Okra tagine with lamb Osso Bucco shanks (Bamya bel lahma el dhany)

Moushira Abdel-Malek , Tuesday 25 Jun 2024

Okra tagine with lamb Osso Bucco shanks
Okra tagine with lamb Osso Bucco shanks


Serves 6 - 8



1 kg fresh green okra (hulled)

1 kg lamb Osso Bucco (on the bone)

2 medium onions (quartered)

1 large onion (finely chopped)

1 tbsp minced garlic

Juice of 1 or 2 lemons

2 cups tomato juice + one tbsp tomato puré

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 cups of hot water

1 or 2 green chili pods (finely chopped; optional)

Salt (to taste) + pepper + 7 spices + ground cinnamon

4 bay leaves

1 wooden cinnamon stick

2 mastic pods (crushed into powder)

5-6 cardamom pods

2 tbsp ghee or butter

3 tbsp vegetable oil


For tasha:

1 tbsp ground dried coriander

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp butter or ghee



In a large cooking pot; add half the quantity of both ghee and oil; over medium heat. Add quartered onions, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, mastic pods, cardamom, some salt and pepper. Stir until aromatic. Pat dry meat with kitchen paper towels. Sprinkle some black pepper on both sides of each piece. Add to cooking pot; in batches. Stir with quartered onions, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, mastic, cardamom, salt and pepper; searing the meat cuts. Cover and lower heat to very low; allowing meat to release its waters. Check occasionally for dryness. Allow to cook for approximately 45 minutes; adding hot water; in very small amounts; when necessary. Meanwhile; heat another large cooking pot. Add remaining ghee and oil over medium heat. Stir in finely chopped onion. When translucent; stir in seasoning until aromatic. Add chili and garlic. Stir and combine with onion; until they release their aroma. Add washed, drained okra. Stir for a few seconds; then quickly add lemon juice. This step allows okra pods not to open and seeds not to sprout out. Add tomato juice, bouillon cubes and two cups of hot water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over very low heat; for approximately 25 minutes. Transfer meat; into okra pot. Gently stir into other ingredients to combine. Allow to cook together for five to ten minutes. Transfer everything into a tagine. Taste for salt. Cover and bake into a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius; for approximately one hour or when meat is fork tender; removing cover for the final ten minutes; to colour top. Remove from oven.


To make the tasha:

To a small saucepan; add garlic, oil and butter together; away from heat. Turn the heat on and cook on medium heat. Stir until garlic becomes yellowish. Add dried coriander. Stir together until aromatic and garlic starts to brown. Add to top of tagine. Cover for a few minutes. Remove cover and gently probe with a spatula to mix Tasha with okra and meat. Take tagine to table and serve with extra fresh lemon aside; to squeeze individually; if liked. Serve aside some pickles and arugula leaves with fresh lemon juice on top.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 27 June, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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