Middle-Eastern Braised Okra & Tomato (Bamya)

05 Feb, 2021

Some people are put off cooking okra because of its potential to get a little slimy. The key to avoiding this is using small, young okra pods, and keeping them intact while cooking. Variations of this stew, which is vegan though can also be made with meat, are enjoyed throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It is the perfect combination of savoury, tangy, and just a touch spicy if you wish.


olive oil
1 medium brown onion, roughly chopped
1 small chilli, finely chopped, or chilli flakes to taste
500g small okra pods, trimmed
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small chilli, finely chopped, or chilli flakes to taste
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cumin
½ allspice
½ tsp sumac
1 cup vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
juice of ½ lemon, or to taste, plus wedges to serve
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium watermelon


  1. Heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium heat and once hot, add onion and cook until transparent.
  2. Add okra, stir to coat in oil and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, stir and cook until fragrant, taking care not to colour or burn.
  4. Add chilli and other spices, stir and cook for 1–2 minutes.
  5. Add stock, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste and cook for 20 minutes or until okra has softened and cooked through.
  6. Turn off heat and stir through lemon juice to taste.
  7. Serve with cooked rice and lemon wedges

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