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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!

persian okra stew with meat

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!)

close up top view of plate of rice with persian khoresht bamieh

Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh) Ingredients and Substitutions

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.

Ingredients Explained

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

  • Olive oil – We use a little olive oil to brown the meat. You can use ghee (clarified butter) instead if you like.
  • Stew meat – You can use beef or lamb, trimmed of excess fat (and silver skin removed if using lamb), and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • Onion and garlic – These simple vegetables add a ton of savory flavor and aroma.
  • Canned diced tomatoes – In Middle Eastern cuisine, tomato is a common pairing with okra, as the acidity in tomato helps prevent okra from turning slimy.
  • Tomato paste – Tomato paste helps thicken the stew a bit.
  • Bay leaf – Helps create depth of flavor in this stew.
  • Turmeric, salt, black pepper, and cinnamon – This might sound like an odd combination of spices, but trust me on this. This stew is perfectly seasoned, and a hint of cinnamon adds complexity and a touch of warmth that’s hard to put your finger on.
  • Beef broth, beef stock, or beef bone broth – We cook the meat down in this liquid, and then it forms the base of the stew.
  • Okra – You can use fresh or frozen okra, depending on whether or not it’s in season.
  • Prepared rice – This is an optional; during my time in the Middle East, I noticed that this dish was always served with a delicious fluffy rice pilaf with toasted vermicelli noodles (called roz bil shariya).
top view of bowl of khoresh bamieh

How to Make Persian Okra Stew

  1. Sear the meat (lamb or beef) in a little oil and then add aromatics like onion and garlic.
  2. Subsequently, stir in tomatoes, spices, and liquid, and braise the meat until tender.
  3. Finally, stir in the okra during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Storage and Reheating

You can store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. This dish reheats well on the stovetop or in the microwave.

front view of bowl of persian okra stew with dish of rice in front

Okra FAQs

Can I Use Frozen Okra or Does it Have to be Fresh Okra?

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 to make this recipe.

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, trim the stem ends on an angle so you don’t cut open the pods, and then simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Pro Tip: If you’re using fresh okra, clean it by rubbing off the “fuzz” with a damp cloth.

overhead view of bowl of middle eastern bamieh recipe with side of roz bil shariyeh

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:

  • 33kcals
  • 1.93g protein
  • 0.19g 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.

Pro Tip: Look for smaller, younger okra for the best flavor and most tender (less fibrous) texture.

persian meat and okra stew served on rice

How do I Reduce the Sliminess of Okra?

Here are my best tips to help make sure your okra isn’t slimy:

  • Try not to pierce the pods or cut the okra into pieces, and additionally, stir gently so your pods remain intact.
  • Don’t overcook the okra. 
  • The tomatoes in this dish (like anything acidic) help to prevent the okra from becoming slimy.

More Okra Recipes to Try

persian okra tomato stew

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Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh)

5 from 5 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
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!

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Ingredients
 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds stew meat beef or lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 3 ounces 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 broth or beef stock or beef bone broth
  • 1 pound okra fresh or frozen, depending on if okra is in season (see Notes)
  • Prepared rice optional, for serving

Instructions
 

  • 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 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 fresh or frozen okra and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Notes

  • Net Carbs: 10g per serving (without rice)
  • Nutrition Information: The nutritional information given is for 1 serving without rice.
  • Serving Suggestion: This is delicious eaten by itself as a stew, or spooned on top of rice and eaten that way.
  • Fresh or Frozen Okra: 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 to make this recipe. 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, trim the stem ends on an angle so you don’t cut open the pods, and then simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 607mg | Potassium: 903mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 685IU | Vitamin C: 27.1mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 4.2mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Iranian, Persian
Keyword: Khoresh Bamieh, Khoresht Bamieh, Persian Okra, Persian Okra Stew

Share it with me on Instagram and leave a comment to let me know your thoughts!

persian okra stew recipe pin

This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic in January 2010, and was updated on February 20, 2019.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




24 Comments

  1. I’m in the process of making this and so far so good! although i felt liked it needed some sort of kick so i added 1 jalapeno and a small can of green chille and its amazing!! thank you!! we’ve been trying to do something different for dinner with what we currently had on our shelves.

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks so much for this recipe, I made it for friends yesterday and we all thought it was delicious. Will definitely be making it again.

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this receipe a few days ago…Amazing, love it, I’m actually doing it again today. Served with rice. Just delicious thanks for sharing❤💞

  4. 5 stars
    Fantastic. I substituted beef broth for chicken broth (no beef broth on hand), and added a bit more cinnamon and turmeric, and it was very good. Thank you for the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    So good, I make this at least once a month now.

  6. 5 stars
    Prepared this recipe today for my husband whose native country is Iraq. He LOVED it, said it was better than I’ve ever made it before– and far better than his mother ever prepared it. I’ve never put Tumeric in it so perhaps that’s the secret ingredient (?). Will always be adding Tumeric to this dish from now on. Delsih! Thx!

  7. Nikki Moranville says:

    I am soooo doing this! I love Persian fare and cook it quite often as my first husband was Persian. This is right up my alley and I can’t for the life of me figure out why I haven’t done this before! Thank you!

  8. marla {Family Fresh Cooking} says:

    This Okra stew looks great. I have never used Okra, thanks for all the pointers. The cinnamon in this recipe sounds so very tasty! Can you bring some over for dinner tonight! I am loving watching your blog evolve, all the changes you have made are trés elegante :)

  9. My mother has probably never had okra before in her life, which is why it took me until college to try it. The first time I had it was at a Turkish restaurant in a stew. And I loved it! This sounds like a great way to prepare it as well. I actually really like the slime factor. Crazy, I know :p

  10. There used to be fresh okra aplenty in Singapore, but back then I never learned to appreciate it. Now, it’s so tough to find fresh ones! I like them roasted, but I would love to try them in your stew!

  11. figtreeapps says:

    I have never made okra..perhaps it time!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Blond Duck says:

    Stew is so perfect for these cold winter days…

  13. For some reason, I’ve eaten okra since I was a child. I know some people don’t like the slimy texture, but I love it. And fried, dipped in cornmeal, they’re divine.
    This is really an interesting meat stew. Using cinnamon is unusual and I bet is really good.

  14. deana@lostpastremembered says:

    Love your new look… just changed my tag for you! I don’t like okra… but the recipe looks so good!

  15. Dawn (HealthySDLiving) says:

    I absolutely LOVE the new site!

  16. Your site looks really nice! I have to try okra soon!

  17. Hey Faith,

    I have blogged about you carrot cake muffins (I liked the recipe to your blog :) ). These were very delicious!

    On another bote, I have never eaten okra. I definitively need to try this veggie this year :).

    1. Thank you all for your sweet comments!

      Karine — I’m so glad you made my carrot cake breakfast muffins, and thank you so much for blogging about them! :)

  18. heyyy faithhh!! m loving ye new sitee!! look sooo beautifulll!! :) and yeah okra is one of my favorite!! i use to buy every now and then when ever i go to an Asian market :) thanx for sharing this delicious recipe!!!

  19. ooh that is something that I need to try sometime soon. I’ve heard so much great things about okra but still haven’t tried it before, well other than fried ones… :) This looks great!

  20. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Oooh thankyou for sharing this recipe Faith! I’ve only had Persian food a few times but loved it but had no idea how to make it. I’m so excited as I love the way they make rice too and this sounds like the perfect partner :D

  21. Nicole, MS, RD, LD says:

    It sounds like your initial experience with okra was similar to mine. Though, I tried it fried and supposedly everyone likes it fried! It’s such a wonderful, popular, and cheap southern veggie (abundant here in Tulsa!), so I’m definitely saving this recipe to try with okra and hoping to form a love from a distaste for okra! : )

  22. This dish looks so wonderful! I love okra, but never cooked with them…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  23. Faith, I love your new site! Perfect, perfect name! Oh, and this stew could make an okra lover out of me yet! The spices sound perfect.

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