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Recipe: Okra with Lamb, from 'The Iraqi Family Cookbook'

Here's a homestyle Iraqi recipe for bamya bil laham, or okra with lamb, from "The Iraqi Family Cookbook," by Kay Karim, featured in today's Buffalo News.

Okra with Lamb (Bamya bil Laham)

4 to 6 servings

This is a very traditional recipe enjoyed by all Iraqis. We plant okra in the garden during the summer, and then we harvest it when it is about one inch long. We keep a few bags in the freezer to cook during winter. In the early days before we had a freezer, we dried okra to cook for winter. You can find okra in the frozen vegetables section of the grocery store when it is not in season in the U.S.

We serve this dish with white rice or pour it in a soup bowl with toasted bread in the bottom, when we call it tashreeb bamya.I usually add lemon juice to this recipe, but my mother and sisters use sumac juice to flavor it. I have tried tamarind or pomegranate syrup too, but they tend to give the okra stew a darker color.


2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 pound lamb chops

1 pound frozen whole okra

1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce

6 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup lemon juice


In a pot, heat the oil and sauté the lamb until lightly browned on both sides. Add 4 cups of water to the pot and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes, until the lamb is tender.

Add okra, tomato sauce, garlic, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the okra is cooked. Pour the lemon juice over the okra and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt. This stew tastes better the following day. Serve it with rice and tannour bread.

(From "The Iraqi Family Cookbook" by Kay Karim, Hippocrene Books.)



Food and Drink
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