Adapted from Our Syria by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi
For the most impact, it is best to buy freshly ground spices or grind them yourself. I know: Sounds like a headache. But this dish is so bare-bones, you want as much of a heady spice wallop as possible. That only happens with fresh-ground spices. Sorry.
- Make the spice blend: Mix the spices together well in a jar.
- Make the stew: Heat a pat of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until foaming. Fry the lamb, in batches if necessary, turning until browned all over. Add the nutmeg and the 7-spices blend, then add about a tablespoon of salt and about ½ teaspoon of black pepper.
- Add the canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and tomato paste. Add about 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Add the okra and simmer until both the okra and lamb are rather tender and the sauce is thickened, about 25 more minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, as you like. Serve with rice.
Scott Hocker is a writer, editor, recipe developer, cookbook author, and content and editorial consultant. He has worked in magazines, kitchens, newsletters, restaurants and a bunch of other environments he can’t remember right now. He has also been the editor in chief of both liquor.com and Tasting Table.