April 19, 2010

Khoresh Bamieh Khuzestani - Southern Iranian Okra Stew with Tamarind

This is a tangy, hot and flavorful dish made with tender okra, sour tamarind sauce, lots of garlic and hot pepper slowly simmered lamb stew. I was born in the city of Ahwaz, Iran and I spent a large part of my childhood and youth in the southern province of Khuzestan and Maman's most delicious خورش بامیه khoresh bamieh has been a favorite of mine ever since. I have cherished this recipe so much that I don't make okra with anything else but tamarind sauce. Tamarind to okra is what tomato is to eggplants! Over the years, however, every time I've cooked and served my version of okra stew to my Iranian friends I've had to explain that this is how my mother used to make it at home and it's the only way I know how to make okra. I've learned that most Iranians make the stew with tomato sauce. I'm sure it tastes good and I might even try the tomato sauce version one day, but till then I think this is the best and the most flavorful okra stew out there! Southern Iranian khoresh bamieh, my Maman's recipe, is supposed to be hot, sour and garlicky!

Khoresh Bamieh Khuzestani - Southern Iranian Okra Stew with Tamarind

Serves 4-6

1 pound meat (lamb or beef), cubed

1 pound whole baby okra (fresh or frozen), wash and trim
1 cup tamarind sauce* (recipe at the bottom)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 large onion, thinly sliced
7-9 garlic cloves, minced (use more if desired)
1 teaspoon red pepper (use more if desired)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

*Tamarind Sauce:
  1. Place 7 ounces of tamarind paste with pods in a bowl. 
  2. Cover with 1-2 cups of hot water for an hour to soften. 
  3. Then with a spoon/fork or your fingers try to get the pods separated from the pulp and get the juice out. 
  4. Add more warm water if needed. 
  5. Discard the seeds and strings. 
  6. Pour the tamarind liquid in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it in a cool and dry place.
  1. In a large stew pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil and saute onions on medium heat until golden. Add turmeric and garlic, saute for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add 5 cups of water, bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Lower heat, cover and cook for 45-50 minutes or until meat is tender. Add water if needed.
  4. In a separate skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil, saute okra lightly over medium heat for five minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. In the same skillet heat a tablespoon of oil, add the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat.
  6. Add the tomato sauce and tamarind sauce to the stew pot, simmer for another 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat.
  7. Add the fried okras to the stew pot and cook for an additional 20 minutes to soak up the flavors.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
Serve hot with rice, yogurt, herbs, and bread.



  1. azita joon, love the photo of the tamarind- it's really beautiful. and i love the idea of tamarind with ladyfingers- we always add tomatoes to ours- i love this Persian way of doing it- how beautiful (and delicious!) x shayma

  2. Another must-try recipe... I'm hoping to cook up a Persian dinner tomorrow, maybe I'll add this to the feast :)

  3. The more I eat Persian food, the more I appreciate it. This khoresh sounds amazing and of course I love okra. I cannot wait to try this dish!

  4. I have been loving okra lately, especially since I found it at the farmer's market - love local food! I've never had it paired with tamarind before but I bet it is delicious. That picture you have of it is glorious.

  5. oh this looks delicious i adore okra yum

  6. Excellent recipe with okra, yum!

  7. Hi...this is so yummy and love your beautiful pictures too...

  8. Okra and tamarind are two of my favorite foods in life. But I've never thought to combine them until reading your creative recipe. I must try this. Someone very close to me loves garlicky and spicy foods, so they'll be the person who gets to taste test this one! Thanks for sharing this.

  9. That recipe sounds wonderful Azita; I am eager to try this tamarind
    by the way, I had an Iranian (boy)friend from Ahwaz, a long time ago.

  10. The combination of Okra and tamarind is really interesting! This is a must-try for me. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This recipe is SO good! And so easy to make. My parents were raving at how delicious it was and not slimey. Thanks so much!

  12. mmm sounds good! I remember I never liked this when I was a kid. But I saw bamieh in a store yesterday and bought some and wasn't sure what to do with them.

  13. I don't have tamarind, or tamarind pods. Can i sub anything?

    1. You can substitute tomato sauce.

    2. u can use tomato paste but mix it first with lemon & brown table sauce...

  14. This looks so yummy! What are the green garnishings?

  15. Azita -

    This is an absolutely delicious dish!! I have tried many of your recipes and have had much success, thanks to you!! I am inspired by your blog. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Azita-

    Can you also use actual tomato pieces in the stew in addition to the tomato paste? to it takes away from the flavor?

    1. Yes, you can use fresh or canned tomato pieces in the stew in addition to the tomato paste. This will enhance the taste.

  17. What is red pepper? Is that red chilli powder?