Levantine dishes are cooked differently in every home. They are similar, usually have the same ingredients, but everyone has a preference to the way they cook the stew.
Today, I am sharing a very popular dish, which I love so much; the okra stew; Bamieh.
Bamieh is the Arabic word for Okra, and once we say Bamieh, we know which dish we are talking about. It is usually cooked with beef cubes, but it can easily be a delicious vegetarian dish.
Okra is a very popular ingredient in the Levant. There are different recipes like Bamieh bil Zeit (Okra soaked in olive oil), and Bamieh bil Sineh (Baked Okra) which are also very delicious. However, this one below is the classic recipe.
I got this recipe from my mother. And trust me, she makes the most delicious classic bamieh. I only added the pomegranate molasses, so it is optional. It is also garnished with a very popular Levantine touch at the end, we refer to as Adha, which usually contains fried garlic mixed with a herb, like basil, coriander, parsley…. This recipe will be made with the aroma of basil.
Makes enough for 4 people – Time: Not more than an hour
Bamieh – Okra Stew
1/2 kilo beef cubes
5 Bay Leaves
2 bags of Okra (make sure you buy the (zero) size and each bag contains 400g)
2 tb of tomato paste
11/4 cup of tomato juice (I use pomi)
11/4 cup of chopped tomatoes (I use pomi)
1 ts of salt
1 ts of sugar
2 tb pomegranate molasses (optional)
Optional 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and mixed spice
2 tb Olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
Handful of basil
- Cook your beef, you can use instructions from my Maqlouba recipe.
- Defrost your Okra, wash and leave over a strainer.
- Once your beef is cooked, remove bay leaves, and add your okra into the stock. Make sure you have around 3 cups of stock in there, if it is less, then please add more water.
- Add your tomato paste, tomato juice, chopped tomatoes salt, sugar, pomegranate molasses, and any extra spices and cover. (You can add chili/shata if you like your food spicy).
- Bring your stew to boil, taste, and adjust.
- Cover and let it cook for 25 minutes.
- Once you are ready to serve your cooked okra, make your adha.
- In a small pan, add your olive oil, minced garlic and fry until it is yellow.
- Add your chopped basil and wait for it to cook for a minute or two before you soak your small pan inside your big okra stew. I literally do what my mother do, I swing the small pan inside the stew so the full aroma is mixed within.
This dish is usually served with Rice.