Bakhtoum - Lamb Stew with Toor dhal and Okra

The first time I had this dish was during an Eid party at a friend's place. No one could make out what is it. It's not exactly bamia dish, another Singaporean edition of Okra dish that originates from the Middle East. Bamia has this toasty fragrant from its use of spices. This dish, however is more tangy and tomato-ish - which makes me happy because that would be something I could definitely add on our family's dinner list. So as I always do, I asked for the recipe! Kak Rohana was happy to oblige and she explained that the recipe is a family's heirloom! It is a unique "arabic" dish she inherited, but it has obviously been tweaked and improvised to suit an Asian's tongue.

When I was in Singapore last summer, I wanted to invite everyone over so I decided to cook up a storm. In the list of my menu was Maqlooba Rice, but as I know Asians are used to eating rice with gravy, I decided to try Bakhtoum - which can be eaten with rice or bread. Perfect, I thought. Lamb is also something no one can say no to. Right?

I decided to make it again today. It's Friday, a weekend, and husband is back from his trip. Whenever he is around, I just narrow down my choices to something with meat in it. He's a real carnivore, what can I say. This dish came to mind and off I went to the supermarket to grab a few essentials.

Toor dhal - checked
Lamb meat - checked
Okras/Ladies fingers - checked
Tomatoes - checked
Yogurt - checked
Mint leaves - checked

I might or might not have these items in hand, so I quickly ran through the ingredients to make sure I didn't forget anything. It's best to soak the dhal beforehand I supposed, but today was an instant kind of day. We just go with the flow, babeh...

The ingredients listed below

Bakhtoum Daging

1 kg Lamb bone in or boneless
Cook in pressure cooker or on stove top, add 1 inch ginger and salt.
Once cooked, leave aside with the broth.

1 onion or 6 shallots   }
2 garlic                        }   Blend these ingredients and fry in pot with a little ghee
1inch ginger                }

1 cup of yogurt                }
1 small tin tomato puree  }      Mix tomato / yogurt paste
1/4 cup of tomato sauce   }

1 cup of toor dhal              }      Suggestion is to Pre boil them
Handful of Ladies fingers  }

5 tomatoes } Diced
Mint leaves } chopped

Salt, sugar & Pepper to taste.

Simple Instructions :

1. Cook Lamb in pressure cooker as instructed.

2. Fry blended ingredients until fragrant then add broth and meat to the pot.

3. Add Yogurt, Tomato paste, Tomato Puree and Diced Tomatoes

4. Add Cooked dhal and Ladies' fingers

5. Add mint leaves and serve

Done....if you want the longer version, please read on.

I soaked the dhal quickly in water, while preparing the lamb in a pressure cooker. I usually just dump a quartered onion and some salt with the lamb. But in the recipe, you may add an inch of ginger to the lamb. You may also use the pressure cooker to cook the dhal I guess, but I didn't.

While preparing the lamb, I quickly prepare the other ingredients to blend. Kak Rohana's recipe is quite ancient! She described the amount of shallots I should use in "cents". Yes, like dollars and cents...except that, 20 fils will not get me any shallots at all! I ended up blending 1 medium onion, 2 garic and 1 inch of ginger instead.

Prepare the pot and heat up some ghee. Fry the blended ingredients until fragrant. Add the broth from the pressure cooker (strained first to remove residues) and add in the dhal if its not already cooked. This process takes longer I think, but that's how I did it today. Best to soak the dhal overnight and it'll cook it separately beforehand. Anywaysssss....

Prepare 20 cents yogurt, or in my calculations about 1 small cup of yogurt (around 170gm) and mix it with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce (yes sauce, like maggi or kimball brand) and 1 small can of tomato puree which I estimated it to be about 2 tablespoons. Mix them up and pour into the pot of boiling broth and dhal. Add about 4-6 diced fresh tomatoes and leave to cook.

Once the dhal has softened, add in the lamb meat and ladies fingers into the pot. You may again prefer to boil the ladies fingers beforehand before adding it to the dish. Lastly, chop up mint leaves and stir into the dish just before serving.

Add sugar and salt to taste. (I skipped the sugar bit and it still tastes wonderful). And serve hot with warm baguette or rice if you prefer.

Happy trying!


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