Recipe for Bamya - Omer Eltigani
Bamya - Okra stew - بامية مطبوخة
The Sudanese Kitchen
Okra in a tomato and lamb stew, seasoned with ground coriander with hints of garlic and fresh lime. Served with rice or bread.
As children we called this dish “mullah go-onja” which translates as - frog stew, because we saw the slimy green okra as frogs and for that reason refused to eat them and only ate the sauce around them with bread. Thankfully I grew out of that childish phase, and now love them and all their slimy goodness.
500 ml premade tabeekh base (link here)
500g small, fresh okra - washed and heads discarded
2 tablespoons tomato puree/paste
300 to 400ml tomato juice
2 tablespoons ground coriander
Salt and pepper – to taste
2 to 3 garlic cloves - crushed
1 lime - to garnish
Add okra to the tabeekh base ideally as the tabeekh base is stewing with 25-35min of cooking time remaining. Okra takes longer to cook than other vegetables, therefore including it at this stage ensures the meat and okra finish cooking at the same time. However, if the tabeekh base is prepared, simply add the remove the meat and cook the okra for the same duration then return the meat and continue as instructed. Okra cooks when it breaks easily to touch and the seeds change colour from white to a light pink.
Add tomato puree or paste and tomato juice then gently stir the stew so as to not split the cooked okra. Add ground coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep covered and on a low heat for a further 10-15mins to allow the tomato to cook.
An oily layer should develop on the surface, known in Sudanese cooking as: al wish - the face. Finish by adding crushed garlic as the oils rise and mix in gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired then garnish with a dash of lime juice and serve.
Okra may be peeled to remove its fury exterior if desired, makes for smooth okra in the stew
Slice the 2 to 3 sides of the fresh okra before adding to the tabeekh base to help the them cook more evenly.
If using frozen okra, avoid adding too much water since the frozen okra contains plenty of ice.