Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh) is a classic Iranian dish of meat stewed with tomatoes, okra, and spices. It’s delicious enough to convert even the most adamant okra haters!
Growing up in Upstate New York I never tasted okra until I was a teenager (which could be partly because of geography and partly because of my mother’s huge dislike for it), until one summer when I visited my aunt in North Carolina. We went out for dinner and she ordered fried okra. I don’t remember my feelings on it exactly; I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t something I would necessarily order myself. However, my love for okra and all its possibilities didn’t start until I tasted an okra, garlic, and tomato dish that my Syrian ex-mother-in-law, Sahar, made.
Khoresh Bamieh is a traditional Persian stew that is found all over the Middle East. It consists of meat (usually lamb, but I prefer beef) stewed with tomato, spices, and okra. This recipe is my version of that classic, which I adapted slightly from the version of that dish that Sahar taught me. (Another favorite that Sahar taught me: Middle Eastern Spiced Green Beans with Olive Oil and Tomato!)
Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh)
In Farsi, the word “khoresh” means stew and “bamieh” means okra, hence the title of this dish, Persian Okra Stew. It’s also sometimes transliterated Khoresht Bamieh.
How to Make Persian Okra Stew
To make Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh), first sear the meat (lamb or beef) in a little oil and then add aromatics like onion and garlic. Subsequently, stir in tomatoes, spices, and liquid and braise the meat until tender. Finally, during the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in the okra.
Can I Use Frozen Okra or Does it Have to be Fresh Okra to Make Persian Okra Stew?
You can use fresh or frozen okra in this dish, depending on whether it’s in season or not. Since okra is out of season right now, I used frozen okra. If you’re using frozen okra don’t thaw it before adding, just add it frozen and simmer for about 10 minutes. If you’re using fresh okra, look for small okra pods since they’re more tender. Make sure to clean the okra (you can rub off the “fuzz” with a damp cloth) and trim the stem ends on an angle so you don’t cut open the pods, then simmer for about 10 minutes.
Is Okra Healthy?
Okra is low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber. It also contains vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin K, and potassium. Read more about the potential health benefits of okra on Medical News Today and Healthline.
Okra Nutrition Information
According to the USDA Food Database, 1 cup (100g) of raw okra has the following nutrition information:
- 1.93g protein
- .19g fat
- 7.45g carbohydrates
- 3.2g fiber
What Does Okra Taste Like?
If it’s young and tender and cooked properly, okra is quite delicious! It’s mild-flavored with a subtle sweetness that’s slightly similar to eggplant, and a silky mouthfeel. Look for smaller, younger okra for the best flavor and most tender (less fibrous) texture.
How do I Reduce the Sliminess of Okra?
Try not to pierce the pods or cut the okra into pieces, and additionally, stir gently so your pods remain intact. Also, don’t overcook the okra. Lastly, the tomatoes in this dish (like anything acidic) help to prevent the okra from becoming slimy.
More Okra Recipes:
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Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs stew meat beef or lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 large onions chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic minced
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juices
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups beef bone broth
- 1 lb okra fresh or frozen, depending on if okra is in season
- Prepared rice optional, for serving
- In a 5-quart pot with a lid, heat the oil on high; add the meat and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the diced tomato, tomato paste, bay leaf, turmeric, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, and bone broth.
- Cover the pot, bring it up to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer. Let it cook until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add the okra and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic in January 2010 and has been updated with new photos.
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