From the Books

I love okra. I have always eaten it one way, as a stew tabeekhat bamia, and I have previously posted my version on Look Out Libya.  I came across a new recipe (new to me anyways) about a year ago when I first started looking for material for We Are Food at its inception stage.  It was in a booklet titled “From the Libyan Kitchen” and was first circulated by the Libyan Women’s Union in 1986.* I now serve okra in two different ways! I post here my adaptation of this recipe as requested by a couple of my readers on Facebook. Happy cooking.

Tajeen Bamia bi D’jaj:

Okra and chicken casserole

Serves 4

Preparation time 20 mins

Cooking time 40 mins

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

4 chicken thighs

1 minced onion

4 minced garlic cloves

½ tbsp salt

½ tbsp ground black pepper

½ tbsp red cayenne pepper or paprika

¼ tbsp turmeric

¼ tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp tomato paste

½ cup tomato passata (pureed, strained tomatoes)

2 diced plum tomatoes

½ kg okra, washed and caps removed

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

In an oven-proof pot or casserole, heat the olive oil and sear the chicken thighs on all sides. The original recipe calls for an entire chicken cut into six pieces, but I find that the breasts dry out when used here. Add the onions and garlic and allow to soften for a couple of minutes.

Add the okra and sauté slightly for a couple of minutes. This prevents the okra from becoming slimy when it cooks.

Add all of the spices and seasoning, mix well. Add the tomato paste, and stir, coating the chicken completely.  Add the tomato juice and diced tomatoes. Stir and remove from the heat.

If you do not have an oven proof pot, carfully transfer the contents of the pot into a deep oven proof dish (ceramic, glass or Teflon are ideal) and place in the center of the oven.

Bake until chicken is cooked completely, about 20 minutes.

Excerpt of the original recipe in the "From the Libyan Kitchen" cookbook

1986 من المطبخ الليبي الاتحاد العام للنساء ليبيا، الطبعة الأولى*

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