Bamia (Okra Stew)
Born in Eritrea, Chef Menal Ghebremeskel Kidane has fond memories of bamia from her childhood. The dish, which she often makes with fresh okra in the early summer, reminds her of home, conjuring memories of her mother cooking.
Bamia, also the Arabic word for okra, is a classic stew consisting of okra, a meat like beef or lamb, tomatoes, spices and more.
Kidane recommends serving her rendition of the dish over injera or rice, and topping it with fresh cilantro.
This recipe is published in The What We Carry Issue of Life & Thyme Post, our exclusive newspaper for Life & Thyme members. Get your copy.
- 1 lb. cubed beef
- 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 lb. okra, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp. 7 spice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6 oz. tomato paste (1 small can)
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
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Dice the onion finely and add it to a stock pot along with the vegetable oil, ½ a teaspoon of salt, 7 spice, cumin and coriander powder. Cook the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent.
Wash the beef. Add the washed beef to the pot, and brown on all sides for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes; continue to cook for another few minutes.
Add the okra and garlic to the pot along with another ½ teaspoon of salt.
Add about 8 cups of water in the pot, stir the ingredients together, and bring to a rolling boil on medium heat for roughly 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add the fresh cilantro and check the tenderness of both the okra and the meat. If they are both still slightly firm, add more water (roughly 1 to 2 cups) and allow it to continue boiling for another 20 minutes, or until tender.
Check the softness of the meat and okra, as well as the seasoning and adjust accordingly. If okra and meat are both tender, turn the heat off.
Serve bamia over injera or rice. Sprinkle fresh cilantro for garnish.