Lamb and okra stew

This is a typical stew made in Iraq.In Iraqi it is called merqat bamia,merqat is stew and bamia is okra. Okra or ladies fingers as it is also known is a vegetable that is widely used in Iraq. They use it fresh,frozen and they thread it on string and dry it to preserve it. When its dry it has to be soaked in water before using. In this soup I also used a dried lemon called lumi Basra ,I pierced it and let it infuse in the stew while it was simmering . Another ingredient used is the citric acid giving the soup that tangy taste or as my hubby says a taste of ‘home’ .I make this stew using lamb. The best cut to use is the cutlets or lamb shanks or chops. It can be made using beef ,chicken and even vegetarian without any meat.I serve it with white long grain or basmati rice .


1 kg lamb chops,cutlets or lamb shanks ,I used sliced leg of lamb chopped into pieces.

3  large onions cut into chunks

8-10  chopped garlic cloves

4  tablespoofuls tomato paste

1 small pkt or 1 tin tomato passata

1 tin tomato polpa or 1 cup peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes

2 teaspoons mixed spice

1 teaspoon hot or mild curry

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

salt according to taste

optional dried lemon (lumi Basra)

1 teaspoon citric acid if you do not have juice of 1 lemon

2 cups water

optional if you like it spicy add a finely chopped chili pepper

1/2 kg okra


Heat oil in a large pot and fry the onions,add the spice.

Then put the meat in and brown it stirring from time to time.

Add the chopped chili if using and stir in and then the tomato paste cooking it for a few minutes.

Pour the passata and the chopped tomatoes and enough water .

Add the garlic,citric acid or lemon juice and if you have the pierced dried lemon (lumi Basra)

Season with salt according to taste and after it boils let it simmer half covered with the lid until meat is tender.

When meat is tender add the okra and let it cook for about 15 minutes . Taste to check if okra is cooked.

When ready let it stand for a bit then serve with white long grain or basmati rice.





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