Bamia (Meat and Okra Stew)

Envision / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
343 Calories
15g Fat
14g Carbs
41g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 343
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 375mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 41g
Vitamin C 37mg 185%
Calcium 172mg 13%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 895mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bamia is such a hearty stew despite the number of ingredients. I love serving this on a cold day with a bed of rice and a salad. You can make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the beef without the flavor being compromised.

I love making bamia, but the time to prepare the fresh okra ​can be really consuming. Plus, it is not also readily available at the market. Using frozen okra in bamia really cuts back on the time but does not compromise the flavor.

What Is Okra?

Okra—also known as okro—has been called "ladies' fingers." It grows from a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods.

Native to North-East Africa, Okra has been dubbed one of the most nutritious vegetables in Africa. The plant is often cultivated across tropical and warm regions around the world. Bamia grows best in dry, rich soil.

Health Benefits of Okra

  • It is low in calories. They contain only 30 calories per 100 grams.
  • Okra is rich in dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
  • It's often recommended by nutritionists to help control cholesterol.
  • The pods offer a healthy dose of vitamin A and flavonoid antioxidants.
  • Fresh pods are a good source of folates.
  • They are rich in B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, vitamin B-6 , thiamin, and pantothenic acid.
  •  Okra contains large amounts of vitamin K, which is good for blood clotting enzymes and bone strengthening.


  • 1 pound stew meat, lamb or beef

  • 1 pound frozen okra

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes, crushed

  • 4 ounces canned tomato puree

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice

  • 8 cups water

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large saucepan, brown meat with olive oil. Add onions and garlic.

  3. Add crushed tomatoes, stirring well with meat, garlic, and onion. Add cumin, coriander, salt and pepper, and allspice. Add water and tomato puree. Stir and combine well.

  4. Add okra and bring to a boil.

  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, or until meat is tender and done.

  6. The sauce should thicken as it cooks. If it does not, add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.

  7. Serve bamia with white rice and a salad. Enjoy!