Soaked in tomato sauce, flavored with all the necessary spices, this is the best - if not the only- way to make my kids eat veggies. Tomato sauce lends any veggies a desirable taste specially for little tummies. In fact, this is how we usually eat our veggies in the Middle East.
I wanted to introduce you to this way of veggie cooking a long time ago and when Maryam encouraged us at MENA to cook some of the wonderful Iraqi dishes, I've seen the chance I was waiting for.
This way of veggie cooking is almost how we eat our daily veggies in the Middle East, you can use it to cook okra, peas, green beans, zucchini, .... you name it.
Not only delicious and appealing but also very easy to make. You can skip the beef and make it frugal 🙂 or you can add some minced meat, but this way does not go well with chicken, so I do not recommend substituting beef with chicken.
I was wondering when I first landed in the US, how do people here eat the veggies?, and was so surprised that they do not just put it with tomato sauce.
I hope you'll try this way specially if you are having trouble convincing your kids to eat their veggies. Can be served with white rice or pasta.
If you like this recipe do not forget to give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ star rating and attach a photo of your finished dish. It is always a pleasure of mine to see your photos and check your own take of the recipe. Thank you.
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Okra stew (bamia)
For cooking the beef
- 1 pound beef cut into 1 in cubes, Note1.
- 1 medium onion , quartered.
- 3 cardamom pods , crushed.
- 2 bay leaves
- Water to cover.
For the okra stew:
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium sized onion-chopped.
- 2 garlic cloves- minced.
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground coriander.
- 2 jalapeño peppers , optional.
- 1 cup broth Note2
- 1 bag (10oz) frozen okra Note3
- 1 can (15oz) tomato sauce.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
Cooking the beef:
- In a deep pot over medium high heat, add water, onion, bay leaves and cardamom pods then bring to a boil.
- Add beef cubes continue to boil for 5 minutes skimming the foam from the top. Then reduce heat to medium and keep cooking until beef is done. Note4
- Strain the beef keeping the beef and beef broth aside.
Cook the okra:
- In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Saute onions and garlic until fragrant. Add coriander and stir for a minute then add the peppers if using.
- Pour the tomato sauce, along with one cup of the beef broth we just made. Bring to a boil.
- Stir in the okra, salt and pepper . Adjust seasoning then cover and let it cook.
- Bring back to a boil then reduce heat and simmer. Check liquid level regularly as okra scorches easily.
- When it is almost done, after 35-40 minutes, add the cooked beef. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes.