Middle Eastern Okra & Lamb stew (Bamia)
- Lamb shoulder (as much as you'd like, I only had a few uncooked pieces leftover from the poutine the other day)
- 1 bag frozen okra, thawed
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp Oil & 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt & blackpepper
- Passata tomato (strained tomato, or canned, or tomato paste, or fresh chopped tomatoes)
It's very simple!
1- Heat the oil and brown the pieces of lamb shoulder, season with salt and pepper. Add a couple of cloves of garlic and water to cover. Simmer on medium low until tender (about 1 or 2 hours)
2- In another saucepan add some olive oil and the remaining cloves of garlic (roughly crushed) then add tomato paste or Passata or chopped tomatoes (strain water and set aside) On medium heat just turn using a wooden spoon until all the raw flavour of the tomato is released and it smells nice and caramelized. Season with a tiny bit of salt.
Add the tomato to the lamb soup as well as the okra, bring it up to a near boil and then simmer again for another 30-40 minutes until okra is tender.
- 2 cups golden or Sila basmati (parboiled basmati, easily found in an Afghan store)
In a large pot bring water to a boil, add a drizzle of oil and enough salt to season water (as if making pasta). When it's boiling strain the rice from it's soaking water add to the boiling water, boil until al-dante and drain in a fine colander. Splash with cool water to cool it down (at this point you can just leave it until you're ready to cook it an hour before serving time.
You can either drizzle with oil in a baking dish and bake covered with foil OR do it stove top, today I've done it stove top and experimented with a bit of Tah dig (crispy layer Persian style... it didn't turn out that dark but I'm trying!!! )
If you want to steam the rice and not worry much layer the bottom of your non stick pot with pieces of thinly sliced potato.
Using a non stick pot I add a drizzle of oil (and a tsp of butter) to the bottom and a sprinkling of water (add the potatoes at this point OR not) a tiny sprinkling of salt (just because!) and then I add the rice from the colander (it should be seasoned enough from boiling but if not add a sprinkle of salt to it and even a drizzle of oil to the colander and then using a slotted spoon move it gently into the pot
You do not want to mix up the rice in the colander as to break up the grains so be gently.
Once it's all in the pot create a dome shape and use the back of a spoon to push down a couple of places in the rice to create "steam holes" (I added a knob of butter to the top too as to melt down while cooking)
Adding a few tbsp of water over the rice and covering with a lid wrapped in a kitchen towel I set the pot on medium high for 3-5 mins and then to low for 45 mins - 1 hour.
When it's done you can remove the lid and flip it onto a large serving plate (if it worked out you'll get a nice crispy golden "crown" on top) and all your guests will be impressed!
Enjoy! (while I continue to work on my crispy tah dig technique!)