SARAH’S IRAQI-STYLE BAMIA (MEAT AND OKRA STEW)

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PREP TIME 20 MINUTES COOK TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES YIELDS 3-4 SERVINGS

Bamia is a well-known Middle Eastern dish, most popular in Iraq. Named after the Arabic word for "okra," it combines the vegetable's mild and silky flavor with the heartiness of lamb and a tangy undertone of tomato. Many consider it to be the king of stews, and it's widely beloved by all who come across it—although I may be biased. It's one of my personal favorites, a dish that never fails to re-connect me with my Iraqi heritage. To complete the set, pair this recipe with my basmati rice.

INGREDIENTS

METRIC

500 grams lamb stew meat

500 grams extra-ripe tomatoes

400 grams fresh or frozen okra

4-5 cloves garlic

1 large lemon, juiced

Salt, to taste

45-60 grams cooking oil (rapeseed or sunflower preferred)

15-30 grams tomato paste (optional)

IMPERIAL

1 pound lamb stew meat

1 pound extra-ripe tomatoes

14 ounces fresh or frozen okra

4-5 cloves garlic

1 large lemon, juiced

Salt, to taste

3-4 tablespoons cooking oil (rapeseed or sunflower preferred)

1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)


NOTE

Due to quarantine limitations, ingredients photographed may not be entirely faithful to those listed. (Don't be afraid to get creative when making this yourself!)


METHOD

PREPARE TOMATO JUICE

To begin, beat the tomatoes thoroughly in a blender or food processor. Pour the liquid through a strainer to separate the juice from the peel and set aside for later use.

PREPARE REMAINING INGREDIENTS

Place the lamb chunks in a large pot and cover with water. Boil on medium heat for 5 minutes, or until white foam begins to form on the surface. Drain water from pot.

With only meat left in the pot, cover again with about 2 cups of water and leave to boil on medium heat until fully cooked. By the end, the water should be mostly cooked dry.


While the meat is boiling, prepare the okra. Fresh okras need only be washed and the stems cut off, but frozen okra should be taken out beforehand to thaw. Once at room temperature, they can be prepared the same way.

*Green beans pictured. If possible, please use okra in this stew for a more authentic taste.


ASSEMBLE YOUR BAMIA

Once the meat is fully cooked with only a small amount of water remaining, add the okra and whole garlic cloves. Stir well.

Pour in the tomato and lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Add cooking oil to the mixture, then leave to boil until thickened.


At this point, inspect the stew for a bright orange-red color and, if necessary, add in a bit of tomato paste for a deeper hue. Taste it for flavor and adjust the salt and lemon accordingly. Bring everything down to a simmer and let cook for a final 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.


TIP 1

Although lamb is the more traditional meat to use in this recipe, beef can be an acceptable and more easily found alternative.


TIP 2

For a vegetarian version, simply remove the meat from the ingredients and proceed as usual. The taste will of course be different, but delicious nonetheless!


TIP 3

This flavorful stew is best when balanced with something light to soak it up. Basmati rice and Iraqi flatbread are two classic options.

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

SARAH DHEYAA HASAN • SWEDEN

Although originally from the capital of Iraq, Baghdad, Sarah spent the majority of her childhood away from there and was immersed in different cultures from a very young age. Learning more about different traditions and cuisine was (and still is) something that intrigued her immensely. So when Aria proposed joining The Red Goji, she immediately leapt at the chance. In her free time, Sarah likes to read, swim, or attempt to try new recipes. Currently lives in Sweden.

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