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Bamia, also known as bamiya, is a Middle Eastern stew made of lamb, okra, and tomatoes. It can be found in all Arab countries, as well as Anatolia and Greece.
This is a great recipe for the month of Ramadan. It is also a popular Egyptian dish. Bake in a clay baking dish if. In absence of that, any deep baking dish is fine.

What is Bamia?

Bamia is a Middle Eastern, Afghan, Anatolian, and Turkish stew made primarily of lamb, okra, and tomatoes. Tomato sauce, onion, garlic, cilantro (coriander), vegetable oil, cardamom, salt, and pepper are also used.

The word “bamia” is etymologically an Arabic word that simply means “okra.” During fasting seasons such as Easter in Greece and Cyprus, vegetarian bamia is very popular.

Okra, lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper are used in its preparation. At ceremonial feasts, Turkish bamia is sometimes served as a palate cleanser between food courses.

Okra is a vegetable that was once grown by the ancient Egyptians. The Moors brought it into Europe as early as the 12th century. It is introduced to the New World in the 17th century and is initially consumed by slaves. It’s now popular in Africa and the southern United States.

Variations of Bamia

  • In Egypt, sinew (tendons) of lamb are commonly used because it can withstand long cooking times.
  • Ta’aleya, an Egyptian garlic sauce, is added to bamia to give it flavor.
  • Bmieh is a popular dish in the southern provinces of Iran and Afghanistan, where it is served as a khoresh alongside rice.
  • This dish is sometimes eaten between two other preparations in Turkey to “cleanse” the palate. Vinegar and sugar allow you to appreciate the subtleties of other dishes more fully.

How To Make Bamia

This okra-based dish pairs well with the following ingredients: onions, lamb, beef, rice, peppers, tomatoes, dried apricots, eggplant, coriander, curry powder, oregano, lemon, salt, garlic, and vinegar.

Bamia can be made with fresh, frozen, or canned okra. The addition of sugar and vinegar to the recipe produces a particularly tasty sweet and sour result.

Prepare time: 20 min
Cook: 30 min
Ready in: 50 min


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water, or as needed to cover
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen okra, thawed


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir onion until translucent, about 7 minutes.
  2. Mix in lamb, salt, and black pepper; cook and stir until lamb is lightly browned, 5 to 10 more minutes.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce and water; season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Bring lamb mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  5. Simmer lamb in sauce until very tender, at least 1 hour, adding more water as needed. Stir occasionally.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  7. Stir okra into lamb mixture, adding more water if necessary, and bring to a boil.
  8. Spoon the bamia into a 2-quart baking dish and adjust salt and black pepper; cover dish with foil.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until okra is tender, about 45 minutes; uncover for last 10 minutes of baking.
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