Persian Okra Stew (Khoresh Bamieh)

By Tara Omidvar, @madeofsugarandsaffron, Khoresh Bamieh or okra stew is a dish originating in the south of Iran. It’s a hot and flavourful dish with lots of garlic. Okra, beef and tamarind are the main ingredients. Like many other Iranian stews, there are different versions of this stew as well. Some cooks add split peas and some make it without tamarind. This version is the one that Tara’s grandmother taught her. The sourness that tamarind provides to this dish can’t be replaced with any other ingredient. As with every other Iranian stew, this dish is always served with saffron rice. You can also serve Shirazi Salad (see Tip), fresh herbs and/or pickled vegetables as accompaniments.
Yield 4 Servings Prep. Time 15 min Cooking Time 90 min Total Time 105 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • 11 oz (310 g) tamarind paste (see Tip*)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water
  • 1 lb (500 g) Beef Boneless Blade Steak or Roast, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes or Stew Cubes
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb (500 g) okra
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste
  • Shirazi Salad (optional, see Tip)
  • Chopped green onions, fresh mint and/or cilantro (optional)

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions:

  1. Combine tamarind paste with boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Let stand for about 30 minutes or until softened.
  2. Meanwhile, pat beef dry with paper towel. Season all over with salt and pepper to your taste. Set aside.
  3. Heat half of the oil over medium heat in a large heavy Dutch oven or enamelled cast-iron roaster. Cook okra, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add remaining oil to pot. Cook onion over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until golden. Add garlic and turmeric; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add beef, in batches to avoid overcrowding pot, and cook, turning, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a bowl as each batch is browned.
  5. Return beef and accumulated juices to pot. Add hot pepper flakes and tomato paste; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 4 cups (1 L) water or enough to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of pot.
  6. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours or until meat is fork-tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed to keep moist.
  7. Meanwhile, use a fork to separate tamarind paste from the seeds and extract juice. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing the pulp to squeeze out liquid; discard solids. Set thin paste aside.
  8. Stir strained tamarind juice and sautéed okra into pot. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or just until flavours are blended (be careful don’t overcook the okra or it will become mushy). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve stew garnished green onions, mint and/or cilantro and with Shirazi Salad on the side, as desired.