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In Iraq, Kefah and her husband Mustafa loved cooking with okra and sharing mint tea with friends.

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Okra Casserole

Kefah enjoys preparing this okra dish for her family and other resettled refugees in her community. Her Sudanese neighbors say it is their favorite.


  • 1 lb. okra
  • 1 white or red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • handful of fresh herbs


Brown the meat, then add the onion and oil. After meat is cooked, add the okra and tomato paste. Add the garlic. Let heat together on medium-low heat for three minutes. Add fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Eat with rice.

Enjoy with Kefah's

Cantaloupe Juice


  • 1/3 whole cantaloupe
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • sugar if needed


Cut cantaloupe into chunks — put in a blender. Add water and sugar to liking. Blend and enjoy!

More About Kefah


Home Country

Kefah and Mustafa fled Iraq after ongoing violence made it too dangerous for them to live there. They relocated to Jordan, where they lived for several years, and were resettled in the United States in April 2012. Learn more about the IRC’s work in Iraq »


New Roots City

Upon arriving in the U.S., one of the biggest surprises for Kefah and Mustafa was the high price of food. To cut costs, they planted a garden, starting with their favorite vegetable: okra. They also grow cantaloupe, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, green peppers and mint—which they brew into a flavorful tea.

"The more mint I cut, the more hot tea I can drink with friends.
It is a good feeling."
- Kefah

One of Kefah’s favorite things about gardening is sharing her homegrown produce with her neighbors. Resettled families from Sudan, Somalia, Jordan and Cuba have all gathered in Kefah’s home to sample her New Roots-inspired cooking.