Khoresht e Bamieh is a South Iranian okra stew with a spiced tomato sauce served on rice.
History of Khoresht e Bamieh
‘Bamieh’ or ‘بامیه’ is the Farsi word for Okra. Similarly, it is known as ‘bamia’ or ‘bamya’ across the Middle East.
Nowadays, Okra is grown in warm countries around the globe but okra most likely originated in West Africa. It then spread through Iraq to Iran. Which explains which this okra stew is popular in the southern Khuzestan region of Iran bordering Iraq.
Khuzestan province and other southern regions of Iran tend to use more spices than northern Iran . This is probably an influence from Iran’s South Eastern neighbours Pakistan and India. As a result, Khoresht e Bamieh is a multicultural product of a vast geography from Africa to India.
How to cook Khoresht e Bamieh
As far as Iranian dishes go, this traditional meal is quick and easy. Serve alongside rice. Follow my Tahdig | Persian crispy rice | ته دیگ recipe for the true taste of Iran.
Okra is famous for its gooey texture. I actually like this texture but if you don’t want your okra to be slimy:
- soak the okra in vinegar before cooking
- cook the okra whole – don’t cut it
It is essential to fully cook the okra to avoid tough skins. For this recipe, simply ensure the okra is sautéed on all sides before adding to the main pan. You can also look for small okra which is softer and quicker to cook.
Okra is healthy and full of fibre and vitamins. But this veganised stew has little protein because I replaced meat with mushrooms. So if you want a balanced vegan meal add beans or ‘vegan meat’ to the stew towards the end of cooking. If you to preserve the original taste of the stew, you can add extra protein alongside the rice, such as nuts or seeds.
Khoresht e Bamieh is a simple stew so the few ingredients are all pretty essential. Chilli is optional and depends on your taste. You can use chilli powder or a fresh chilli if you really want some heat!
If you like this Khoresht, you might like:
- Heat oil in the frying pan. Lie the okra flat across the pan. Meanwhile peel and dice the onions. Sautee on low heat.
- Heat oil in the saucepan. Add the onions and fry on low heat. Peel and mince the garlic, and quarter the mushrooms. Once the onions are soft and browning, add the garlic. After two minutes, add the tomato puree. (Stir and check it doesn't burn.)
- If your okra is cooked on one side, turn them over individually. If not, wait for longer.
- As the the tomato turns a deeper red, but before it burns, add the mushrooms, turmeric and paprika.
- Keep an eye on both pans. Once the okra has cooked on the second side, stir to ensure it is fully cooked. Then add to the saucepan along with any salt to taste.
- Boil a kettle and continue to sautee the vegetables for as long as you can. Add the water before it gets dry or burnt. Add enough to cover the mixture. You can top it up if needed. Leave to simmer on low heat.
- Serve with rice or as a side dish.