Bamya – Okra stew – طبيخ بامية

Whole okra cooked in lamb stock with tomato, garlic and ground spices

Step ONE: Prepare the tabeekh stock or takhdee’a

Takhdee’a – Tabeekh stock – تخديعة
A tabeekh stock is the base of most Sudanese stews known as tabayikh. Tabayikh are cooked stews with pieces of cooked meat and/or vegetables in a rich sauce. Variations in stews are made after first preparing the tabeekh stock, similar to the format for making mullah from mullah stock, or soup from shorba. A tabeekh stock is a more concentrated version of mullah stock, and therefore becomes a denser stew when prepared, allowing it to be easily eaten with bread or rice.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 yellow onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 250g lamb on the bone, rinsed and chopped into medium pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste  
  • 1 L water

Instructions:

Gently sweat chopped onions in a large greased pot on a low-medium until lightly golden and soft in texture. Mix chopped lamb into the golden onions then season with ground coriander, ground cardamom, salt and pepper. Continue to stir for 5 minutes until all lamb pieces are seared on the outside and the onions begin to break apart in juices released from the meat.

Add enough boiling water to just cover the lamb pieces, then bring to the boil. Once the water boils, cover and leave on a low heat for 40 min to 1 hour, until the volume of the stock has reduced to approximately 1 litre of concentrated broth where the lamb pieces are fully cooked and tender. Either use immediately or cool then freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Optional:

  • 2 to 3 crushed garlic cloves added to the tabeekh stock for a muted taste, or at the final stage of making the various stews for a fresher garlic taste
  • A pressurized cooker can be used to make the tabeekh stock and saves time. Taking 15 to 20 minutes to be ready.
  • Additional seasoning: 1 lamb stock cube, 1 teaspoon ground or fresh ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 to 3 bay leaves

Hint:

  • Grated onions will flavor the lamb better and be better incorporated into the final stew. Mash the onions using a wooden spoon or mashing utensil before adding the lamb.
  • Do not add too much water when making the tabeekh stock, as the amount stated is intended to concentrate the flavour. 
  • It is important to obtain good quality lamb suitable for stewing from a reputable source.

Stew TWO: Finish the okra stew using the tabeekh base

Prep time: 1 hour 20 minutes (including time to make tabeekh stock)

Cook time: 45 minutes

Special ingredients: fresh okra, small variety 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500ml tabeekh stock 
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 300 to 400 ml tomato juice
  • 250g small fresh okra, thoroughly rinsed and heads discarded 
  • 150ml water
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed  
  • ½ lime – juiced as garnish

Instructions: 

Add okra, tomato paste, tomato juice and water to a simmering tabeekh stock on a low to medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Okra can take longer than expected to cook, and is fully cooked when it breaks apart easily to touch and the seeds change colour from white to a light pink.

Gently fold in ground coriander then salt and pepper to taste, while trying to keep the mokra intact as much as possible. Keep covered or semi-cover and gently simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes to allow the stew to cook and the oils to rise. 

An oily layer should develop on the surface, known in Sudanese cooking as: al wish or the face. Finish by adding crushed garlic as the oils rise and mix in gently so as to not break apart the okra. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired then garnish with a dash of lime juice and serve.

Optional:

  • Okra may be peeled to remove its fury exterior if desired, makes for smooth okra in the stew  

Hint:

  • Slice the 2 to 3 sides of the fresh okra before adding to the tabeekh stock to help them cook more evenly.
  • If using frozen okra, avoid adding too much water since the frozen okra contains plenty of ice.
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar takes the acidity out of tomato juice
  • Soak the trimmed okra in saltwater for 30 minutes then rinse with water. This draws the water out and makes the okra much less slimy when eaten.

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @sudanesekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #sudanesekitchenrecipes or #sudanesekitchen

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