The Art Of Cooking – Bamia With Rice

Bamia (Okra Stew) is an important dish in Iraqi cuisine, it is a simple dish and yet a delicious dish that can be made with or without meat.
Bamia (Okra) itself is not the most popular vegetable out there, but once you can look past its slimy structure it is actually really tasty.
Bamia has a rich sweet and earthy flavor which is well contrasted with the acidity of tomato.
Bamia as well as other stew are great to eat with rice – in this recipe, I will teach you how to make your rice a little bit more exciting!

Okra 500 gram (you can find Okra at your local Mediterranean shop, It should be fine for both fresh or frozen)
Lamb meat 500 gram (it could be made with either meat or chicken)
Can of peeled tomatoes
Tomato paste
2 onions
White rice (I myself prefer Basmati rice, but any white rice will do)
Can of chickpeas
Salt & Pepper
Dried bay Leaf
Cooking oil

Bamia (Okra Stew):
Start with heating up a layer of oil in a big pot.
Season the meat with salt and pepper and add it to the hot oil.
Make sure all sides of the meat get cooked do not worry about the pot getting too sticky.
Next add some cumin, diced garlic, and diced onion.
When the onion turns translucent, add some tomato paste together with the can of peeled tomatoes.
Use the liquid to clean the bottom of the pan and mix the flavor into the sauce.
Rinse the okra and add it to the pan, add enough water to cover all ingredients, and let it simmer for an hour or more (the more the better).
Make sure it does not get too dry while simmering on the stove.
When the meat is soft enough (prick the meat with a fork to check if it is ready).
Taste for salt before serving.

Let’s try to make exciting rice, for the extra pleasure of eating the Bamia.
First of all, measure the rice into a cup and level the top, and then rinse it in cold water – make sure to remove all the dirt – prepare a measured amount of water equal to 1 and a half cup that you used for the rice.
In a deep frying pan add a layer of cooking oil, when the oil is hot add a dried bay leaf and chopped onions, and some cumin.
When the onion turns translucent, add some tomato paste and be sure to stir frequently.
As the mixture starts to dry up add the water you have already measured and mixed all together.
After mixing the water with the paste add the rice and chickpeas (make sure to rinse the chickpeas in cold water) and add a pinch of salt.
Now put the lid on the frying pan, and make sure the water simmers – once the water starts boiling turn the heat down.
When the water is no longer visible in the pot, the rice is ready.

It is nice to serve the Bamia and the rice, with some fresh cucumber, tomato, and with some chopped parsley leaves on top.
Please try to make Bamia, even if you never had Okra before – it is after all a unique vegetable.
So finally, I hope you like it as much as I do.