Bamya or okra stew made with lamb, okra and tomatoes as the hero ingredients along with some spices and herbs. Okra stew with meat is very common throughout the Mediterranean region but seriously nothing beats the Egyptian one.
Bamya is one of Egypt's signature dishes, that's why you will find about 3 or 4 versions for bamiya. I've showed you before the Cairo style bamya stew, this time I am showing you a different version coming from another part of Egypt. Serve it like Egyptians with vermicelli rice or pita bread and a squeeze of lemon.
For this recipe we will need two sets of ingredients: first set above shows ingredients for cooking the stew including some cooked and already boiled lamb cubes. In the recipe card at the end of this post you'll have the complete instructions to boiling lamb cubes. If you decided to use beef, just boil them as we did in the Egyptian fattah before.
The second set of ingredients are for some extra fancy garlic relish that we will add some to the okra pot and some will be served on top of the bamya bowls.
How to make Bamya
- In a pot, heat olive oil then add onion, garlic, and coriander then sauté for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add chopped cilantro, stir until fragrant then stir in jalapeño peppers.
- Mix in the okra and tomato paste.
- Keep stirring until tomato paste is well distributed, image 4.
- Pour in tomato sauce, broth salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add in cooked lamb cubes, stir to combine, and continue cooking on low until okra is tender.
- Meanwhile, make the garlic relish or topping by heating olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add garlic, coriander, cilantro, and chili peppers.
- Saute relish ingredients well for a minute or two until fragrant. Pour half the relish in the okra pot and let it simmer for another 4 minutes. Reserve the remaining half to top the bowls when serving.
- Mediterranean okra stew is best made with baby okra. I find these frozen in the Middle East market. If you cannot get a hold of them just proceed with the ordinary frozen okra in your nearby store.
- You can also use fresh baby okra, just make sure to clean and cut them well.
- You can use beef, cook beef as we did in the fatah recipe.
- When preparing the lamb it is very important to boil them for 4 minutes first, dump the water then boil them again with spices and vegetables. If you feel that the water is too greasy and lamb still has unpleasant smell, repeat the process of boiling then dumping the water once more.
- Scorching okra is very easy, to prevent that you’ll need to cook it on low and stir it a couple of times just to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- My chili pepper was so hot so I did not add it to the okra because I did not want to make it too hot for my kids. Instead, I served it all on top of individual servings.
- Okra stew keeps very well in the fridge and it is actually better the next day.
This recipe has loads of flavors and texture. The flavor profile comes from loads of garlic, cilantro and coriander. If you are sensitive to garlic feel free to down scale it or use the Cairo version of bamia I mentioned before.
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Bamya (Okra stew)
For boiling the lamb:
- 2 mastic pieces.
- 1 pound lamb. Note1
- 1 small onion.
- 2 garlic clove.
- 1 small carrot cut into chunks.
- 1 celery stalk cut into chunks.
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped.
- 1 teaspoon 7-spice blend.
- 2 teaspoon black pepper.
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom.
- 2 bay leaves.
For the okra stew:
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil.
- 1 medium (200g) onion, diced.
- 5 garlic cloves minced (1.5 Tablespoons).
- 1/2 Tablespoon freshly ground coriander.
- 2 jalapeño pepper. leave out or replace by bell pepper if you do not want the heat.
- 2 Tablespoon fresh cilantro chopped.
- 1 bag (14oz) frozen baby okra. Note2
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste.
- 1 can (15oz) tomato sauce.
- 2 cups broth. beef or lamb.
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste.
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
For the garlic relish/mix (Tasha):
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil.
- 5 Garlic cloves minced.
- 1 Tablespoon freshly ground coriander.
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped.
- 1 tablespoon red chili pepper diced. Optional for extra heat
Cook the lamb:
- In a deep pot over high heat bring about 4 liter of water to a boil.
- Add lamb pieces to the boiling water and wait for it to go back to boiling again. Let it rapidly boil for 3-4 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon take the meat out and dump all the water. Note3
- In the same pot add some tap water again with mastic and onion and bring to a boil.
- Add lamb pieces back on with all the rest of spices, herbs and vegetable.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until done. Will take about 20 minutes.
Cook the okra:
- In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic and coriander then sauté for about 2-3 minute until fragrant.
- Add chopped cilantro, stir until fragrant for almost another 30 seconds.
- Add jalapeño peppers and keep stirring for a minute.
- Now, mix in the okra and tomato paste.
- Pour in tomato sauce and broth.
- Add salt and pepper and bring the whole mixture to a gentle boil.
- Reduce heat and cover, let it simmer on low for 20 minutes.Note4
- Add cooked lamb and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until okra is tender.
Make the garlic topping (Tasha):
- Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium-high.
- Add garlic, cilantro, coriander and pepper if using.
- Sauté until mixture is fragrant, this will take about two to three minutes.
- Add half the mixture to the okra stew, stir and keep simmering for another 3-4 minutes. Note5
- Serve okra stew topped with the remaining Tasha mixture.