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How To Cook Oxtail Stew with Okra – Egyptian Bamia Recipe

by Lily
how to cook oxtail stew with okra

Have you ever wondered how to cook oxtail stew? Have I got the recipe for you! This traditional Egyptian oxtail stew recipe with okra puts the BAM in Bamia. Bamia, means okra in Arabic, and it can be made a few ways with or without meat. My favorite way to cook bamia is with oxtail.

This recipe is easy and difficult all at the same time- easy in terms of technique, but difficult because there are many steps. This is also not a great work week meal. I would say this is a great weekend meal, for when you want to make something exciting and different.

I have included some tips for speeding up this recipe (like using frozen Egyptian magic red sauce) in one of the sections below.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s unique. All of the flavors come together into this savory tender stew that literally melts in your mouth!

Ingredients for Oxtail Stew with Okra – Egyptian Bamia

  • Egyptian magic red sauce: Check out the Egyptian magic red sauce post for an in-depth explanation for making this homemade tomato sauce with onion. I always make this sauce in bulk and stick it in the freezer as a way of cutting down on my cooking time.
  • Okra: Frozen or fresh okra is suitable. I use frozen okra in this recipe because the grocery store didn’t have any good looking fresh okra.
  • Oxtail: I buy the oxtail already cut into 2″ (5 cm) thick sections. Previously frozen oxtail is suitable.
  • Spices: The oxtail is cooked with cardamom, onions, salt, and a bay leaf prior to making the stew. After the oxtail is cooked, the broth that is left over is so good.

Tips for How to Cook Oxtail Stew

Make the Egyptian magic red sauce. Don’t use canned tomato sauce, or take any shortcuts for this sauce. This sauce is the key.

Cook the oxtail prior to making the stew. Oxtail can be tough if not cooked long enough. The goal is to cook the oxtail almost completely before making the stew but not quite (the oxtail will get cooked further in the stew).

Squeeze some lime on the oxtail stew before going in the oven. The lime is the final ingredient that blends all of the flavors together.

Serve with a side of rice. I like to use my instant pot to make my rice while cooking this dish, so I don’t have to worry about burning the rice.

How to Make Oxtail Stew Easily

I have a couple of tips to make this dish a bit easier:

  • Use frozen Egyptian magic red sauce. This means that you would have already prepared this sauce ahead of time, either storing it in the fridge or freezer.
  • Use the instant pot or a slow cooker to cook the oxtail. If using the instant pot, cook the oxtail on high for 45 minutes. If using a slow cooker, cook the oxtail on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. The oxtail should just start becoming tender, but not fully tender.
  • Make the oxtail and magic red sauce the day before. Assemble the stew the night you want to eat it.
  • Use an instant pot to make the rice. Lebanese vermicelli rice goes great with this oxtail stew recipe.
How to make oxtail stew

Using the Oxtail Broth

While cooking the oxtail in water, cardamom, and salt, a very rich and tasty broth is in the making. My first choice for this broth is eating it as a soup. All that’s needed is to squeeze a bit of lemon and check the salt. That’s it!

Another option for the oxtail broth is to use it as the liquid for the rice. And lastly, the broth can be frozen for use in the future for another dish.

Try Some Other Egyptian Recipes

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how to cook oxtail stew with okra

How To Cook Oxtail Stew with Okra – Egyptian Bamia Recipe

  • Author: Lily
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Have you ever wondered how to cook oxtail stew? This traditional Egyptian bamia recipe is made with oxtail, homemade tomato sauce, and okra.



Egyptian Magic Red Sauce (Homemade Tomato Sauce)

  • 9 Medium Tomatoes
  • 3 Medium Onions
  • 9 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

For the Oxtail

  • 2 lbs (1 kg) Oxtail
  • 1.5 quarts (1.5 liters) of Water
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 8 Cardamom Pods
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Bay Leaves

Oxtail Stew

  • Egyptian Magic Red Sauce
  • Cooked Oxtail
  • Frozen or Fresh Okra (see notes)
  • 1 lime


Make the Egyptian Red Sauce

  1. Peel and quarter onions. Peel garlic. Add to a food processor and blend on high. Set aside.
  2. Quarter tomatoes. Add to a blender. Blend on high. Strain tomatoes. Set aside.
  3. In a large stovetop pot on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic mixture. Fry the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes or until they start to change color. 
  4. Add the strained tomato puree, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover the pot, reduce to medium heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Cook the Oxtail

  1. In a large pot, add the oxtail, salt, pepper, water, bay leaves, and cardamom pods.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-high heat and cover. Cook for about 1.5 hours monitoring every 20 minutes to make sure the water isn’t low. Refill the water as necessary (I add about 2 to 3 cups throughout the process of cooking).
  3. Once the oxtail is starting to get tender, remove from the heat. Strain the broth from the oxtail. Set the broth aside (this can be used for soup or to be added to cook the rice).

Prepare the Oxtail Stew

  1. Set the oven to 425F.
  2. In a large pot (see note), combine the tomato sauce with the cooked oxtail. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the cover and add the okra to the pot. Cover the pot. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid of the pot and squeeze the lime. If the pot can be put in the oven directly, put it in the oven. Otherwise, transfer the stew to an oven-safe dish and put it in the oven. Cook until brown crust forms on top.


  • I like to use a stovetop pot that can be put in the oven, so I don’t have to change dishes when cooking the oxtail stew. My favorite pot is the shallow and wide enameled cast iron pot from Le Creuset. 
  • This dish can be made spicy by adding a couple of hot peppers (when adding the okra).
  • The nutrition facts do not include rice.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Egyptian


  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 397
  • Sugar: 14 g
  • Sodium: 257 mg
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 12 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 33 g
  • Cholesterol: 100 mg

Keywords: Bamya recipe, Bamia recipe, how to make oxtail stew, how to cook oxtail stew, okra recipe

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