Thursday, April 7, 2011

Okra and Chickpea Stew (Bamya wa Hummus)

I'm ambivalent toward okra. At the risk of offending many Southerners, my first experiences encountering this vegetable were with battered, deep-fried okra. At best, I found it edible. At worst, it was a greasy, oily mess.  Later in life, I had some okra dishes that weren't so bad, but I think the psychological damage was already done.

On the other hand, my husband loves okra. Since there was a sale on frozen okra last week, I figured I'd make some for him. Usually, I stew it with tomatoes, but this time, I thought I'd try something new. (By the way, if you have any favorite okra recipes, I'd love to hear them!)

The following recipe is based on a Syrian/Lebanese one from Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa by Habeeb Salloum. However, to suit my own tastes and to avoid ending up with a bunch of rag-tag ends, I've changed the proportions for just about every ingredient in the recipe.

This dish was a great success with my husband, and I have to say that I was quite pleased as well. It had a light spicy, savory, lemony flavor. Plus, it was even better the next day after the flavors had time to meld.

Clockwise from top:
Carrot salad, rice,
okra & chickpea stew, spinach salad

Okra and Chickpea Stew (Bamya wa Hummus)

4 Tbsp oil (I used 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp coconut oil)
2 big onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed hot pepper (or to taste)
1 16 oz package frozen, cut okra, thawed
3 cups cooked chickpeas (if you use canned, about 2 15-oz cans, drained)
5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp of each of the following: ground cumin, ground coriander, ground mustard
Sea salt & pepper to tast
1 cup water

Heat oil in a pot.  Saute the onions, garlic, and hot pepper over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add okra and stir fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes over medium-low heat. If you need to add more water, do so.

 According to Salloum, okra should never be cooked in aluminum, iron, or tin because it will discolor.

Also, the recipe calls for whole frozen okra pods, but the cut okra worked just fine.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...