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Bamia (Okra)

Okra Stew



Cook Time:

2 hours

Can I adapt this easily as a vegetarian or vegan?


This method of cooking okra is common throughout the Middle East. Its highly adaptable and can be made vegan or with meat.

In Sudan it is traditionally eaten with kisra, a thin pancake-like bread made with fermented batter.

It is also delicious with rice.


  • 1 onion

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • olive oil

  • 2-3 tsp. baharat

  • 250g pasata 

  • 100ml water

  • 500g baby okra

  • 25g dried apricots

  • 1 lemon; juiced

  • 250g diced lamb (optional)


Step One

Finely chop the onions and mince the garlic 

Step Two

Lightly fry both together in a saucepan with the olive oil, until the onions have just begun to soften

Step Three (Optional)

If using lamb, then add it at this point to seal the meat

Step Four

Add the okra (no need to defrost) and the baharat, frying until the vegetables have turned from a bright to dull green

Step Five

Pour the pasata and the water into the pan so that it just covers the okra. Stir everything together and season

Slice the apricots vertically in three

Step Six

Simmer for an hour (if not using meat) to an hour and a half (if using meat)

After half an hour, add the sliced apricots

Step Seven

Stir in the lemon juice and simmer for another 5 minutes before serving


Mini or ‘baby’ okra (usually about 1.5cm long) are usually more tender and less 'gloopy' than larger varieties. They are usually sold frozen in the UK. Larger okra, usually sold fresh, should be cut in half or even thirds, before cooking this way.

To make vegan: omit the meat, this will not compromise the flavour

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