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Back when I was a student, I cooked three times a week, sometimes even more.  Later, when I started working, I cooked in weekends.  Then I got married.  It was hard to compete so I gave up… Now – a lifetime later – I cook to relax.  I do it now and then and I usually specialise in two things: Fish and Pasta.  This morning however, I couldn’t resist the meat I saw, and decided on a more basic dish.  I asked my wife to leave the cooking to me.  Time to sound the alarms and hide away the children.  I will probably have to pay our maid overtime for the extra washing-up. I was about to cook – life was good (for me).

Lady fingers, or Okra, in a lamb-and-tomato stew, served with rice.  Marag Bamia is the perfect dish for a cloudy afternoon.  The traditional desert to follow is a thirty-minute nap.  I have read it mentioned in many books.

Ingredients are nothing fancy: lamb, onions, garlic, tomatos (fresh and paste), okra and rice.  The only seasoning is a little salt.  Use fresh ingredients – the best you can find of everything.  Provided you remove the fat from the lamb pieces, it makes a reasonably healthy meal. Less than one tablespoon of olive oil was enough for the whole deal.  It serves six people, or three men.

Choose the small firm okras, remove the tip of the head and soak for a short time.  Now we’re ready to see flames and feel heat.

No sticking to the pan is ever allowed! Have a glass of water handy to keep adding as you stir…  I love this part!

When the meat is perfectly browned, add water and tomatoes to the mix.  I do it gradually and wait for the boil before I add more.  This keeps the stew from thining out.

Timing is everything.  This is the moment the rice should start its playtime.  It means both are served perfectly steaming – and together.

After the rice is cooked and drained, it goes back in the pan and on top of a tawa to settle nicely on a slow heat.

Time for the star of the show.  The okra is added and both pans are now on a low heat with the lids on.  You could leave the kitchen for a short break at this point, but I always choose to stay and watch the steam.

I used the excuse of photography to have a small serving – before everyone else.  I think I’ll use this excuse again.


    • Polar Panda
    • Posted 15 April 2010 at 12:51 am
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    Nice food and pictures!! It is almost our dinner time now. :3
    Have you ever used a rice cooker? Can I find short grain rice (It is a little sticky) and wild rice and multi-grain in Kuwait? Never tried Okra before, wondering how it adds the flavor. Love the lamb the most as meat! Like goats’ meat too. I am just wondering why you use olive oil, which is normally not used for pan fry…scientifically the heat will break down its nutrition…oh well, it might taste better.
    Ha-ha, I like the idea of having a nap as the desert!

    • Rice cookers are for Students 🙂

      Apart from Alcohol and Bacon, there isn’t anything I can think of that isn’t available in Kuwait.

        • Polar Panda
        • Posted 17 April 2010 at 10:11 am
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        Yeah right! re: rice cooker.

    • Ken
    • Posted 15 April 2010 at 7:33 am
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    Looks delicious! Love your sense of humor – just the right “spice” for the article!

  1. Delicious! and nice pictures as well :O)

  2. yummy food 🙂 bil3afiya…

  3. Great images, this dish looks delicious. Also, I enjoyed reading the story behind preparing this meal.

    • Q80BOY
    • Posted 16 April 2010 at 11:22 am
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    wooot we have a chef in the house! 😛 hahaha .. it just dazzles me how you get these great shots WHILE cooking! 😉

    • My now greasy camera didn’t enjoy the afternoon… but I did 🙂

  4. Hanniii o 3afyah!!! I wanted to eat off my screen! Mashalla! Very well done!

    I like the way how it looks!

    • yhanneek o y3afeek. 7ayyak. Eat it ‘on location’ 🙂

  5. Never tried Bamia although it’s regularly cooked at home.
    I’m gonna go for it now, those picture were so enticing 🙂

    • Mathai
    • Posted 24 April 2010 at 12:26 am
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    You can cook too? 😛 I’ve never tried Okra with meat, thanks for the recipe! 🙂

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