Easy Mediterranean Okra Stew - Bamia

10 servings
1 hr 15 min

Okra cooked with lamb, beef, and vegetables yield a luscious and nourishing stew with Mediterranean flavors the whole family loves. Easy to make, you can enjoy this crowd-pleaser dish year-round.

Okra stew, also known as bamia, bamya, and okro, is comfort food often served for iftar (a feast to break daily Ramadan fast at sunset) that is easily stretched to feed a crowd.

If you're not familiar with okra, sometimes called ladies' fingers or ochro, are green ribbed pods best known as a key ingredient in gumbo, but they are also good pickled, breaded and fried, or raw when added to salads.

Its origin can be traced to West Africa, Ethiopia, and South Asia, but it has also found its way to Middle Eastern, Eastern Europe, and Southern U.S. cuisines.

If you ask me, okra tastes somewhere between eggplant and asparagus, and it combines well with other vegetables, particularly tomatoes.

Sliced pods exude a sticky juice that thickens any liquid, a characteristic that explains okra's long-standing use in stews and soups like gumbo.

This Mediterranean stew recipe with bamia is super easy to make in one pot, and it's very comforting in the winter over a bowl of rice or crusty bread.

If you are health-conscious, okra has many health benefits. It is low in calories, a good source of dietary fiber, and contains minerals and vitamins.

Easy Mediterranean Okra Stew - Bamia
Recipe details
  • 10  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 1 Hours Total time: 1 hr 15 min
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  • ▢ 2 medium onions chopped
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ▢ 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ▢ 1 large carrot sliced
  • ▢ 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • ▢ 1 pound lamb meat ground or cut into chunks
  • ▢ 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ▢ 5 allspice berries or ½ tsp ground
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ▢ 2 cups diced or chopped tomatoes canned or fresh
  • ▢ 2-3 cups water or broth
  • ▢ 2 pounds small frozen okra you can use fresh, see notes.
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ▢ Fresh parsley for serving optional

In a large Dutch oven or a nonstick pot, sauté onions in oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic, carrots, beef, and lamb meat and sauté until meat is lightly browned on all sides.
Add spices, tomatoes, and water or broth and bring to a boil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, on medium-low heat until meat is tender, about 45-60 minutes.
Add the okra and lemon juice to the meat mixture. Add more water, if necessary, to cover the okra. Cover and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove the lid and cook until the stew reaches your desired thickness. Check for seasoning, adding pepper and salt to taste. Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.
  • Lamb meat adds that Mediterranean flavor to okra stew, but you can use just beef, veal, or chicken.
  • Small, young pods are the most tender. As the vegetable matures, it becomes fibrous and tough. If your pods are large, slice them into rings or half lengthwise. Sliced pods exude a sticky juice or slime; thus, it is best to keep them whole.
  • If you're using fresh pods, see tips in the post above. For frozen pods, don't thaw them before adding them to the stew. They will cook in about 10 minutes, so make sure your meat is tender first.
  • Don't overcook the okra. Once added to the stew, only stir it gently so the pods remain intact. In addition to keeping them whole, we add lemon and tomatoes to prevent them from getting too slimy.
  • I prefer my okra stew thick. Add more water or broth to make it soupier, if that's your preference.
  • For more tips and info visit the post by following the link below.
All that's Jas
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