Friday, May 25, 2007

Bamia Stew/Soup (Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan)

Kuwaiti Version:
Yield: 6 servings

2 cups washed lentils
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 cups water
1 tbsp ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
6 oz. ( 1 small can) tomato paste
3 dried lemons or loomi
8 1/2 cups water (less if you want to make more of a stew than a soup)
2 potatoes peeled and quartered (for the stew only)
1 cup mini okra (not the big ones pictured in the photo)

Put the washed lentils with onion and garlic in a pot with the water. Let it boil and wait until it dries up. Puree the lentils in a blender. In a pot fry some garlic in some ghee, then add the cumin. Stir and add the tomato paste, then the pureed lentils. Add to that the second measure of water (or less if you want to make a stew). If making stew, also add peeled, quartered potatoes at this stage) and the dried lemons. Let the mixture boil, then reduce the temperature and let it simmer on lower heat until done.

Jordanian version:


300g (10oz) lamb chops and boneless lamb cubes
500g (1lb 2oz) mini okra (trimmed) (not the big okra in the photo, unless that is your preference)
4 whole peeled garlic cloves
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
100g (4oz) dry *tamarind
2 tablespoons tomato puree
400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon oil, for frying
1.2 litre (2 pints) boiling water


1 Break up the dry tamarind in small pieces, place in a large bowl and add 300ml (½ pint) of boiling water. Set aside to soak.

2 If using fresh okra, trim top and tail, wash and soak in cold water for 5 minutes. Next drain and set aside.

3 Trim and wash meat, then place in a medium saucepan and cover with boiling water (meat must be completely covered). Boil for 5 minutes. Drain meat and discard water.

4 In a medium saucepan, fry garlic cloves on medium heat with meat for 1-2 minutes, until garlic is slightly brown.

5 Now add 900ml (1½ pints) of boiling water, cover pan and boil on medium heat for 30 minutes.

6 Strain the liquid of the tamarind through a sieve, pressing hard to extract as much juice from the pulp as possible. Discard the stones.

7 Pour 300ml (½ pint) of tamarind juice, then add tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper and okra to the pan. Cover and boil for 5 minutes. Next lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stirring gently after 15 minutes, making sure not to break the pods.

This version from


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