Egyptian okra stew is a delicious dish with rich, aromatic flavors, succulent lamb, and tender okra.
Okra stew is common throughout the region, but this Egyptian version remains our favorite. Apart from this recipe, there are three other versions of this dish throughout the Mediterranean.
- Egyptian okra stew is a signature dish in Egypt.
- The stew consists of ingredients such as tomatoes, frozen baby okra, lamb, chilies or bell peppers, lots of garlic, fresh cilantro, and spices.
- It is an exquisite meal best served on rice with a garlic and herb topping.
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
For The Lamb
- 1 - pound lamb
- 2 pieces of mastic
- ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp 7-spice blend
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 celery stick (cut into medium-sized chunks)
- 1 small carrot (cut into medium-sized chunks)
For The Okra Stew
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp freshly ground coriander
- 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped)
- 1 tin (14oz) tomato sauce (passata)
- 1 14oz bag of frozen baby okra
- 2 cups (500ml) lamb or beef broth
- 2 jalapeno peppers (or bell peppers if you don’t like spicy food)
For The Garlic Relish
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly ground coriander
- 1 tbsp red chili pepper (diced)
- ½ cup (125ml) fresh cilantro (chopped)
- 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
To Cook The Lamb
- In a deep, large pot, bring four liters of water to a boil over high heat.
- Add the pieces of lamb to the water and allow it to come to a boil again. Allow the lamb to boil rapidly for about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Spoon all the meat out using a slotted spoon. Throw out the water.
- Add a bit of water into the same pan together with the onion and mastic and bring to a boil.
- Add the lamb to the onion and mastic mixture and the remainder of the ingredients (spices, vegetables, and herbs).
- Bring the lot to a boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for a further 20 minutes or until it is done.
To Cook The Okra
- Heat the olive oil in a deep, large pot over medium heat.
- Add the coriander, garlic, and onion, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the chopped cilantro and stir gently for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the jalapeno or bell peppers and stir for another minute or so.
- Mix in the tomato paste and the okra, followed by the broth and the tomato sauce.
- Add the pepper and salt and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover the pot with a lid, and allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Finally, add the cooked lamb to the okra mixture and allow it to simmer for another 10 minutes or until the okra is tender.
For The Garlic Topping
- In a non-stick saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the coriander, garlic, pepper, cilantro, and sauté until fragrant (2 to 3 minutes).
- Stir only half of the mixture into the okra stew and allow the dish to simmer for a further 3 to 4 minutes. You will serve the remaining half of the garlic topping on top of the stew. Enjoy!
What To Serve It With?
Okra stew is a meal on its own, and you don't need too many sides to enjoy it.
Below are our top recommended side dishes to serve with this delicious Egyptian okra stew:
- Rice (brown, white, basmati, jasmine)
- Pita bread
- Lemon wedges on the side
- Rice vermicelli
- Whole wheat pita bread
- Dinner rolls and other types of bread
Helpful Recipe Tips
If you are using fresh okra instead of frozen, make sure you clean and cut them properly.
- You don't have lamb; you can substitute the lamb in this recipe for beef.
- It is important when you are preparing the lamb to boil it for 4 minutes, throw out the water, and only when you boil them the second time should you add the vegetables and spices.
- Egyptian okra stew tastes even better when left in the refrigerator overnight. It gives the meat a chance to absorb all the wonderful flavors.
- If you have children and don't want to add chilies to your stew, you can serve it on the side for those who enjoy their spicy food.
- Okra tends to become slimy when you cook it. To reduce the sliminess, try the following methods:
- Soak it in vinegar for thirty minutes, then rinse and pat it dry before you cook it.
- Before you start making the stew, cut the okra and dust it with citric acid, fruit fresh (ascorbic acid), or amchur (dried mango powder).
Is There More Than One Type Of Okra?
There are thirteen different types of okra, namely:
- Clemson Spineless
- Hill Country Red
- Red Velvet
- Baby Bubba Hybrid
- Silver Queen
- Go Big
- Cajun Delight
- Cow Horn
- Perkins Long Pod
- Louisiana Green Velvet
Clemson Spineless okra is the most popular variant used in stews; however, the taste of the okra really depends on how you prepare it.
These okra fruits are easy to harvest because of their almost non-existent spine. They also have wide adaptability, are attractive green, have good flavor, and have a great shelf life.