Okra stew (Cypriot Bamia) / Μπάμιες

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Okra, or ladies fingers (appropriate for Halloween?!) are in season at the moment here in Cyprus, and when i can, i love using seasonal local produce. Threfore i thought, what a better comforting autumnly heavenly dish than this traditional “stew”. I put “stew” in inverted commas because it doesnt taste like a stew, its more like a deep tomato sauce which the ladies fingers bathe in (wow i somehow just made that sound even creepier). The beauty of this classic cypriot dish, is in its simplicity. One ingredient is the hero, and the rest are all cupboard / fridge staples.

Research has shown that produce is more potent in its nutritional value when it’s in season so i always like to make use of whatever is ripe at the rigth time so to speak. So the fact that they’re seasonal, means their rich content of vitamins and minerals (including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and fiber) are more “true” and potent.

Definitly serve warm (not piping hot : when piping hot, the bamies have a different texture) with fresh village bread to soak up that delicious sauce. Enjoy this autumnly dish. I am

Okra Stew (Cypriot Bamies) – Μπάμιες

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Okra Stew (Cypriot Bamies) – Μπάμιες – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

  • Total Time: 1h 5m


  • 500 g okra / ladies fingers washed thoroughly / 500γρ μπάμια
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil / 2κ.σ. ελαιόλαδο
  • 1 onion, diced / κρεμμύδι ψιλοκομμένο
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced finely / σκελίδες σκόρδο, ψιλοκομμένες
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. quality tomato paste dissolved in 150ml water / πάστα ντομάτας διαλυμμένο σε 150ml νερό
  • 220 ml hot water / ζεστό νερό
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes / κονσέρβα ψιλοκομμένες ντομάτες
  • 2 dried bay leaves / αποξηραμένη δάφνη
  • 1 tsp. sugar / 1κ.γ. ζάχαρη
  • 1 1/2 tsp. molasses (optional) / 1.5κ.γ. μαύρη μελάσα (προαιρετικό)
  • generous salt (and pepper)


  1. Make sure your okra have their stem trimmed off on a diagonal, near to the okra head, but not near enough that you pierce open the okra (this will result in all the glue-iness leaving the okra and it will get all slimy). Drizzle vinegar all over your washed okra, and leave them to dry wilt in direct sunlight (if available) for at least 15 minutes, but up to 30 minutes
  2. Re-wash your okra with cold water and leave to dry
  3. Heat your olive oil. Add chopped onions and 3 minutes later, add chopped garlic. Saute for a few minutes more.
  4. Add your bamia to your deep dish. Turn these thoroughly so theyre covered in the onion/garlic and olive oil. Saute for another 5 minutes and stirring once in a while.
  5. Add in your tomato paste which is dissolved in water, your bay leaves, hot water and chopped tomatoes. Season with a generous amount of sea salt (min. 1tsp) and pepper. Add your molasses (optional) and sugar. Give it a good stir. Allow to come to a boil (about 5 minutes)
  6. Once its boiling, put heat down to the lowest heat, cover with a lid and allow this to simmer (lid on) for 40 minutes.
  7. After 40 minutes, take lid off and allow to simmer for 10 minutes more.
  8. Turn off the heat, and put lid back on (half way so that its half covered but we want steam to escape through one half). Leave like this for at least 15 minutes before serving or storing for later.

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