This easy, low carb okra recipe only takes minutes to prepare. It's a delicious izakaya side dish to accompany your favorite Japanese meal. Or just whip it up for breakfast like I do.
If you're already an okra lover like I am, I promise you've neba* tasted okra like this before!
(*Neba neba means sticky in Japanese.)
What is okra?
Technically speaking, okra is a fruit because it contains seeds on the inside. Culinary speaking, it's used as a vegetable in the kitchen (baked, fried, boiled).
Because of its slender shape that tapers to a point, it's nicknamed "ladies' fingers". The top looks like the cap on a tube of toothpaste.
Typically in Japan, they're green in color. But in Hawaii, I found ones that were red on the outside and green in the middle.
The texture is crunchy on the outside. But the best part about okra is the slime, which is what makes it so unique. At the same time, it's the sliminess that many Westerners can't get over. Ekk!
When I first came to Japan, it was definitely weird to try. Eventually, I acquired the taste. Now I love okra.
Is okra low carb?
If you follow a low-carb diet, good news. Okra is practically the queen of low-carb vegetables because of its nutritional value.
A 100 g serving contains just 3.8 net carbs. To compare with other green vegetables, spinach contains 1 g of net carbs, broccoli contains 4 g, and zucchini has 3 g.
Fun fact: green vegetables tend to be lower in carbs than vegetables that are other colors.
Note: I haven’t calculated the total carbs of this recipe, but all the ingredients are low in carbs, minus the dashi with a small amount of added sugar.
Is okra keto?
If you are on a keto diet, there’s more good news. YES! One cup (100 g) of raw okra has 7 g carbs, and like I said above, about 4 net carbs.
Here's another recipe for keto fried okra using almond flour and parmesan cheese.
Okra was among the 3 best vegetables that Dr. Gundry recommends that you add to your diet.
Okra is high in:
- vitamin C, Vitamin A, and K1
- folic acid
- calcium and potassium
The "goo" in okra is a good source of dietary fiber. One cup of fresh okra contains 3 g fiber.
- shredded mozzarella cheese
- grass-fed butter
- sea salt
- ground black pepper
- katsuo bushi (bonito flakes)
- kizami nori seaweed
- natto (optional)
- dashi* (from the packet that comes in your natto container)
- soy sauce* (optional)
- green onion (scallions)
*If you want to cut out the sugar that's in dashi, I recommend using olive oil as an alternative.
Instead of soy sauce, you could also try gluten-free soy sauce, coconut aminos, or tamari. (Soy sauce is optional for added flavor and saltiness.)
Kitchen Tools needed
- cutting board
- mixing bowls
- small frypan (non-stick is easier)
- fork (or chopsticks)
Where can I buy okra?
In Japan, you can find fresh, raw okra at pretty much any supermarket. You'll find it in one of the refrigerated cases in the produce section.
When I was in the US, I found it at our local Asian grocery store. They had a big tub of okra in the refrigerator so I could grab just the right amount I needed.
You may be able to find frozen okra, which I can only imagine will work fine. I assume it won't taste quite as good.
You may have a hard time finding okra at your local supermarket unless you live somewhere where okra is popular like the American South or Cyprus.
Depending on your climate, you could also grow your own. Okra likes a warmer climate.
Low Carb Okra Recipe
- ½ tbsp butter
- okra about 8 small pods
- 1 green onion (scallion) green top
- 1-2 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1-2 pinches salt
- ground black pepper to season
- ½ pack natto optional
- 1 pack dashi (that comes inside natto packaging) optional
- soy sauce to season- optional
- Wash okra thoroughly in cold water. Chop off all the ends and tips. Then, slice into coins about 1 cm thick. Set aside in a bowl.
- Wash green onion in cold water. Finely slice the green top (stem) horizontally. Set aside in bowl.
- Crack egg into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Then, mix with a fork until the consistency is even.
- Turn on stove burner to low heat. Pre-heat frypan for a minute.
- Heat butter until melted. Swivel your fry pan in circles until the entire bottom of your frypan is coated with melted butter.
- Add okra coins to the frypan. Turn the stove top up to medium-low to medium heat. Stir fry okra for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to soften and the edges begin to brown. Stir occasionally with a spatula.
- Use your spatula or fork to turn all the okra coins so they lay flat in your frypan.
- Turn heat down to low. Gently pour egg mixture to cover the entire base of the frypan.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the eggs and okra.
- Once the eggs have formed a firm omelette-like sheet, (about 2-3 minutes), using a large spatula to flip the sheet of okra and egg.
- Cook the cheese covered bottom until it begins to brown (about 1-2 min)
Plating and add toppings
- Use a spatula or flip the okra omelette onto a plate for serving. (Cheese side up.)
- Sprinkle katsu bushi (bonito flakes) on top.
- (Optional): Open up package of natto and remove the plastic film. Using chopsticks or a fork, stir natto in a circular motion. Then, spoon natto on top of the okra omelette.
- Sprinkle sliced green onions on top.
- (Optional): Pour the packet of dashi that came with your natto on top of the natto.
- (Optional): For extra seasoning, drip a small amount of soy sauce on top the natto.
- Serve warm.
What takes the slime out of okra?
Not everyone is a fan of okra's slimy texture. You either suck it up and learn to like it or it will forever gross you out.
If you don't like the slime, this recipe takes a lot of the slime out of okra.
When you cook the okra in a frying pan, you'll definitely see the slime come out.
With the heat high enough, a lot of it will evaporate.
However, I understand that you may be much more sensitive to slime than I am. I get it.
Before cooking okra in a frying pan, you can use one of these tricks:
1) Add chopped okra to a pot of water.
2) Bring water to a boil. Then, boil the okra for two minutes.
3) Pour chopped okra into a colander to drain. Rinse in cool water to remove slime.
In Cyprus, the traditional way of de-sliming okra is to cover it with vinegar and salt, before cutting.
1) For a half kilogram of okra, cover with a ½ cup of vinegar.
2) Sprinkle all the okra with salt.
3) Mix well with your hands.
4) Leave for 45 minutes.
5) Rinse off all the salt with cool running water before cooking.
The acid in the vinegar will thin out the slime, which is alkaline.
If possible, choose the smallest okra pods. The smaller pods will have less slime inside.
And if you are really serious about removing as much slime as possible, you can dry off okra after washing it.
Cooking with an acid, like tomatoes or lemon juice, will also help reduce the slime.
Baking on a baking sheet is another option to make okra crunchy rather than gooey. If you want crispy okra, like potato chips, this is probably your best bet.
In the southern states of the US, okra is battered and fried. Frying crispy balances out the sliminess inside. I've never tried it personally, but it looks good!
For a healthier version of Southern fried okra, here's a recipe for air fryer okra.
How to store okra
Keep unwashed, dry okra in the refrigerator, preferably in your vegetable crisper. Wet okra will go bad quickly and can breed mold.
If you washed more than you use, first dry off the okra pods.
Rather than inside an airtight container, you'll find okra packaged in containers that allow air in at the supermarket.
If this is the case, I just use the container my okra came in for storage.
Otherwise, there are two other good options for storage.
1) Put dried okra in a paper bag.
2) Wrap in paper towel. Then, put it inside a perforated plastic bag.
After about three days, okra will start to go bad in the fridge. Since okra doesn't keep long, I try to buy only the amount I plan on using.
Other low carb recipes
Some more great recipes that are suitable for your low-carb diet:
Similar healthy recipes you might like
Learn my secret to making natto taste better:
Try goya with eggs: