What makes Afghan Bamya such a sought-after dish? Afghan Bamya, also known as okra, is a beloved dish in Afghan cuisine, renowned for its unique flavors and textures. The secret behind its popularity lies in the careful combination of tender okra pods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and a blend of aromatic spices such as turmeric, coriander, and cumin. This dish is often cooked with lamb or beef, adding a rich and savory element to the meal.

What sets Afghan Bamya apart is its delightful slimy texture, which may seem unusual to some but is highly cherished in Afghan culture. This mucilaginous quality is what makes the dish so special, as it adds a unique mouthfeel and helps bind the flavors together.

People prefer to eat Afghan Bamya not only for its taste but also for its nutritional value. Okra is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a healthy and wholesome choice. Additionally, the dish is often served with rice or bread, adding to its hearty and satisfying nature.

In Afghan households, Bamya is more than just a meal; it's a symbol of hospitality and togetherness. It's commonly served during gatherings and celebrations, bringing people together to enjoy a delicious and comforting dish that represents the rich culinary heritage of Afghanistan.


  • 1 lb (450g) fresh okra
  • 1 lb (450g) lamb or beef, cubed
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish
  • Rice or naan bread, for serving


1- Wash the okra and trim off the tops and tails. If the okra is large, you can cut them in half lengthwise.

2- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become soft and translucent.

3- Add the minced garlic to the pot and sauté for another minute, stirring frequently.

4- Add the cubed lamb or beef to the pot and cook until it's browned on all sides.

5- Stir in the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and incorporated well with the meat.

6- Add the ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground black pepper, and salt. Stir the spices into the mixture, coating the meat evenly.

7- Pour in 2 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the meat becomes tender. You can add more water if needed to maintain the desired consistency.

8- While the meat is cooking, prepare the okra. In a separate pan, heat a little oil and lightly sauté the okra for a few minutes. This will help reduce the sliminess of the okra.

9- Once the meat is tender, add the sautéed okra to the pot. Stir gently to combine.

10- Let the Bamya simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the okra is tender and the stew has a thick consistency.

11- Just before serving, squeeze the juice of one lemon into the pot. Adjust the salt and seasoning to taste.

12- Serve your Afghan Bamya hot, garnished with fresh cilantro or parsley. It is traditionally served with rice or naan bread.

Enjoy the authentic flavors of Afghan cuisine with this delicious Bamya recipe. It's a perfect balance of meaty richness and the earthy flavors of okra, all infused with the warm, aromatic spices of Afghanistan.

Nutritional Values :

Here are approximate nutritional values for the ingredients commonly used in Afghan Bamya. Please note that these values can vary based on factors like portion size, cooking methods, and specific ingredient brands:

Okra (1 lb or 450g):

  • Calories: 90-100
  • Carbohydrates: 20-25 grams
  • Fiber: 6-8 grams
  • Protein: 3-4 grams
  • Fat: 0-1 gram
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Okra is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and various minerals like potassium and magnesium.

benefits : Okra is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants. It is also a good source of fiber, which is beneficial for digestion.

Lamb or Beef (1 lb or 450g, raw):

  • Calories: 800-950 (for lamb) or 800-1,000 (for beef)
  • Protein: 80-90 grams (for lamb) or 70-80 grams (for beef)
  • Fat: 50-60 grams (for lamb) or 55-70 grams (for beef)
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Meat is a good source of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

benefits : These meats are excellent sources of protein, iron, and B vitamins, which are essential for energy production and overall health.

Onions (2 large):

  • Calories: 120-150
  • Carbohydrates: 28-35 grams
  • Fiber: 4-6 grams
  • Protein: 2-4 grams
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Onions provide vitamin C, vitamin B6, and various minerals like potassium.

benefits : Onions contain antioxidants and compounds that may help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve heart health.

Tomatoes (2 medium):

  • Calories: 30-40
  • Carbohydrates: 7-9 grams
  • Fiber: 2-3 grams
  • Protein: 1-2 grams
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate.

benefits : Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against certain types of cancer.

Vegetable Oil (2 tablespoons):

  • Calories: Approximately 240
  • Fat: 28 grams
  • Negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals
  • Calories: Negligible
  • Minimal macronutrients
  • Spices are used for flavor, and their calorie and macronutrient content is generally very low.

benefits : While high in calories, vegetable oil is a good source of vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

Salt and Lemon Juice:

  • Calories: Negligible
  • Minimal macronutrients

benefits : While too much salt can be harmful, it is essential for maintaining fluid balance and muscle function.

Rice or Naan Bread (serving portion not specified):

  • The nutritional values for rice or naan bread can vary significantly depending on the type and portion size. Rice is typically a source of carbohydrates, while naan bread contains carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

benefits : These carbohydrate sources provide energy and fiber, which are essential for a healthy diet.

Please keep in mind that the nutritional values provided here are approximate and can vary based on factors like cooking methods, specific brands, and serving sizes. If you have specific dietary requirements or are concerned about the nutritional content of your meal, it's advisable to calculate values based on the specific brands and portion sizes you use.


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