Fry okra with shrimp is fairly new to me, but according to my Guyanese friends it’s a popular dish in the traditional Guyanese home. This fry okra with shrimp is a recipe which was passed on to me to try by someone with Guyanese roots and I do hope I do it justice. Over the years my appreciation for okra (ochro as we tend to also call it in the Caribbean) has heightened so when the recipe was shared with me I can’t tell you how excited I was to give it a try. Many moons later and I can safely say it’s one of my favorite okra recipes.
1 lb okra
3 cloves garlic
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 scallions (green onions)
3 tablespoon veg oil
1 lb shrimp (cleaned / deveined)
2-3 tablespoons celery leaves
Notes: When using scotch bonnet peppers or any hot peppers, do wear gloves, wash your hands with soap and water after handling and if you’re concerned about the raw heat.. don’t include any seeds or membrane surrounding (whitish area) the seeds. This is where the real heat in hot peppers are.
Tips: to avoid the okra being overly slimy, wash, pat dry, slice.. then place on a cookie sheet or large plate and place in the sun to dry a bit. Or at least allow to air dry for a couple hours in your kitchen. Additionally, add the salt near the very end of cooking as the salt will draw-out the moisture and cause to go slimy.
As I mentioned above (see tips), there’s a way to prevent the cut okra from being overly slimy, but I was in a bit of a rush and skipped this step. All I did was wash the okras, pat dry with paper towels, then sliced. Remember to remove the stem and end tips and discard.
Next up you’ll have to chop the scallions, onion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper and celery leaves.
Peel and devein your shrimp.. wash clean and chop into small pieces. I had medium sized shrimp, so I simply cut in half. Here’s a short video showing how to peel and devein shrimp (remember you can now purchase shrimp that’s fully cleaned at many supermarkets):
With everything ready, it’s time to cook. Add the vegetable oil into a heavy pan, then add the chopped ingredients (not the shrimp yet). Please also add the black pepper to the mix. Cook that for a couple minutes on low heat to really bring out the flavors.
Now it’s time to add the shrimp pieces and cook on med heat for 2-3 minutes. Here is where you now have 2 options. 1. You can remove the shrimp at this point and set it aside.. then add the final 2 minutes of cooking (to avoid overcooking the shrimp). Or 2. I simply kept the shrimp in the pot and added the cut okra to it. Keep stirring often as it can start to stick to the bottom of the pot/pan (why we started off with so much oil).
Allow the fry okra with shrimp to cook for about 7-10 minutes uncovered. You will start to see slightly browned edges on the okra… that’s the best part of this dish (my humble opinion) Now add the salt, give it a good stir (remember to add back the cooked shrimp at this point if you removed them earlier) and you’re done.