Lebanese okra stew (Bamyeh) with butter rice served with lemon wedges.
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Okra stew with butter rice

A hearty okra stew is just the right dish for cooler days. When it gets a little darker outside, I like to serve the stew with the green pods. This is real comfort food for me. Many people then always ask "What is okra?" - then just let them taste it. The recipe is simple! I'll show you how to make the Lebanese okra stew called Bamya.

What is okra?

I bet you that okra will soon become very popular in this country as well. The pods of the mallow plant okra have hardly any fat, but a high proportion of fiber - these are very healthy and good for digestion. The vegetable pods taste mild to very slightly acidic and have a tender to slightly woody texture and consistency, depending on their size. I think you can compare the taste somewhat to green beans. You can use the polygonal pod for salads, creams, stews and much more.

Okra is called bamya or bamyeh in Lebanon. And this stew was simply named after this fantastic pod. In Lebanon it is an absolute classic and is really simple to prepare. Sauté everything briefly, put the lid on and let it stew.

Prepare okra

Alright; one or two things to keep in mind when preparing the pods, though. When you cook the okra, it secretes a kind of slime - no need to panic! Now this sounds more unappetizing than it actually is. This property allows the stew to thicken without the addition of starch. Of course, if you don't want this at all, there are workarounds.

Before you cook the pods, you can first blanch them in water with vinegar or lemon juice - and you'll be rid of slime. My mother had another trick for me. "Fry them first, then they won't slime - like snails." - "Okay, so I fry the pods hot."

Besides the okra, you'll need the following ingredients for the stew:

  • lean beef
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Vegetable broth
  • Strained tomatoes
  • good olive oil
  • Spices
  • Pomegranate syrup
  • and with pleasure a little chili

By the way, I use the small variety of okra for this stew, as it is more tender than the large, longer pods. The exact ingredients and the preparation of the dish you will find below.

Traditionally, Bamya - like almost every stew - is served with rice or bulgur as a side dish. But it also tastes fantastic with fresh pita bread or butter bulgur. Just try it out!

Recipe for okra stew with butter rice

Lebanese okra stew (Bamyeh) with butter rice served with lemon wedges.
Print recipe Save recipe
Preparation time 10 minutes
Preparation time 1 hour
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 343


  • 1 Onion
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 6 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 400 g small okra (green, available in Turkish or Arabic supermarkets)
  • 500 g Beef goulash
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
  • 250 ml Vegetable broth
  • 400 ml Strained tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Pomegranate syrup or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 15 g fresh coriander
  • Salt, pepper

To serve


  • Peel and chop the onions and garlic.
  • Heat half of the oil in a large pot and fry the okra in it for about 3 minutes - please stir carefully, otherwise the pods will burst open. Remove the pods from the pot and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pot and sear the meat in it for about 5 minutes on all sides.
  • Add the onions and garlic and sauté.
  • As soon as the onions are slightly translucent, add the tomato purée and stir in a little.
  • Add broth, strained tomatoes, pomegranate syrup or lemon juice and cinnamon and bring to a boil briefly.
  • Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 80 minutes with the lid closed over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the butter rice according to the recipe.
  • Wash and chop the coriander.
  • Add chopped cilantro and okra to the pot and simmer on low heat for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve okra stew with butter rice and lemon wedges.

Nutritional values

Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 466mg | Potassium: 1100mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1326IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 5mg

If you want to get through the cold days well, I also recommend Lebanese flower charcoal stew | Yakhnit Arnabit or "Fasolia" - Lebanese bean stew.

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  1. I like okra quite a lot, but usually don't know what to do with it. Adding them to a classic goulash is a great idea. I'll add it to the list of things to cook. Thank you!

    1. Hey, I'd love to 🙂 .
      I'm very curious to see how you like it. Please report back 🙂

      Kind regards

  2. Hi, I have pickled okra in a jar. Can I use them for this too or do I have to look for fresh ones?

    Best regards, Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah!
      It depends on how the pods were pickled. They usually already have a very intense flavour.
      Personally, I would go for the fresh peppers or the frozen ones.
      Kind regards

  3. Mmmmh, sounds very tasty!!! Just a pity that okra is (still) so rare to find anywhere....
    Kind regards

    1. Hey Eva,
      Unfortunately, that's true. But now I'm actually finding them more and more often. Have you ever looked in an oriental or Turkish market?
      Kind regards

  4. Vermicelli? With rice?? In a cup ???? Vermicelli as in vermicelli, pasta?

    1. Hello Ute,

      I admit that the information can be a little confusing. I have now changed the recipe a little. Vermicelli meant small thin soup noodles. You can now find the recipe for butter rice in the link in the recipe.
      Thank you for your advice 🙂

      Kind regards

  5. Hay Rafik, I have a question: If I can't get fresh okra, can I also use the frozen ones? What do I have to bear in mind then?
    Thank you

    PS: I love your recipes

    1. Hey Elke,
      thank you for the great feedback 🙂 You can also use frozen okra.
      You can also use frozen okra very well. But then you should rather use the small pods. You don't really have to pay attention to anything 🙂

      Kind regards

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