Okra Stew

5 from 246 votes

This Okra Stew is a hearty Lebanese style recipe with robust flavors of stewed tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and sauteed onions - the whole family will enjoy!

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Okra Stew (also called Yakhnit Bamyeh in Arabic) is a delicious hearty stew made with garlic, cilantro, tomato sauce beef and fresh or frozen okra. What I love about the stews we eat is that they are super easy to make in one pot, have a ton of nutrition and they are very comforting in the winter over a warm bowl of rice pilaf.

Okra Stew in a bowl with white rice
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What is okra?

Okra is a flowering plant that is completely edible and very popular in the Southern States. In my Arabic culture, we also grew up eating Okra in recipes like this Lebanese style Okra Stew (which we call bamia/bamya in Arabic).

2 image collage showing the fresh okra on a long plate before an after cutting

How to make okra stew

  1. Soften the garlic, onion and cilantro.
  2. Add the okra and spice and cook.
  3. Add in the tomatoes.
  4. Add in the tomato paste.
  5. Add n the water.
  6. Add in the cooked beef and simmer until thick.
6 image collage to show how to make the recipe

Tips to make this stew

  1. Use frozen okra in this recipe. Fresh okra will work, but it can become slimy once cooked. If you don’t like the usual texture of okra, you will love this recipe!
  2. Cut the okra into very large chunks. This helps to prevent the slimy texture many don’t like or you can buy the mini small okras
  3. Add lemon juice to the okra. When you add the okra to the pot, try adding half or a whole lemon. The acidity of the lemon juice can actually cut the sliminess of the okra.
  4. Make it vegan. It’s traditional to make this with beef or even with chicken. But because it’s so hearty and filling, it can really stand on its own without any beef or chicken

Frequently asked questions

What do you eat this stew with?

Like most of my traditional Lebanese stews, we love eating them with Lebanese rice. You can also eat this on its own, with brown rice or with quinoa

Can you make it with chicken?

Yes, you can use chicken instead or you can make it entirely meatless by adding extra tomatoes and okra and it makes for a wonderful vegan dinner recipe.

Can you make it ahead of time?

Yes, this stew is great for make ahead and freezer meals. Let your okra beef stew cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. It will keep well in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stovetop over a gentle heat until warmed through to serve.

 Spoon going into Okra Stew in a white bowl

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Okra Stew

This Okra Stew is a hearty Lebanese style recipe with robust flavors of stewed tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and sauteed onions – the whole family will enjoy!
5 from 246 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 311
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 pound beef tips
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 14-ounce packages frozen baby okra
  • 1 teaspoon 7 Spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 vine-riped tomatoes chopped


  • In a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the beef and cook for 4-5 minutes without touching. Flip over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Set the beef aside
  • In the same pan, add the remaining olive oil along with the garlic, cilantro and onions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the frozen okra, salt, pepper and 7 Spice to the garlic cilantro mixture and stir well, coating the okra with the mixture and breaking up the frozen okra. Cook the okra, stirring occasionally until the okra is fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste, fresh cut tomatoes and 4 cups of water to the pan. Then return the beef tips, and mix to incorporate everything together. Lower heat to low and simmer covered for 15 minutes until sauce thickens.
  • Serve over traditional Arabic rice pilaf and sprinkle fresh cilantro for garnish.


Storage: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and they will keep for around 3 days. You can also freeze the stew and it will keep for up to 3 months.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 311kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 208mg, Potassium: 751mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1215IU, Vitamin C: 29.1mg, Calcium: 93mg, Iron: 2.7mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Course: Main Course

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  1. Thank you so much for another beautiful recipe. I am Scandinavian but am married to a Lebanese guy. Your recipes are fool proof and I feel so happy that my in-laws love my cooking and tell me it tastes authentic (and I’m sure you know they’ll tell it like it is). Amazing!

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