Cooking Middle Eastern food, can get confusing. Every home makes Middle Eastern food differently. There is not like a one recipe used by everyone. But instead, the same dish everyone knows is made differently from one household to another.
Today, I am sharing the dish that I have made for the very first time yesterday. It is a very popular dish amongst the Arabs, the Arabs from the Levant; Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Bamieh. I would love to hear feedback from your side if you do make Bamieh. Where are you from? How different do you make your Bamieh from the recipe I will be sharing below?
Bamieh is the Arabic word for Okra, and once we say Okra, we all know what dish we are talking about. Cooked with beef mostly, some tend to prefer it vegetarian like myself. But the recipe I am sharing with you is by my mother.
My mother is an amazing cook. Honestly, not because she is my mother, but she is so good. The only difficulty I face with her when I collect her recipes, is how bad she is in sharing ingredients, because like most Arab mothers, they only work with sight and sense. They do not follow specific steps, they rather cook their dishes naturally.
The Bamieh I made yesterday, I must admit, turned out a little dull. Tasteless in comparison to how my mother makes it. And it is because I did not follow her steps. I wanted to cook it vegetarian, so I did not have any stock, and when I was advised to used ready cubes, I hesitated and used half a cube. So I turned out having an Okra stew that required a lot of salt and pepper.
However, in this recipe shared today, I will be adding beef stock, and if you prefer to go vegetarian like me, then I do recommend you do add fresh tomatoes, and cube stoke. Some people garnish their dish with coriander cooked in garlic, others use basil like my mother.
Some people saute onions, garlic and fresh tomatoes withe Okra before adding boiled water. This can also be a better option for those who prefer their Okra vegetarian, and here is a quick how to do it:
In a sauce pan, add olive oil, onions and saute, then add garlic and Okra and saute some more, add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and spices (salt, pepper, mixed pepper, dried coriander) and saute, then add your beef stock, chicken stock or veggies stock, and leave to boil).
However, if you do follow the steps below, your Bamieh should turn out delicious. Remember, it is all about your tomato sauce that you need creativity it. Okra tastes fantastic if you love it, since many people I know hate it. I feel like with Okra, it is a love hate relationship, and nothing in between. I personally love how it melts in my mouth when I do have it. So all you need is the right steps for a good tomato sauce.
Here is my Mother’s own classic recipe:
Makes enough for 4 people – Time: Not more than an hour
Tabikh Bamieh – Okra Stew
1/2 kilo beef or lamb pieces
5 Bay Leaves
A bag of zero Okra (I buy it frozen and it usually weights 400g)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
200g tomato juice (fresh or strained tomatoes)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
Optional 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and mixed spice
3 garlic cloves
Handful of basil
- Cook your beef, you can use instructions from my Maqlouba recipe
- Defrost your Okra, wash and leave over strainer
- Once your beef is cooked, remove bay leaves, and add your okra into the stock
- Add your tomato paste, tomato juice, salt, sugar and any extra spices and cover
- Leave to boil and until your Okra is tender about 30-45minutes over medium to low heat
- Once your ready to serve your cooked okra, mince your garlic, and add to some olive oil over frying pan, and let it turn yellow
- Chop your basil and add them into your yellow garlic and stir for a minute and then pour it into your cooked okra stew
This dish is usually served with Rice