Bazella is a delicious Middle Eastern pea, carrot and meat stew. It’s nutritious, comforting and absolutely delicious. It’s so easy to make too, using frozen peas and carrots. A hit with kids and adults alike!
What is bazella?
Bazella is the Arabic word for peas. It’s also the simple name for this classic Middle Eastern stew. In this stew, the peas are the star. They are cooked alongside carrots and meat in a tomato broth until they soften. The stew is hearty and comforting and best served with rice.
What is a yakhneh?
Yakhneh is the Arabic word for stew, and it refers to several classic Middle Eastern dishes that are commonly served with rice. Bamia, or Okra stew is a very popular one, Lebanese Spinach Stew another, and Mulukhiyah a very famous green stew. Fasoolia Baida is another delicious stew that combines legumes with meat, this time white beans with beef.
Why you should make this Middle Eastern pea stew:
It’s very easy to make
It’s comforting and full of flavor
Bazella is a hit with kids and adults, and a great way to get your kids to eat more veggies!
It’s very healthy, and full of fiber and protein.
Leftovers taste great, and this freezes so well!
What ingredients do you need to make bazella?
Peas: Frozen are your go to here, and they make the dish exceedingly easy!
Carrots: I like using a bag of frozen peas and carrots, which are already cut into tiny cubes plus an extra bag of peas to make sure the ration is pea heavy. This is much easier than getting fresh carrots and chopping them up.
Beef (or lamb): Boneless meat chunks cut into 1.5-2 inch pieces. You can use tough cut of meat, like chuck, because the meat will be cooked in high pressure if using the instant or pressure cooker, or for a long time if usin ga normal saucepan.
Spices: seven spices or all spice or mixed spice, plus a little cinnamon powder, cumin, salt and pepper. I also add a bay leaf while cooking the meat.
Tomato Paste: the tomato flavoring that will give depth to our stew. Add as much as you like! I sometimes add more to get the sauce extra thick and tomato-y
Garlic and Coriander: a very commonly added addition to Arabic stews, sauteed garlic and coriander add so much flavor. You crush a good amount of garlic, and fry it until golden brown with fresh coriander in some olive oil. This is typically added to the stew as the final step.
How to make bazella in an Instant Pot:
An instant pot is amazing at quickly cooking beef cubes, and it’s awesome that you can saute the beef in the same pot. To make in an instant pot:
Turn on the saute function on the Instant Pot, add the olive oil, and brown the meat, a few minutes a side until browned and caramelized.
Add the diced onion, water, spices, bay leaf, and tomato paste. Turn the cook function to High pressure for 25 minutes, making sure the vent is sealed.
Once cook time is over, naturally release the pressure for 10-15 minutes, then vent any remaining pressure and open the lid. Switch back to saute function, add the frozen peas and carrots, and cook for 10-15 minutes or so until carrots and peas are tender and cooked through.
Add the sauteed garlic and cilantro (coriander), stir until combined and serve over rice.
How to make bazella on the stove top:
The steps are more or less the same. Brown the meat, then add water and spices. However, DON’T add the tomato paste to the water. This is because the meat won’t cook well in tomato broth.
Allow the meat to cook for an hour or so on a medium high simmer until cooked through and tender, then you add the tomato paste in, stir, and add the frozen peas and carrots. Simmer until cooked through, probably around 20 minutes.
FAQs and tips for making the best bazella:
Can I make this vegetarian?
Absolutely! Feel free to omit the meat, and cook the peas in vegetable stock.
Can I substitute lamb or ground beef?
Yes! Just make sure whatever meat you are using is fully cooked before adding the peas and carrots.
Adjust: Make this to your taste preference. You can add more tomato paste to get a richer tomato flavor, or less for a thinner stew. You can add more or less garlic, and seasoning.
Use tough cuts of meat: The meat is cooked under intense pressure, or for long enough a time that’ll become tender without falling apart. This is the perfect opportunity to use the less fancy cuts of meat.
Cook the peas until done! Just keep tasting until they are the amount of tender you like.
What to serve with bazella:
This is very commonly served with vermicelli rice. I love it with it! You can find an easy recipe for that here.
I like a little spice with mine, so I usually add a few dashes of hot sauces, or eat a spicy green chili pepper on the side!
You can also serve this with plain rice, pita bread, or even have it carb free in a bowl.
How to store leftover bazella:
Leftovers last for 3-4 days tightly covered in the fridge. I think this gets better with time.
This also freezes very well, for up to 3 months.
Other classic Middle Eastern recipes you might like:
- Instant Pot (optional)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb boneless beef cubes (About 1-2 inch cubes) 500 g
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp seven spices
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-5 tbsp tomato paste 70g
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 10 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 bunch cilantro (coriander) finely chopped
- 1 bag mixed frozen peas and cubed carrots (1 lb, 450 g)
- 1 bag frozen peas (1 lb 400g)
- If using Instant Pot, turn it to saute mode, and add the olive oil until hot. If using a regular saucepan, do the same thing on medium high heat. Add the beef cubes, and cook stirring occasionally until browned.
- Add the water, the seven spices, cinnamon powder, salt, black pepper and cumin powder, then the diced onion and bay leaf. If making in the Instant Pot, add the tomato paste, and stir to combine, then turn pressure to high for 25 minutes. Make sure valve is sealed). After cook time is over, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before venting remaining pressure and opening the Instant Pot.
- If using a regular saucepan, boil the meat until completely cooked before adding the tomato paste. This will take about 1 hour on a high simmer.
- While the meat is cooking, prepare the sauteed garlic and coriander. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet on medium high heat, then add the garlic and coriander. Stir and cook until garlic turns golden and coriander wilts, then set aside.
- Once the meat has cooked through, switch Instant Pot to saute function and add the frozen peas and carrots, and the extra bag of frozen peas. Saute for 10-15 minutes or until peas and carrots are cooked through and tender. Stir in the sauteed coriander and garlic mixture, and serve with vermicelli rice.
Bazella- Middle Eastern Pea Stew by everylittlecrumb on Jumprope.