Preparation / Directions:
Note Okra must be cooked so that its slimy texture is eliminated. The Greeks have the best technique for achieving this. Trim the conical tops with a sharp knife, then soak the okra in red wine-vinegar (Khall) for 30 minutes, allowing 1/2 cup vinegar per pound. Drain, rinse and dry the okra and proceed with the recipe. This dish is popular throughout the Middle East and can be prepared with lamb or beef. Serve with rice.
Preheat an oven to 325 F (165 C) In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the butter or oil per serving.
Working in batches, add the meat and fry, turning, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer to a baking dish or stew pot.
Add the onions to the fat remaining in the frying pan and saute over medium heat until tender and translucent, 8-10 mins.
Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, tomatoes, tomato paste, the 1 cup stock and mint (if using). Stir well. Pour over the meat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and bake until all the liquid is absorbed, about 1 1/2 Hrs. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Meanwhile, prepare the okra as directed in the note above. In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1/2 tablespoon (per serving) of butter or oil Add the okra and saute for 3 mins, stirring gently.
Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the okra on top in a spoke pattern. Sprinkle the lemon juice evenly over the surface. Re-cover the dish and return it to the oven.
Bake for 35 minutes longer. Add stock or water if the mixture seems too dry.
Serve the "BAMIA" stew piping hot.