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The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Baklava-Baklawa بقلاوة خفيفة و لذيذة

Today, I started baking for the Holidays. I made this delicious tray of baklawa. It is a very light recipe, NOT loaded with syrup. Check out this website for the recipe, plus other iraqi cookies that I baked during a TV show.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mung Beans Soup-شوربة ماش

Mung beans are very healthy and nutritious. We cook mung beans with rice. I decided to make a vegetable soup with these beans. Soak beans for a few hours before you start cooking. If you have not done that, pour hot water over the beans and set aside for 30 minutes.


1 cup mung beans soaked in water for 12 hours
4 cups water
1/2 cup white rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried mint
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Rinse the beans and discard water. Heat water in a deep pot and drop the beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes. Skim off the mung beans green skin that float to top and discard.
Add rice and all the vegetables, and cook for 20 minutes until rice is cooked. Season with salt and pepper and stir.
Add the lemon juice and taste to adjust the salt and pepper. 
You can add chicken stock and diced chicken if not vegetarian.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Roasted Leg of Lamb

This is an aromatic and delicious recipe that my family always enjoy. Sometimes I add crushes tomatoes while baking, but not in this recipe. You can always add it to the pan instead of adding 1/2 cup of water.When you purchase the boneless leg of lamb, it is wrapped in a net to keep a nice shape of the lamb.
Remove the net and rinse the lamb under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on a cutting board and follow the directions.
In my recipes, I mention the Arabian Spice which is a combination of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and black pepper.
1 (3 pounds) lamb, boneless
6 cloves garlic
6 whole cardamoms
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
1 stick of cinnamon, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Arabian Spice (7 spices or Syrian Spice)
2 table spoons salt
2 onions, slices
3 large potatoes, sliced
Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.
Trim off the layer of fat, but keep a little to crisp up while roasting. Make 1-inch slits in the lamb. Make
clusters of cardamom and garlic, or cinnamon and garlic and insert in these slits.
Brush the lamb in oil and season with salt and Arabian spice. Arrange the potatoes and onions on a
baking pan. Lay the lamb over the potatoes, and pour ½ cup of water. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees  F.. Remove from the oven and cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and uncover. Bake in the oven for 30 more minutes to crisp up the top.
Remove from the pan and serve on a platter surrounded by the potatoes. Pour in some of the juices over the lamb.Skim off the fat before serving.

Serve with saffron rice.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Feta Cheese Spread

Feta cheese is a staple in my house. I use it for salads, sandwiches and in pastas. You need to preserve it in salt water and store in the refrigerator. It is often salty cheese.To serve, soak it in cold water for 20 minutes and drain it before slicing. In the following recipe, I added cottage cheese to the crumbled feta to cut down on salt. There are different varieties of feta that are imported or domestic that you need to try until you find the brand you like to purchase.

1 pound feta block
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried mint or zaatar
In a bowl, crumble the cheese and stir in the cottage cheese. Sprinkle mint and drizzle olive oil and stir.
Serve in a small salad bowl and garnish with mint or black olives. Serve with pita chips or crackers.

For this recipe, you can add 1 clove of crushed garlic to the spread if you desire.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baked Butternut Squash

This is an autumn vegetable that we use in so many dishes, such as soups, stews with lamb and others.
I purchased butternut squash whole, peeled it with a potato peeler, scooped the seeds out and sliced it.
You can purchase the squash already cubed in 1-inch size.
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup cranberries
¼ cup walnuts
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Put the squash in a bowl and drizzle olive oil. Season with salt, spices and stir. Spread squash on a baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender. Allow to cool, and arrange in a deep dish. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, cranberries and walnuts.  
This makes a good side dish with chicken or lamb.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tahini Cookies كعكة بالطحينة والسمسم

Tahini is a sesame paste that I use for making hummus, and other sauces. I decided to make these delicious cookies that resemble sugar or peanut butter cookies using tahini. You can use almond butter if you do not have tahini. You can find tahini in the Middle Eastern isle of the grocery store.

This recipe makes 20 cookies
¼ cup tahini
4 ounces butter, melted (1/2 stick)
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bow, put the butter, tahini, sugar, egg and whisk until sugar has melted. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom and stir using a wooden spoon.
Take a small ball of the dough the size of a walnut. Roll it in your hands, and put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. When done rolling, make an indention in the middle of the cookie dough and put a few sesame seeds. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove from oven and leave the cookies to cool before removing from pan. Store them in a Tupperware container lined with wax paper.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fig Jam-مربى التين

Figs are in season in mid August when they ripen and ready to pick. They are perishable, and plan to eat them within one day or store in the refrigerator for two days. You can also freeze them whole or cut in a half. Just arrange them on a parchment paper lined tray and put in the freezer for 3 hours. Then remove from the tray and store them in a freezer bag for later use. Use them for a smoothie, or cook them for making fig sauce to pour over goat cheese, cream cheese or plain yogurt.
I was fortunate enough to find purple figs in the Farmer’s Market. I purchased a few pounds for consuming and canning. I usually keep the figs whole before cooking them, but you can chop them and cook them for a spread.
2 pounds whole figs, rinsed and drained       
1 ½ cup of sugar
6 cloves cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
¼ cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
Place all the ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam that develops on top. Simmer the figs on low heat for 50 minutes. When figs are cooked, remove from heat and spoon in jars and seal the top. When the jars cool off, store in the refrigerator.

Whole green or yellow fig jam