Mediterranean Bamya (Okra and Tomato)

These past few weeks at the market I have been seeing multiple farmers bringing an abundance of okra. Before I made this dish, I had never cooked with okra, let alone even ate a dish with okra in it. I was very intimidated by this ingredient, but I am always up for trying something new in the kitchen; therefore, I finally bought a bag at the market on Saturday. After doing some research on different flavor combinations and techniques of cooking, I decided to make an okra and tomato stew (bamya), Mediterranean style. I served the bamya over a bed of jasmine rice and a side of pita to make a full meal and I was pleasantly surprised on how much I liked it. The dish includes spices such as coriander, allspice, and paprika as well as fresh ingredients like onion, garlic, and jalapeños and has the perfect Mediterranean flare for a nice summer dinner. 

fresh ingredients from local farmers

Blue Sky Farms: okra and sweet onion

Crooked Sky Farms: tomatoes

Al Hamka Farms: garlic

Duncan Family Farms: el jefe jalapeños


  • 1/2 pound fresh or frozen okra, sliced into rounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used jalapeño infused from Hatun)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeños
  • salt and pepper
  • teaspoon of allspice, coriander, and paprika
  • 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
    • can be store bought or homemade, I explain how I made mine in the recipe
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tomato, sliced into rounds
  • juice of 1/2 lime (add more in preferred after tasting)
  • (optional) parsley for garnishing

the process

  1. heat the olive oil in a medium/large skillet over medium heat
  2. add the garlic, onions, and jalapeños
  3. cook for 4-5 minutes and stir regularly
  4. add the okra and saute for 6-7 minutes over medium/high heat
  5. season with salt, pepper, allspice, coriander, and paprika
  6. add the crushed tomatoes and water and stir to combine
    1. to make homemade crushed tomatoes:
      1. boil water in a medium saucepan and score tomatoes with an x on the bottom
      2. add the tomatoes to the boiling water for one minute
      3. remove from the boiling water and transfer to a bowl of cold water for a few minutes
      4. peel the skin off the tomatoes and add to a food processor or blender
      5. blend until the tomatoes are finely crushed
  7. add the slices of tomatoes on top of the mixture
  8. bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat and cover most of the way
  9. let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and the okra has softened
  10. uncover and add the lime juice, taste and add more if needed
  11. serve over rice or with warm pita bread!

enjoy 🙂


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