Almost Turkish Recipes

Baked Okra (Fırında Bamya)

Among the numerous delicious vegetables that I hated as a kid, okra is the only one that I still don't like. After college, I started to eat, cook, and deeply love leek, fava beans, artichokes, etc., yet even the idea of tasting okra gave me shivers. Okra is fuzzy. Okra is slimy, very slimy. Based on observation I can say people either love it or hate it. Also, okra lovers seriously believe that others would like okra if they eat a well cooked okra dish and that sliminess is due to bad cooking. What's a good way of cooking okra I don't know. The only okra dish I knew is some sort of stew. In Turkey in my house and in every other house I know okra is cooked with tomatoes, onion, and lemon juice in olive oil: nothing exciting and still slimy.
That's why I was really excited to find a new (to me) okra recipe in Sarah Woodward's book, The Ottoman Kitchen. I cannot say I liked the book. But in the end it won my favor with one recipe; for the first time in my life I ate 7 okras and really enjoyed it.

1 lb fresh okra (not the huge woody ones)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1 green bell pepper, cut in thin strips
2 onions, chopped finely
3 tomatoes, sliced in rounds
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
crushed red pepper flakes
-Wash okra and dry well. Trim off the end of the stems, but be careful not to cut into the pod.
-Put okra in a large flat dish and sprinkle vinegar with generous amount of salt. Make sure both sides are coated well. Let it marinate for at least half an hour.
-Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet and cook onions until golden brown.
-Rinse okra well. Place them in rows in an oven dish; sprinkle onions.
-First put tomato slices on okras, and then crisscross pepper strips on tomatoes.
-Scatter the parsley over.
-Season with plenty of black pepper and pepper flakes. (Be careful with salt; remember okras were soaked in salt and vinegar)
-Finally pour the rest of the olive oil evenly and water.
-Bake at 375F for almost an hour. Pick one to taste; it should be soft but not very soft.
-Let it cool in its own juice and serve barely warm


  1. I love okra! They have such an interesting texture! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  2. Mmm, very interesting and tasty sounding. I've never cooked okra, and although I don't hate it, I've never been much of a fan. (Well, the fact I've never cooked it says a lot.) I like the sound of this recipe and the marinating of the okra before you cook it, and parsley seems to me like an excellent combination with okra too. Great recipe, thanks!

  3. Burku, I love Okra (bamies) and I think they will grow on you.

  4. Amazing presentation! I wish fresh okra was available more often, as it is I only see it fresh on occasion. I am an okra lover :)

  5. Anonymous4:43 AM

    Hi Burcu

    I was overjoyed to discover your website, and am slowly working my way through the recipes. Turkish food is lovely, so tesekkur ederim.

    In return - here is another okra recipe that I am sure you'll like. It's also very simple. Wash and dry the okra, cut it into rounds, and then deep fry it until it's crisp.

    For a lower oil version, just coat the okra rounds in a film of oil and cook on low for a long time - until they're crisp. The crisp thing is key.

    I think this would work as meze - it's a Bengali recipe, but nonetheless.

    Thanks again,


  6. Anonymous9:38 PM

    It sounds delicious, just going to try it, thank you all your recipes are fantastic