30 Minute Bamya (Okra Stew)

I am a busy mom of twin toddlers. They are two now, and I always say, “we have the terrible twos, times two!”  It is one heck of a household – full of laughs, giggles, screams, and shouts. I cannot imagine life any other way, alhamdulilah.  Ever since the kids starting eating solids, I try to cook all of their meals at home (using organic ingredients when I can).  Let me tell you, it is quite a challenge.  When I was busy working as a K-street lawyer in Washington, I was always looking for innovative ways to make traditional home-cooked meals, quickly.  I am not talking Rachel Ray style.  I find that the majority of these “30 minute meals” lack flavor and depth.  However, there are a few Middle Eastern dishes that can be cooked quickly, without sacrificing flavor.  My bamya in the pressure cooker is one of those recipes (ever since my mom introduced me to the pressure cooker, I don’t know how I ever lived without it.  I can make beef in 25 minutes, and it tastes like it has been cooking for hours).  I plan on sharing my other kid-friendly recipes on midEATS in the weeks to come.

Bamya is a very traditional Egyptian stew, made with cubes of tender slow-cooked beef, okra, and tomato sauce. Most people don’t like okra because of the stringy texture.  However, when cooked in a stew (and when using frozen okra), this is pretty much a non-existent issue. Further, okra is a powerhouse of nutrients, with folic acid, vitamin B6, fiber, and potassium.  My kids love the soft texture of the beef and okra, and it is a great way to get your children to eat their veggies!


I have other recipes for making bamya using fresh okra, but I wanted to share this quick, and simple recipe for all of the busy working moms looking for an easy way to get their kids to eat a nutrionally healthy meal!

30-Minute Bamya (Okra Stew)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1 lb of organic stew meat, small cubes
1 onion, diced
1 garlic, minced
1 cardamom pod
2 cups of chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce (12-oz)
1 bag of frozen organic okra
½ cup chopped parsley, fresh
Juice of ½ lemon
Olive oil

1 tablespoon of your favorite Middle Eastern spice mix (7-spice or “meat spice” work well)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder

  1. In a small bowl, mix beef cubes with the marinade spices.  Mix well to coat the beef. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Chop the onion, and mince the garlic.
  3. In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté.  Once the onions become soft, add the garlic and cardamom pod. Let simmer for a minute or so.
  4. Add beef to the pressure cooker’s onion/garlic mix, and lightly brown the beef.  Add the chicken broth and tomato sauce. Mix well.
  5. Add the frozen okra to the pressure cooker.  Cover and follow your pressure cooker’s instructions.  For mine, once it begins to whistle, I reduce the heat to low.  Let cook for approximately 20 minutes. (I usually start cooking some rice at this step, so it will be ready at the same time as the okra.)
  6. Turn off the heat and release the pressure according to your pressure cooker’s instructions.
  7. Add the lemon juice and chopped parsley.  Add another pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Serve with freshly cooked rice. Enjoy!

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