Bamija (also known as bamia, bamya, baminja, even bavija) is a meat and okra soup/ sauce recipe. Counting as one of the area’s best okra recipes, bamija calls for okra to be cooked in water and lemon juice, then combined with meat tenderized soft by a long and deep simmer. By the way, okra is a delicacy Cleopatra swore by.
Okra… what’s in a name?
It’s flavorful. It’s filling and a standalone dish. It’s also perfect over rice or mashed potatoes.
I like it best by itself. I dip large slices of bread into it.
What does okra look like?
You may wonder why it’s sold on a string.
Fresh okra is picked when ripe. Most of it is then frozen. You can find it in bags in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
I’m impartial to the dry okra. It’s the seemingly magical process of seed-like dry dots of nearly nothing becoming big and plump and incredibly flavorful that gives it a special kind of charm.
What does okra taste like?
How is okra prepared?
I know it may be confusing to you as I keep referring to this as an okra soup and an okra sauce recipe. It’s exactly the water factor that divides one from the other. Otherwise, the process is same.
Tips on how to cook okra without slime
What are the okra health benefits?
Some of the interesting okra health benefits include:
- stabilization of sugar levels in blood;
- reduction of depression in people suffering from chronic exhaustion;
- neutralization of stomach acid;
- finally, in very large quantities okra serves as a laxative.
Take a look at a more comprehensive list of okra health benefits here. For okra nutrition values, check out the recipe.
- 1 lemon (juice only) or 3–4 tablespoons of vinegar
- 1 strand of okra (or 1/2 pound fresh okra)
- 1 onion (large, minced)
- 2 carrots (medium, diced)
- 2–3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/4 bunch parsley (minced)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound (or a little more) veal or sirloin (preferably with fat, diced)
- 1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt (or Vegeta)
- 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- (Optional) 1 lemon
- (If using dried okra.) Take okra off the thread and place in a medium pan filled with water and lemon juice (or vinegar). Bring to boil on medium. Boil for 30 minutes adding a little water if necessary to keep the level even and prevent burning. Drain and wash, then set aside.
- (If using fresh okra.) Soak okra in lemon juice (or vinegar) for 30 minutes. Wash, drain and dice, then set aside.
- (Parallel to cooking okra in lemon.)In a deep skillet or pot, heat oil and butter on high. Add onion, carrots, garlic and parsley. Simmer on medium high until onion caramelizes.
- Add veal and simmer for 60 to 75 minutes, or until veal is soft and done. As you are simmering, keep adding a little bit of water at a time until a sauce forms, and stir. The sauce should be at about 1/2 to 1 inch above veal in the pot/ skillet. (If you’d like a thinner sauce add more water, but balance the sauce flavor by adding more seasonings. For today’s recipe we’ve added 6-7 cups of water throughout the entire process.)
- Add okra into the sauce. Add salt and pepper and stir well. Continue simmering with occasional stirring for an additional 15 minutes. Stir in paprika 5 minutes before the sauce is finished.
- (Optional) Serve with lemon.
Serve alone or with a side of mashed potatoes, rice, couscous, or pasta.
- Serving Size: 1.5 cups
- Calories: 363
- Sugar: 5.1g
- Sodium: 738mg
- Fat: 18.1g
- Saturated Fat: 7.6g
- Carbohydrates: 18.4g
- Fiber: 6.4g
- Protein: 31.2
- Cholesterol: 133mg