A Quick and Healthy Japanese Summer Vegetable Side Dish - Okura no Aemono (Okra Salad)
A common dish in Japan is "Aemono" (和え物), which literally means seasoned or dressed dish. It is a simple and easy dish to make. Among the many Aemono dishes that exist in Japanese cuisine, a very popular one is Okura no Aemono.
Essentially, Okura no Aemono consists of okra seasoned with soy sauce. Toppings such as bonito flakes and roasted sesame seeds can be added on top. Especially popular in the summer, Okura no Aemono goes well as side dish along with steamed rice and miso soup. Here we will talk about how to make this tasty and healthy dish.
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Total servings: 4
- Okra 10 to 15 pieces
- Sea Salt or coarse salt
- Soy sauce 1 Tbsp
- Dried bonito flakes 1 package or roasted sesame (preferably grained) 1 Tbsp
Brief introduction to Okra
For the people who are not familiar with okra... okra tends to get slimy once it is cut. The slimy part is dietary fiber called mucilage and is actually good for your health. However, since it gets slimy, okra was not accepted as an edible vegetable when it was first introduced in Japan and was therefore used merely decoratively at the time. It became popular as an edible vegetable only around 1960, and since then, it is known as one of the vegetables which prevent exhaustion from the summer heat and help the body to recover from fatigue.
Using a high quality soy sauce
Since okura no aemono contains such few ingredients, it is extremely important to use high quality seasonings to bring out the deliciousness of the okra, as well as to maximize umami flavor. Luckily our website, we have a wide array of soy sauces to choose from. For aemono, we would recommend using Yamaroku Tsurubishio Shoyu Japanese Soy Sauce because it is a high quality soy sauce packed with umami flavor.
1) Preparing the Okra
Cut the stem of okra out and peel the calyx of okra. Please be careful not to cut the stem too deep to avoid nutrients leaking out when you boil okra.
2) Salting the Okra
Lie okra down on the cutting board. Spread salt on them, and roll them with your hand to get rid of hairs on the surface. Once their surfaces are smooth, rinse them with water.
3) Boiling the Okra
Boil water in a pot and add salt to the boiling water. Add the Okra into the pot and boil them for about 2 minutes, or until they turn a vibrant green color.
4) Preparing the Aemono
After 2 minutes, take out the okra and put it into cold water to keep the vibrant green color. Drain the water and put the okra on a plate. If you want to eat the okra whole, spread bonito flakes and pour a little bit of soy sauce onto the okra. It is ready to eat. If you want to eat the okra small bites, cut okra into small pieces. Then, mix the chopped okra with soy sauce and roasted sesame (and dried bonito flakes if you prefer).