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"vibes" vegetable fried rice with okra

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Unique fried rice side dish featuring fresh okra and Caribbean ingredients that can be ready in less than 30 minutes.

vegetable fried rice with okra on a white plate

Fried rice for me is usually a leftover brunch recipe for me. Whether it’s Friday night PF Chang or our favorite local Chinese spot, we end up with way too much steamed rice. No problem, as it’s usually the end of the week and I’m looking to get rid of whatever remaining fresh ingredients are still on hand, usually onions, carrots, peppers, etc. and possibly frozen shrimp. On occasion, I have extra smoked brisket and will make this brisket fried rice dish.


Okra Fried Rice Ingredients

Today it’s all about okra as the guest ingredient in this vegetable fried rice. The okra gives the dish that Southern or African vibe. Coconut flavor from the coconut oil, plus the habanero, lime juice, allspice, and cilantro provide the Caribbean vibes. Critical to making this dish sing is the mix of spices and fresh seasonings (garlic and ginger). The paprika gives that smoky earthy element while the fresh ginger adds some zing and the garlic is kind of the unifier.

  • Okra
  • Rice
  • Red onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Habanero chili
  • Fresh ginger
  • Garlic cloves
  • Allspice
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Coconut oil
  • Soy sauce

How To Make Okra Fried Rice (Step by Step)

Step 1: Infuse the oil

infuse the coconut oil with fresh garlic and habanero for more flavor

Step 2: Saute the vegetables

Add the onions and saute with salt and pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add the okra and cook 3-4 minutes more.

Add bell pepper, mix well then season with paprika and allspice. Saute quickly about 1 minute. Using a grater, grate fresh ginger right into the pan.

Step 3: Add remaining ingredients

Add the rice, soy, and cilantro then mix well and fry for 2-3 minutes.

vegetable fried rice with okra on a white plate

Okra Fried Rice Cooking Tips

  • Dryness is essential – allows food to get that wok taste. Moisture cools skillet down and you want that bad boy really hot otherwise the rice will start to stick to the wok
  • You want individual grains of rice when all is done not lumpy clumps. Break-up the rice before adding to the wok
  • Use Jasmine rice for the perfect balance of stickiness and individual grains
  • Make sure that the pan is really hot before adding the rice to allow the rice to brown and acquire some texture
  • A small amount of soy sauce along will suffice.
  • Less is more; too many ingredients make this something other than fried rice

Is Vegetable Fried Rice Spicy?

Though habaneros are pretty high up on the fiery heat scale, it's presence in this dish is low profile. It's only used to infuse the coconut oil. So rather than slicing it up and making it an integral part of the dish, I just added slits to a whole habanero so when heated in the oil you only get the essence of the heat. So overall you get the fruity elements of the habanero with just a very small hint of it's heat.

Is the okra slimy?

The question of slime always comes up with okra like a scarlet letter. Adding okra to a vegetable fried rice is the perfect anti-slime move. This is a quick cook hit heat cooking dish which basically nukes the slime and eliminates it completely. For more detailed ways to combat slime see this okra and collard green salad recipe post which features several tips for okra slime control.

What If I Don't Have Leftover Rice?

Chinese restaurants have perfected steamed rice, which is why it's just easier and no stress to use for any fried rice dish. Plus it's a great short-cut. If you don't have it on hand, feel free to use any of those "Ready Rice" packets you can buy at any grocery store.

Uncle Ben's varieties are pretty much fool proof - just 90 seconds in the microwave and you're good to go. Even better, they offer a Jasmine Rice version that perfect for this dish. However, if you'd rather make your own rice then try this coconut ginger rice for a tutorial for making the perfect rice.


Crispy Roasted Okra

Southern Fried Okra

Roasted Okra

Stewed Okra

Grilled Okra

Okra Soup

Okra and Collards Salad


Okra 101

Jollof Rice

Red Beans and Rice

Red Rice and Shrimp


If you make this vegan soul food okra fried rice come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

vegetable fried rice with okra on a white plate

Okra Fried Rice

A Chinese staple with Afro-Caribbean twist for a delicious and colorful weeknight side dish.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Caribbean, Chinese
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 84kcal
Author: Marwin Brown


  • Grater


  • ½ lb Okra sliced diagonally
  • 1 medium Red onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 habanero chili
  • ¼ teaspoon Ginger grated
  • ¼ Garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh Cilantro de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 medium Lime juiced
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon Soy sauce
  • 2 cups rice cooked


  • Using sharp knife cut slits into sides of habanero.
  • Heat oil on low and add garlic and habanero to infuse the oil. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Add onions and sauté with salt and pepper
  • Heat pan to med-high, add okra and sauté 3-4 minutes
  • Stir in the bell pepper, paprika, and allspice.
  • Grate ginger right into the pan.
  • Add soy sauce, cilantro, and rice and mix well cooking for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add additional seasoning if needed and finish with lime juice. Serve


YouTube video


  • I use leftover rice from Chinese take-out since it's hard to find better cooked rice. Uncle Ben's microwavable ready rice is a close second
  • Use Jasmine rice for the perfect balance of stickiness and individual grains if you plan on cooking your own rice
  • Make sure that the pan is really hot before adding the rice to allow the rice to brown and acquire some texture
  • A small amount of soy sauce along will suffice.


Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1092mg | Potassium: 322mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1710IU | Vitamin C: 61.8mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg
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