Mediterranean Okra Stew

Here comes another traditional family recipe from my oldest notes; the Mediterranean Okra Stew. Sour and sweet, chewy and soft, the mighty okra, as we call it bamya, is a unique vegetable. Its taste always reminds me of lemon in a way, but it also has a grassy character. Not all vegetables are created equal some have more flavor depth and texture than others.

Okra stands out in any dish whether you sauté, stew, or boil it. Some people are skeptical about it. However, I highly recommend you give it an objective try if you haven’t added okra to your diet yet. I have to admit that it takes a while to develop some connection. If you know how to cook it, okra will open up new horizons in your recipes. To me, okra is indispensable in my cooking since I love special veggies that do not resemble any other food. Note that it is widely used in many different cuisines globally. Take Louisiana’s famous gumbo stew, for example. Okra is a popular ingredient in Southern cooking. In Greece and Turkey, it is a staple food. Nevertheless, it was originated in North Africa.

Nutrition Alert

Okra is another superfood that is packed with antioxidants and lots of fiber. One thing that stands out is the high amount of folate. It also contains magnesium, fibers, and vitamins B6, K1, A, and C. It is a delicious addition to your diet to boost your immune system. Note that there is a thick gel-like substance in okra that is called mucilage (sometimes also called pectin). It is interesting that it binds with the cholesterol during digestion and takes it out of your system. It is notable that mucilage may absorb toxins in the colon. I guess it works as a cleaning agent. Did you know that okra’s mucilage is extracted and used as a thickener and binder, both in the pharmaceutical and food industries?

What tools you will need:

Making okra stew does not require any special equipment kitchen. You probably have all you need in the cabinet. However, let me take this opportunity to introduce one fine stew pot that I am a huge fan of; the All-Clad Essentials Nonstick Stew Square pan.  The company pays extra attention to the raw materials used in the production of its pans. And this method results in high-quality pans that are easy to wash and maintain. The food residues quickly slide off. Note that it is made from heavy-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum that is covered with three layers of safe and durable PFOA-free material. This pan is compatible with most cooktops and ovens (up to 500 °F). You can use it on electric, gas, and ceramic ranges. Keep in mind that it is dishwasher safe, but handwashing strongly recommended for the long-term durability of the product.

Mediterranean Okra Stew Recipe

Cooking okra is a unique experience. the amount of cooking period plays a significant role in the final texture. If you cook it fast, you will end up with crunchy veggies. On the other hand, it becomes exceptionally tender if you choose to slow cook.

To summarize today’s recipe; we cook okra in tomato sauce that is spiced with various essential herbs such as turmeric. You can call as well this okra and tomatoes. Keep in mind that I don’t use meat, but original Greek and Turkish okra (bamya) recipes usually consist of some kind of meat (mostly lamb).

Mediterranean Okra Stew

Recipe by OzgurCourse: MainCuisine: TurkishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • 1 pound (454 g) frozen or fresh okra

  • 1 medium size white onion

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 3 cups of warm water

  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon of ginger powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Wash and drain the okras.
  • Pat dry the okras and cut the ends off.
  • Peel and dice the onion finely.
  • Add three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a medium-size pan.
  • Turn on the heat to medium-low heat.
  • Add the diced onions to the pan and sauté.
  • Add one tablespoon of tomato paste and stir well.
  • Add three cups of warm water.
  • Add the juice of one lemon.
  • Bring it to boil.
  • Add the okras to the pan and continue to stir well for about one minute.
  • Continue to cook for about twenty minutes or so at low-heat.
  • Add the spices, stir for half a minute and remove the pan from heat.


  • If you do not like your okra too slimy, make sure to cook it fast over high heat to decrease mucilage fiber. You can also slice the okras to be able to cook them faster.
  • Please make sure to drain okra immediately after washing. Do not let it sit in water since it would absorb water quickly and may later become soggy while cooking.

Is okra healthier cooked or raw?

You can eat okra pods raw. In fact, most parts of okras are edible such as the flowers, leaves, and seeds. In general, okra will maintain more health benefits for you when cooked less. In other words; less is more when it comes to cooking okra. The special mucilage fiber may reduce constipation issues, which may disappear in the pickled version. You may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and control blood sugar.

What does okra do to a woman?

Okra is super healthy food. However, it is extra beneficial for pregnant women in the way that it is rich in Vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, and antioxidants. Folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects. Regardless of its nutritional value, you should always consult a physician for your own personal condition and allergic status. It is always to best stay within daily suggested limits for each vegetable and fruit as too much of everything may be bad.

What makes okra gooey?

Okra pods contain mucilage fiber at high levels, which is beneficial for our digestive system. These mucilaginous pods make the cooked okra slimy. However, some people do not like this gooey mouthfeel. One way to reduce the sliminess is to cook the okras quickly. Also, keeping the okras in bigger pieces might help.


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