overstirred) and we ended up throwing it away. =(

    I remember during my childhood days in Pampanga, my mom experimented with making our own taba ng talangka after somebody gifted us with sacks of the tiny crabs. She borrowed this wooden contraption for squeezing out the taba. After squeezing the fat out from the raw crablets, it still had to be cooked, of course. The resulting product was excellent but it was just too much work for Mom and crew (esp. the cleanup!). But I do remember getting taba ng talangka’d out after finishing two tall jars of that in months. Yes, we had that much despite giving away some of the cooked product to friends and relatives.

    See, that got me going down memory lane when I was just going to originally write that calamansi’s best for cutting down on the unctuousness of the taba! Hay, MM, funny how your entries make me remember fond memories from childhood. All I can say is thank you, thank you.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 2:33 am

     
  16. zena says:

    I love okra and taba ng talangka. This is a very interesting dish; i just need the taba ng talangka. They don’t sell it here where I am and there is no asian store. =(

    Jul 13, 2009 | 3:00 am

     
  17. NewYorker says:

    Okra (sliced into little rounds) stir fried with a little soy sauce, eaten with hot steamed rice and a sprinkling of furikake makes a quick and satisfying meal.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 3:00 am

     
  18. Vanessa says:

    By the way, Marketman, compliments on the photography! I think the quality of images has improved immensely of late.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 6:38 am

     
  19. Vicky Go says:

    We like okra too in sinigang & when we are down south in New Orleans/Louisiana/Low Country style gumbo. But my son eats neither. He loves okra the way I cook it at home: fried w oyster sauce. I choose small pods, 2-3 in long; trim the stem ends w/o breaking the pods. Rinse, drain & pat dry. I fry them in olive oil/butter or olive oil/corn oil (to raise boiling point of oil). Sometimes, I toast hot pepper flakes in the oil before adding the okra. When the pods are brownish, I turn off the flame, dust w garlic powder & add oyster sauce – to taste (will be very salty – so be careful). This is best eaten warm. Good even by itself!
    I miss “burong talangka” – when done, we just squeezed the whole thing onto plain rice or fried rice; squeeze dayap or ‘cabuyao’ – a variety of lime that grows in the town of Cabuyao, Laguna); a little bit of patis if needed – heaven!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 8:11 am

     
  20. Nayannika says:

    Hi MM,

    The food looks delish as usual. Thank you for sharing. However, I a bit more interested in the ceramic plate. The glaze is beautiful – very earthy. Was it commercially made or made by one of our local artists/potters?

    Jul 13, 2009 | 8:58 am

     
  21. Marketman says:

    Nayannika, it was made by one of our local potters, I bought it along with several others at the Museum Benefit at Salcedo market many months ago. There was a stall with the wares of some 6 different potters. It was probably PHP200 or so. :) And yes, it is unusual.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 9:05 am

     
  22. APM says:

    Hi Marketman,

    As a fellow okra lover, I suggest that you try the fried okra at new Bombay. They are pretty consistent with that dish.

    My sister has been growing okra in her backyard, she claims that freshly picked okra is sweet almost like corn.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 9:15 am

     
  23. betty q. says:

    Bagito, Zena: A few Christmases ago, I helped a friend with his Christmas catering. I declined his offer $ for giving him a hand. Just as I was going in my car to go home, he gave me this huge bag filled with DUNGENESS CRAB! I was cooking crab in the middle of the night! …saved the crab fat (DRAINED THOROUGHLY!!!)and sauteed it in butter, lots of garlic and shallots….added the crab fat and atsuete powder, touch of 5-spice, and lots of chopped parsley. …it was soooo MAKANIN! Now, I think it beats taba ng talangka….since I cannot get taba ng talangka like I remember it back home! Let it cool and bottle it too!

    Bagito, next time…I think just …kawali on high heat, saute garlic and shallots….add the okra and SANGKOTCHA a few seconds (as Marc would say!). Now, I had leftover chicken curry the other day. So, I added a few tbsp. of the curry sauce, and the taba ng talangka with some XO (for texture). Take it off the heat and add a few swirls of cacang gata! DO NOT LET IT SWIM in the coconut cream!…just a touch of it and gi ve it a few flips! That’s it…then have bandehado of rice!!! This is how I can get the boys to eat okra!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 9:32 am

     
  24. Kai says:

    Okra is a staple vegetable in Pangasinan households, but I’ve never had it sliced, always whole, and if the nannies are cooking even with the “heads.” Nice one to try.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 9:37 am

     
  25. mojito drinker says:

    i’m not into okra but this actually sounds like i would taste this…

    Jul 13, 2009 | 10:07 am

     
  26. B&W says:

    Everytime we have lunch or dinner at Cracker Barrel, I order Okra all the time in replace of the carrot or beans. I’ve also cooked Curried Okra at home and it’s darn good.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 10:08 am

     
  27. Mila says:

    Okra lover here! Was one of my favorite vegies as a kid, would dig them out of the pinakbets (avoiding the ampalaya along the way). I remember reading some online article how healthy they are, and how some people eat them raw. Hmmm, okra and TnT sound a lot tastier! For those who can’t get their hands on the crabfat though, I roasted some okra with duck fat last year, was pretty tasty!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 10:26 am

     
  28. connie says:

    Hey, this recipe really sounds simple and so good, I will definitely give it a try, with lots of spices, like maybe cayenne or a Louisiana hot sauce. I’m a big okra lover, love it in pinakbet, sinigang, creole, in gumbo, battered and fried or simply boiled with a side of kamatis and bagoong, so to find another way to prepare it, sounds exciting.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 12:40 pm

     
  29. joey says:

    I’m one of those that don’t enjoy okra but we do get some in our basket so I’m always looking for ways other than pinakbet to use them….so many many thanks for this recipe! It sounds delicious!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 12:53 pm

     
  30. betty q. says:

    Bagito: if can find BABY OKRA, go buy those instead of the regular sized ones. Cooking baby okra WHOLE will eliminate your slime issues with the okra! Also, overcooking it tends to exude the slime. So, quick stir fry with whatever condiments you want to add in (try the one I posted up above…really good!), then cover with the lid and take it off the heat. It will still continue to cook…and NO SLIME!!!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 1:26 pm

     
  31. Cecilia says:

    This is making me so hungry. Comments/tips are really helpful as well!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 1:43 pm

     
  32. diday says:

    My hubby and I bought a bottle of taba ng talangka at our local Asian Store last Tuesday. Like Mrs MM, I added it with hot rice and a squeeze of half a lemon. So satisfying, but I still suffer from the allergic reaction which could also be labelled as ‘cheap botox’. My lips and forehead are still swollen.

    Okra can also be fried; http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/spicedfriedokra_86577.shtml

    Jul 13, 2009 | 2:26 pm

     
  33. Angela says:

    Betty & gtrine- If I bottle the taba ng talangka myself, how long is the shelf life? Do I process it in a hot water bath (i.e. like jam)? If so, for how long?

    Diday- I had a good laugh with your ‘cheap botox’ comment. It’s a really good visual, I can just imagine the swollen lips and forehead. Just be careful, though.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 4:34 pm

     
  34. Angela says:

    Forgot to ask: can i steam the crabs first, take out the taba, and then saute it? Or do I take out the taba before I cook the crab and saute the taba separately?

    Jul 13, 2009 | 4:36 pm

     
  35. anj says:

    Hi MM,

    I’ve been a lurker(is this what you call an avid reaker who never comments?) for 3 years and I am hooked on your blog! I especially love posts like these, which I try to replicate at home.

    I don’t eat Okra but that dish looks so good, it’s a shame if I couldn’t try it. I was thinking of substituting sigarilyas for okra, what do you think?

    And what is sigarilyas in English? I love that vegetable.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 4:39 pm

     
  36. Marketman says:

    anj, sigarilyas, sigadilyas or WINGED BEANS, would probably work nicely as well, just slice it at an angle THINLY, as the new shape adds to the textural quality of the dish and it gets nicely coated with the flavored fat…

    Jul 13, 2009 | 4:42 pm

     
  37. MeSoHorny says:

    Jul 13, 2009 | 4:50 pm

     
  38. Lee says:

    this is nice.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 5:57 pm

     
  39. ljc says:

    oohhh..perfect timing…just bought okras at the oriental store yesterday and opened a can of taba ng talangka last night … so this will be dinner tonight!

    Thanks MM!

    Jul 13, 2009 | 9:02 pm

     
  40. Barry Stock says:

    I have found that the secret to non-slimy okra is to avoid adding any unnecessary liquid. This will encourage the okra to release their liquid into the dish instead of retaining it, which is when it gets slimy.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 9:40 pm

     
  41. Ally says:

    What was mentioned in the show of Mark Bittman with the Indian chef was slicing the okra thinly which helps evaporate the slimy juices better together with stirring them as little as possible.

    Jul 13, 2009 | 9:56 pm

     
  42. Cookie says:

    Fantastic! I have a bottle of taba ng talanka that I bought at our local Asian Store, I can run to the grocery and buy okra or I could probably use the frozen cut-up okra, and buy shrimp or pork – for the protein – voila dinner tonight!! Thanks MM!!

    Jul 14, 2009 | 12:32 am

     
  43. Lilibeth says:

    I’d love to try this, that is, if I can get pure taba ng talangka from the Filipino grocery. Does anyone here know where I can get good (I mean without extenders) taba ng talangka here in LA?

    Jul 14, 2009 | 8:15 am

     
  44. paolo says:

    Hi MarketMan! nice to see some food again hehehe!
    i dont like okra but i really like the plate u used!
    nice plate. is it made of clay?

    Jul 14, 2009 | 8:46 am

     
  45. Vyanski says:

    This would make an awesome lunch – it’s not too elaborate on the preparation and simple! :) I’m tempted to pass by the grocery and grab some taba ng talangka, okra and dayap! Will post on my site if it’s successful hehe. Thanks MM!

    Jul 14, 2009 | 11:45 am

     
  46. Marketman says:

    Barry, thanks for that tip. Ally, I missed the beginning of the episode, thanks for elaborating on the reason for the thin slice! paolo, still a lot of travel posts to go, interspersed with food… Vyanski, hope it works for you as well!

    Jul 14, 2009 | 12:40 pm

     
  47. betty q. says:

    Angela: unlike jam where a boiling water bath is enough to kill the heat resistant microorganisms by the addition of an acid such as lemon juice to the fruit, it is best to use a pressure canner to process seafood, meat, poultry or anything that is low-acidic. If you don’t have a presuure canner, next best thing is to put your taba ng talangka or taba ng crab (sauteed already) in small tightly (small individual size)sealed plastic tupperware and FREEZE. So, if you have a hankering for it, just defrost 1 small container at a time.

    OK…no talangka? Use blue crab fat or dungeness crab taba! We used to eat at this Vietnamese restaurant (closed down, sayang!) They had this killer crab dish that is soooo good! They sauteed the taba separately in butter (for the dish is richie-rich but not creamy!)…garlicky, and masarap. When I make the taba condiment at home, I usually collect the taba after cooking it and then saute it separately in butter, garlic, shallots, white wine and then reduce. ..then add the taba, season and atsuete for color if you want…lastly, add chopped parsley.

    But here is the clincher. It would cost me about $20 for 2 Dungeness crab. The aount of taba I get is not even enough to make a whole wokful of it. For that amount of money, I can make a whoooole wokful of XO!

    Jul 14, 2009 | 12:48 pm

     
  48. malory says:

    where can I get dayap in Manila? it seems this fruit is hard to find lately.

    Jul 14, 2009 | 4:55 pm

     
  49. Marketman says:

    malory, weekend markets like Salcedo or the FTI taguig markets seem to have dayap these days. It is in “season” more so now than at other times of the year. I have a few in a pot in the garden as I type this. For plants, go to the Manila Seedling Bank in QC to get a few… I was surprised I managed to get them to fruit within a year or two.

    Jul 14, 2009 | 5:05 pm

     
  50. Susan D. says:

    MM, I notice from this post and other ones that you don’t necessarily have to have “meat” to go w/hot rice. I too sometimes would just do a quick stir fry of some veggies and whether it’s soy sauce, patis, oyster sauce, black pepper for flavor I can eat it w/hot rice w/no meat. My husband on the other hand will holler “where’s the beef?”

    Jul 14, 2009 | 8:12 pm

     
  51. Marketman says:

    Susan, I love meat and am a definite carnivore. However, I also love vegetables and CAN and do eat meals that are almost completely vegetarian on many occasions. Sometimes, I make myself a HUGE salad with greens, blanched broccoli, beans, etc. and have that with a steaming bowl of tomato soup and bread for a very satisfying lunch. Although I am pretty sure I would have great difficulty being a vegan, neither could I survive solely on meat as well. And in meals with meat, I almost always have to have a substantial vegetable on the same plate as well… :)

    Jul 14, 2009 | 9:30 pm

     
  52. chris says:

    long time no see mr.mm and friends. i dropped by to see what has been happening, and boy am i so glad to find the okra recipe. i am an okra fan, although had it only in sinigang, pakbet or bulanglang and steamed plain with bagoong. and now this. i think i am more willing to try this recipe than gumbo.

    this is an aside. several weeks ago, i met up with marissewalangkaparis and gayen. although it was an impromptu eb, i had a great time talking with them, sharing tips and talking like we’re old friends. thanks for the coffee and snack, marisse. :) iba talaga ang rapport ng mga tagasubaybay mo, mr.mm. thanks for your blog. it has become a venue for us to learn and experience other things vicariously, and most importantly, making friends from all over.

    Jul 15, 2009 | 4:12 pm

     
  53. Marketman says:

    chris, glad your “eyeball” went well. In general, I find folks with an interest in food are generally pretty good people… :)

    Jul 15, 2009 | 4:44 pm

     
  54. isagada says:

    ooooops… just trying to pass time after visiting my mom in law at the hospital, she just had her leg broken into 2 after going out in my backyard to pick some fresh okra and missed the door step and fell down. DARN those nice and fresh looking okras, now i have to cook them and bring her a dish at the hospital in the morning.

    since moving to south texas, i have planted okra and other veges every year and my mom in law loves visiting us from jersey city just to pick fresh veges and cook pinakbet, bulanglang and other dishes.

    i love okra and my kids love them too. i do not know if my m.i.l. would still love them though.

    Jul 16, 2009 | 2:33 pm

     
  55. Gener says:

    Iliked this vege as what it prepared but will the talangka aligi”taba” will not deteriorate the cholesterol?? with the presence of lemon will make it better taste i guess but thats what makes you consume more! i had a cholesterol problem but i hate not to eat those food! will the taste differ without “taba” ng talangka???

    Jul 16, 2009 | 5:02 pm

     
  56. michelle says:

    hi MM, what a pleasant coincidence…just bought a bottle of talangka for a pasta dish and is also planninged pinakbet for tomorrow lunch — i’ll have to try this and switch around my ingredients! this is great… If I may also suggest another way we cook Okra: A a quick 15-min. dish – with some oil, sautee minced garlic, chopped red onion (small), tomato, and Bagoong (shrimp paste), cracked pepper, pinch of sugar, then toss in the Orka. Adjust bagoong to your taste. Let me know what you think :)

    Jul 16, 2009 | 5:12 pm

     
  57. Marketman says:

    michelle, that sounds good. Will need lots of rice for that! Throw in some chopped bagnet and that is a dish fit for a Datu. :) Gener, the talangka makes the dish flavorwise, but I suppose you can just quick stir fry the okra with other spices and lemon…

    Jul 17, 2009 | 9:38 am

     
  58. Michelle says:

    yes MM, more rice than usual :) thanks for your reply, very encouraging esp. for new followers like me. Looking forward to more food discoveries here! by the way, your wedding posts are very beautiful, will comment there separately.

    Jul 17, 2009 | 7:04 pm

     
  59. bedazzle says:

    MM, for a while there I thought it was baguio beans in the photos. Will try this recipe one of these days. Thanks for giving us a totally new take on okra.

    Jul 18, 2009 | 6:55 pm

     
  60. Gener says:

    I tried preparing this menu and its wonderful! only that my wife put a lot-lot of crab fat,,,but its a fantastic food indeed! i just simply ignored the cholesterol side and i enjoyed..

    Jul 18, 2009 | 7:05 pm

     
  61. thelma says:

    i like so much the bottled taba ng talangka coming from pampanga…so rich and so good! i will try your recipe mm.
    thank you for this recipe…

    Jul 19, 2009 | 3:58 am

     
  62. ljc says:

    MM, just had this for dinner tonight! It was so good. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I used canned taba ng talangka my sis-in-law got for me in Manila.

    Jul 27, 2009 | 11:05 am

     
  63. madgwenny says:

    TThanks for sharing all the wonderful recipes in this blog. I’ve been your fan since I first read up on you in Yummy magazine, years ago.

    I’ve tried this recipe and it made the okra extraordinary. Crab fat is also superb sauteed with garlic, onions and chopped grilled eggplant, cooked with gata. Yummy on top of steaming rice!

    Aug 6, 2009 | 4:26 pm

     
  64. Madz says:

    I have never thought you can actually mix both of these. I will try and make my version. This will be the first recipe I will try that I got from you MM. I have been reading your archives for weeks now, it’s a hilarious, informative and fun read altogether! :)

    Apr 8, 2011 | 5:38 pm

     
 

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