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The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Farro Pilaf طبخة القمح او الفريكة النباتية

Farro Pilaf طبخة القمح او الفريكة النباتية

Farro (فريكة) is an ancient grain found in the Middle East. It tastes chewy like barley. It takes time to cook between 35-40 minutes. I usually purchase parboiled farro from Trader Joe's and cooks in 15 minutes.
You can cook it with chicken, or lamb. I prefer to cook it  vegetarian.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup parboiled farro
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat olive oil in a deep pot. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the farro and boiling water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until water is absorbed. If the grains are still hard add 1/2 cup of water and leave it to simmer on low heat for ten minutes. Turn off heat and leave it covered. 
Serve with salads or as a side dish for chicken.
If you are using regular farro, soak it in water for 30 minutes before cooking. Use 2 cups of water to 1 cup of farro. Bring to a boil until water absorbed. 
Serve it as a salad or pilaf with chicken.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mamoul Filled with Dates

معمول بالتمر 

I was experimenting with this Lebanese recipe as there are so many different version of how to make the dough. I came up with this successful recipe to make a small batch.  You can double the recipe.
Makes 15 cookies. 
1 stick of butter, melted(4-ounces)
1 cup fine semolina
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons rose water 
8-ounces pressed dates
Melt the butter and pour in a bow. Add the flour, semolina, salt and baking powder and stir. The mixture will harden in five minutes. Add the rose water and mix using your hands. When the mixture becomes soft and the dough holds itself, cover and set a side for 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling:
Sauté the pressed dates in butter and add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and ground cardamoms. Set aside to cool. You can prepare the filling the day before if you wish.
To form the cookie, take a small portion of dough the size of a lime. Flatten it and fill it with 1 teaspoon of dates turn the sides of the dough towards the center to close it. Put it in a wooden mold and press it to make the design. Turn the mold over and tap it on a cutting board to release the cookie. Arrange on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. 
Bake for 20-25 minuted in a 350 degrees preheated oven.
Remover from over and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Serve with coffee or tea.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Potato Cakes, عروك البطاطة

This is a delicious recipe that we prepare during Lent. I prepare these cake as a side dish or an appetizer. You can prepare them ahead of time and freeze them. When you are ready to serve, just put them in heated oven at 350 degrees F. For 15 minutes.
5-6 russet potatoes 
1 cup scallions, chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
Oil for frying

Place the potatoes in a pot of boiling water and boil for 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and immerse them in cold water. This will make it easy to peel them.
Shred the potatoes using a food processor attachment or a hand shredder. 
Put the shredded potatoes in a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, flour, spices and salt. stir and add the egg and scallions. Use your hands to combine all the ingredient. 
Take a small portion of the mixture the size of an egg. Shape it into a patty. Wet your hands in oil while shaping the patty.
Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Slide the patties in oil. When they become lightly browned turn them to the other side. It should take three minutes on each side.
Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. 
Serve them at room temperature with pickles. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Spinach Zucchini Soup, شوربة الكوسة و السبانخ

This is a light, warming soup that you can prepare in 30 minutes. It freezes well and you can keep in the refrigerator for a week. It is vegetarian, but you can add chicken stock and pieces of leftover chicken to it if you prefer.

3 cups water
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup rice
1 zucchini, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen spinach, or 1/2 pound fresh spinach
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt, or more
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried mint, or 1 tablespoon fresh mint
Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add rice, onions, and garlic. When rice is halfway cooked, add the zucchini and spinach, and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice and dried mint. Turn off the heat and keep the pot covered for 10 minutes. Taste if it needs more seasoning.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cauliflower Fritters عروك القرنبيط

Cauliflower Fritters عروك القرنبيط
This is a very delicious vegetarian recipe you can prepare as an appetizer, a side dish, or take to picnics. We usually prepare it during Lent. There are different varieties and you can add to it herbs you like and make it your own. My sister adds to it curry powder and turmeric. You could add parsley or cilantro. 

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped or medium onion
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper or curry powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 Vegetable Oil for frying

Put the cauliflower and onion, or scallions in the food processor and pulse until well chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Add spices, flour and baking soda and stir. Set aside for 10 minuted.
Heat oil in a pan.  Take a tablespoon of the mixture and from a patty. Drop the patties in oil. When the edges start to brown, turn to the other side.
When cooked, remove them and put the on a wire rack lined with paper towels to drain the fat. When cool, you can freeze them, and reheat them in oven when needed.
Enjoy them with pickles.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Molasses cookies كعكة الطحينة والدبس

These are one of my favorite healthful cookies the I always keep in my kitchen. I got the inspiration from mixing the tahini with date molasses in a small plate, I stir it and spread it on a piece of bread. This is the typical snack food in Iraq during Lent or Winter. It very much resembles the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you do not have tahini which is sesame paste, you can use peanut butter, but tahini has a mild flavor. You can find the date molasses in the Middle Eastern grocery stores. 

1/2 cup date molasses
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 ounces butter, melted
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cardamom, or cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons sesame seeds 
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine the molasses, tahini, butter, sugar and egg and stir with a wooden spoon. Add flour, salt, baking soda and sesame seeds and stir. The mixture will be soft.
Takes a small piece of dough the size of walnut and roll it in your hands. Arrange the cookies on a baking pan lined with silicone liner or parchment paper. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for 30 minutes before moving them to a wire rack.
Store them in a Tupperware contaminate lined with parchment paper.
Enjoy these cookies with tea or coffee.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mushroom with Pease

This is a vegetarian dish that you can use as a side dish with meat or rice. I had leftover saffron rice and decided to make a topping for the rice. Very delicious!

1 (8 ounce s) baby bell mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons frozen peas
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
I tablespoon fresh thyme (optional)

Heat oil in a deep pan. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and thyme, and stir for a few minutes until mushrooms are cooked. Add frozen peas and stir. Leave it to cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to serve over rice.