food 4 tots

Steamed lady fingers with chili shrimp sauce

lady finger, shrimp, chili, steaming, kid, toddler, food for tots


Lady finger (also known as okra) is a powerhouse of valuable nutrients, nearly half of which is soluble fiber in the form of gums and pectins. According to Ms Sylvia W. Zook, Ph.D. (nutritionist), this versatile vegetable has many important health benefits as belows:
1) stabilizes blood sugar level
2) binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
3) prevents constipation
4) feeds good bacteria (probiotics) residing in our body.
5) good for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
6) good for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber
7) treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel.
For further reading, click here.


To retain most of its nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, eg with low heat or lightly steamed. Some even eat it raw. My son and I love consuming lady fingers in a very simple way – steam lady fingers until cooked, cut into bite-sized pieces (for toddlers), toss with fried shallots oil and light soy sauce, and serve immediately. However, I have a big tot (my hubby) who doesn’t like lady fingers as much as we do. He always hinted at me to leave his portion out whenever I cooked lady fingers. Of course, I will never agree with him since this vegetable has so many nutritional values. After giving much consideration to these 2 tots’ personal preference and taste, I concocted the following simple and healthy recipe. To my surprise, my big tot happily ate the dish without complaint!


Instead of slicing the lady fingers, my method called for the lady fingers to be cooked with its entire stem intact. This will prevent them from becoming slimy during the cooking process. The chili shrimp sauce that is served together with it enhances the dish with the much needed tasty flavour to those who dislike the bland taste of cooked lady fingers. And, it goes well with plain white rice too.


I strongly recommend this recipe to those who dislike lady fingers. Besides the common method of either stir-frying or have them cooked and served in curry gravy, this dish makes the lady fingers more appealing to the palate. You may find them coming back for a second serving of rice (if there are still some lady fingers left). It can be finger-lickin’ good too!



30g dried shrimp (minced) – rinse, soak & pat-dry
4 pcs shallots (minced)
1 clove of garlic (minced)
½ -1 red chili (minced)

2 tsp oyster sauce
½ tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp water

1) Heat up oil in a small non-stick frying pan/ saucepan.
2) Sauté shallots, garlic and dried shrimp with medium heat until fragrant.
3) Add in red chili and seasonings. Stir-fry until mixed well. Bring mixture to cook until boil.
4) Adjust seasoning if necessary. Dish up and set aside.


1) Wash and rinse the lady fingers.
2) Remove the top and tip (optional) of the lady fingers.
3) You can cook your lady fingers by way of steaming or blanching. But I prefer option (a) as it can retain most of its nutrients and self-digesting enzymes.
a) For steaming: Place the lady fingers on a steaming tray and steam until cooked. Discard water if any.
b) For blanching: Add water to a wok and bring it to a boil. Blanch lady fingers until cook. Dish up and arrange on a serving plate.
4) Pour the chili shrimp sauce over the lady fingers and serve immediately.

1) If your lady fingers turn dry, add some cooked shallot oil.
2) Do not over-cook the lady fingers until it turns soft and yellow in colour.
2) For toddlers, you can cut the cooked lady fingers into bite-sized for easy chewing.
3) When choosing okra, look for brightly coloured pod which is not more than 4cm long. Avoid dull, bruised, soft and blemished pods. (source: this link)
4) If you cannot finish using the sauce, keep it in an air-tighted container. It can be added when stir-frying other vegetables ie cabbage, french beans and long beans.


lady finger, shrimp, chili, steaming, kid, toddler, food for tots

I am submitting this recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging #176 Hosting, which is housed by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once and hosted this week by Anna of Anna’s Cool Finds.

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  1. Pearl says:

    oh i love that presentation 🙂

  2. MyLastBite says:

    This looks FANTASTIC!

  3. mycookinghut says:

    Okra…. this is one of my fav vegs! with chili shrimp sauce.. what can I say??? I think I prefer this as my dinner compared to the pasta that I had just now 😉

  4. Selba says:

    Wow!!! Love your presentation…. teach me.. teach me, pleaseeee… 😀

  5. tigerfish says:

    I am so hungry now….
    Another dish that will make me fat. Why? Cos’ I will eat lots of rice with it ;p

  6. Beachlover says:

    your okra look so healthy and long!! love to eat with chili sauce,to die for!!! give me 2 plates of rice!!

  7. Bits of Life 'n' Taste says:

    My favourite too! Just love those steamed okra! Nice shoot and nice table cloth!

  8. Big Boys Oven says:

    this is one is truely my favourite dish! 🙂 you make it look so simple!

  9. ICook4Fun says:

    I just love okra but too but we can’t find nice long okra here. Just tiny little ones. I love the the presentation of this dish.

  10. Maya says:

    I LURVE ladies fingers with sambal belachan!! Your looks wonderful..

  11. Food For Tots says:

    Pearl & MyLastBite: Tks for your compliments.

    Mycookinghut: Dun wait! Cook this dish for your dinner tomorrow!

    Selba: Hahaha! Tks. I am not qualified to be your teacher but dun mind to exchange ideas. Yours are great too!

    Tigerfish: I haven't seen a FAT tiger before. So dun worry, go ahead to fill up ur energy tank!

    Beachlover: When it comes to chili, I also have a lot of appetites. Come and have more if you like!

    BOLNT: TQ Si Fu!

    BBO: Tks for your compliments.

    ICook4Fun: Will the small ones taste better? Tks for your kind words.

    Maya: Tks. But I didn't add belachan in this dish bcos of my son. 😉

  12. Little Corner of Mine says:

    I love this, my mom used to steam okra.

  13. Little Inbox says:

    Simple but yummy! I will try this! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Food For Tots says:

    LCOM: It’s my mom’s dish too.

    Little Inbox: Hope u like it. Let me know the outcome. 😉

  15. New Kid on the Blog says:

    the presentation looks fantastic!!!

  16. Food For Tots says:

    NKOTB: Tks for your compliments! 😉

  17. finsmom says:

    I have never tried this type of vegetable before, but it sounds like a nutritional powerhouse! Thanks for sharing all this great information, as well as a great recipe!

  18. Food For Tots says:

    finsmom: Tks for your kind comment. Give it a try if you can find lady fingers (okra) at your place. 😉

  19. Anna Haight says:

    How beautiful! My mom loved okra too. Thanks for your participation in WHB!

  20. Dora says:

    My chef loves lady fingers, saying they’re good for the joints. She usually cook them with egg.;)

    Urs look neat and yummy!

  21. Food For Tots says:

    Anna Haight: Tks for your compliments! WHB is one of my favourite events. Hope to particate more in future. 😉

    Dora: I have never tried this version. Sounds interesting! Is it a HAKKA dish?

  22. cariso says:

    I love steamed ladies fingers! Ading chili shrimp sauce is simple and tasty!

  23. Food For Tots says:

    Cariso: Oh! U r another lady fingers kaki! *High5* to you! 😉

  24. Kalyn says:

    Great photos and it does sound delicious. I’ve only cooked okra in gumbo, but I like it.

  25. noobcook says:

    I didn’t know there are so many health benefits of lady fingers. I am the only one at home who likes it, gonna cook some soon 😉

  26. Food For Tots says:

    Kalyn: Tks for dropping by and your wonderful comment. Gumbo is new to me but it looks and sounds interesting after reading from Wikipedia. 😉

    Noobcook: Maybe u can put a little effort to convince them to eat okra. Who knows, you may turn out to be the winner! 😉

  27. shavedicesundays says:

    I’ve never eaten okra like that, we use it in Vietnamese soup (canh chua) mostly. I make my kids eat them for the calcium.

  28. Food For Tots says:

    Shavedicesundays: I have never tried your method before. It sounds so interesting to use it in soup. Will check it out later. Tks for your sharing.

  29. food-4tots says:

    Yyonne: Sorry, I’m not sure how it will turn out as I haven’t tried it out myself. You may give it a try if you like.

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