Okra Stew

by Marjan
This past year, I have introduced you to many popular traditional Persian stew recipes. Today, I'm introducing you to one which is not as well known, yet it is one of my mother's favorite: Okra Stew, Khoreshte Bamieh. Very similar to Khoreshte Bademjoon, which is a stew of fried eggplants; both share the same tomato base accented with tart sour grapes creating a decadent balance of sour and earthy stew and served with classic Persian basmati prepared rice.

Okra has a very distinct texture of mucilage soluble fiber making it easily digestible and nutritious with vitamin C and K, thiamin, folate and magnesium. In season from late June until October, take advantage of this nutritious vegetable. Serve along saffron laced Persian rice.
Comforting flavors and texture of okra in a sea of tomato, saffron, turmeric, garlic and sour grapes braised with either beef or lamb stew is both healthy and delicious. Omitting use of meat delivers an equally hearty stew which is a wonderful vegetarian option. Rich, delicious, and healthy, I pledge to make this stew more popular this year! Any followers?

Serves 4-6

1 lb. beef or lamb shank with bone (cut and cube beef off the bone; save bone)
1 lb. fresh whole okra; rinsed and air dry
1 1/2 large onion (or 2 medium size onions); chopped into fine pieces
1 cup unrip green sour grapes (sold in Persian grocery stores either fresh in the produce section when in season or in glass jars)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups hot water
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron
5 cloves of garlic; roughly chopped
Vegetable Oil

In a large frying pan over medium heat, bring to frying temperature 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. Once hot, very carefully add okra and sauté for 7-9 minutes until slightly cooked. Remove from oil and place in a metal strainer with a plate under it to drain out excess oil.
In a large, stainless steel deep pan sauté onions in 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil until golden brown; stir frequently preventing edges from burning, deliver uniform caramelized onion. Add garlic, turmeric, salt, pepper and tomato paste; stir together all ingredients and cook for 5 minutes. Add cubes of beef or lamb with bone; sauté for additional 5 minutes until somewhat cooked and brown. Pour in 3 cups of hot water; cover with lid and gently simmer over low heat for an hour and half.

If serving Persian rice, prepare now following this recipe.

After simmering beef or lamb stew, add fried okra and sour grapes. Continue to simmer for additional 20-30 minutes. Prior to serving add saffron; taste for additional salt and add if needed.  Remove bone from stew and discard. Using a large spatula, spoon entire stew in a serving casserole dish or large serving bowl. Serve with rice.


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From our partner: LO+JUNE
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