Okra with spicy shrimp paste

I wanted a home-cooked lunch for myself last week but only had okra (or lady’s fingers) in my fridge. Recalling how my mum used to stir-fry them with dried shrimps, garlic and chilli, I decided to make a savoury and thick paste to stir-fry the okra and lay it on top spaghetti to make a simple meal. The shrimp paste is really versatile and you can use it to stir fry cucumbers, eggplants or even mushrooms.

Okra with Spicy Shrimp Paste

Prep 10 mins

Cook 15-20 minutes for spaghetti; 10 mins for okra 

Serves 1

(a) Handful of spaghetti
(b) 10 medium-sized okra, cut into 3cm pieces

Shrimp paste
(c) 1 medium onion, quartered
(d) 3 garlic cloves 2 bird’s eye chilli (commonly called Thai Chillies or Chilli Padi)
(e) 2 tbsp small dried shrimps

 (f) 1 tbsp of cooking oil
(g) 1 tbsp of light soya sauce

1. Bring a pot of water and some salt to boil. Throw in the spaghetti and cook as per instructions on packaging.

2. Whilst the spaghetti is cooking, start making the shrimp paste. Put the onion, garlic, chilli and shrimps in a blender and blend at low speed for about 10 seconds (or until everything is finely chopped). Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and fry the blended paste for about 3-5 minus, until slightly browned. Season with soya sauce.

3. Stir in okra and stir-fry for another 5 minutes (or longer, if you prefer slightly mushy okra). Add a tablespoon of water if the mixture starts to stick to the pan.

4. Serve on top of spaghetti or plain white rice.

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