Egyptian okra stew, the bamya recipe

IMG_1615

Bamya is a very traditional Egyptian dish but it is still very common in all Arab countries. It is usually cooked with lamb, however I am not a big fan of lamb (despite of being middle eastern) so I usually cook it with beef instead. If you are a vegetarian, you can still follow the exact recipe but replace the beef stock with a vegetable one. The interesting fact or perhaps it is an Egyptian myth about beef stew is that they always taste even way more delicious the next day.

In general, cooking any Egyptian vegetable stew include 3 main steps:

  • Preparing the beef stock
  • Preparing the tomato sauce
  • Mixing all together: the beef, tomato sauce and the veggies

Also, some Egyptians like to add an extra step at the very end of this dish but I usually skip it since I am always in a rush to eat. So, some move the cooked bamya stew in a casserole and place it in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or more. Enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients

2 lbs beef stew cut into cubes
2 large onions diced into 1/4 ”
2 tablespoons corn oil
4 bay leaves
1 lime juice
1 teaspoon 7 spices
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 chopped/squeezed  fresh tomatoes by your food processor
1 bag of frozen okra (if you have time, go fresh, flavors are way better of course)
1 tomato cut in half
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cooking the beef

Use half of the diced onions and rub them well with sprinkled salt and pepper (little bit) and set them aside.
Wash the beef and pat dry them.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the beef.
Add the onions mix to the beef and mix well. Add the cardamom, lime juice and the 7 spices on the beef.

Marinated beef cubes with onions and spices

Marinated beef cubes with onions and spices

In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons of corn oil.
Add the beef mix and stir until it browned.

Brown the beef

Brown the beef

Add 2 cups of boiling water on the beef.
Adjust salt and pepper (about 3/4 teaspoon but taste to make sure).
Add the tomato  that is cut in half and the bay leaves to the beef in the pot.
Cover and lower the heat for 1 hour.

IMG_1599

Preparing the tomato sauce

In a separate pot, add the olive oil, the minced garlic and the second half of the diced onions. Stir until it becomes a bit yellowish.
Add the tomato juice and the tomato paste.

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce

Stir then add 1 cup of water.
Add the sugar, little bit of salt and pepper since we will adjust it at the end.
Set aside.

DSC00722

Preparing the beef stew with veggies together

When the meat is done.
Add the frozen okra.

IMG_1603

Add the tomato sauce mix into the pot where the beef and broth are .
Add the cumin.
Bring to boil.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes on low heat.
If it needs more sauce, add a little bit of water but I like the tomato sauce more on the thick side.
Taste to adjust salt and pepper.
The next step is very optional and usually done by some Egyptians. However, you can skip it but I like to do it as it adds extra flavors. In a small pan, add 1 tablespoon of corn oil, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom. Stir until yellowish then pour that mix in the pot. Also, some people like to put the bamya in the oven for 15 minutes or so to bake. I usually do not though and it still tastes so yummy 🙂

IMG_1604

Best served with Egyptian calrose rice. Recipe of the calrose rice is here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.52.47 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s