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The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
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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.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Broccoli Vegetarian Bites

This is not an Iraqi recipe, but wanted to share it with you to enjoy it as much as I do.
These are very delicious snacks or served as an appetizer. I had leftover cooked broccoli and wanted to make lunch snack to take with me to work. You can eat them at room temperature or heat them in the oven. You can freeze them after baking to serve for later when needed.
Makes 24

2 cups cooked broccoli, chopped
½ cup scallions, chopped
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup flour
¼ cup Parmesan cheese  plus extra for rolling
1 egg
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pour 1/ cup of Parmesan cheese in a bowl and set aside.
Put all the above ingredients in the food processor and pulse a few times until al well combined. Pour the mixture into a bow. Oil your hands and take a small ball of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Drop it in the bowl of Parmesan cheese and roll it. Arrange the balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over these balls and bake in 350 degrees F. preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and leave the tray on the kitchen counter for 14 minutes before removing the broccoli balls.

You can also use any type of green veggies instead of the broccoli. Make sure to cook the greens, chop them and  remove the moisture out, before adding to the processor.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Grilled Chicken Shawirma with Red Rice- شاورمة دجاج ورز احمر بالبزالية

I attempted to grill the chicken outdoors, but you could arrange the chicken pieces on a sheet pan and put it under the broiler for 10 minutes. Turn the slices on the other side and leave it for 5 more minutes under the broiler.
You will need a jar of shawirma spices that you can find at Middle Eastern grocery stores.

Makes 3 servings
1 ½ pounds chicken breast,(boneless and skinless)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon shawirma spices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup onion, chopped
1 glove garlic, chopped
Slice the chicken breast on a cutting board. In a deep bowl, pour the oil and vinegar and add the salt, spices , onions and garlic and stir. Add the chicken pieces and make sure they are very well coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Heat the outdoor grill to medium. Place the chicken pieces on the grill and cover the grill. After 5 minutes, turn the chicken slices over and grill for 3 more minutes until done.
You can serve it with bread and salad or with rice cooked with tomato sauce.
Red Rice with Tomato and Peas
This is a vegetarian rice but you could add chicken stock or lamb stock to the rice if you prefer.
3 cups boiling water
1 ½ cup basmati long grain rice
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Bahar or Arabian spice
¼ cup water
½ cup frozen peas
In a deep pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt and rice and stir the rice. Leave rice starts to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour rice in a strainer and leave to drain.
In a pot, heat the oil and add onions and season with salt and spices, and stir. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add ½ cup of water and bring to a boil. Add the peas and rice and stir. Reduce heat to low and cover to steam for 20 minutes.

Serve it with Arabic salad and pickles

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Homemade Vinegar, - الخل بالفواكه

Vinegar making is a tradition in every Iraqi kitchen. We always serve pickles with meals, and vinegar is an essential kitchen ingredients that we keep in large pottery jars for pickling or salad dressing. 
Traditionally, we make vinegar using dates or grapes. I decided to experiment with fruit I have.I peeled a pineapple, and decided to put the core in a large mason jar. I added blueberries, a few dates and sugar.
The process takes a few weeks for the vinegar to mature; it takes a little of patience, but the result is very successful!

4 cups water
1/4 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
core of one pineapple
1/2 an apple sliced
4 dates
1/2 cup sugar, divided
In a large clean jar, pour the filtered water. Leave 3 inches of space to the top of the jar,  to allow space for the fermentation process.
Add 1/4 cup of sugar and stir. Add all the fruit and cover the top of the jar with cloth towel.Secure the top with rubber band.(Fermentation needs air. This is why we do not secure the top of the jar completely).
Leave the jar in a dark area in the kitchen for 3 week. You will notice the bubble and fruit are rising up to the top due to the fermentation process. 
Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place on top of a stainless steel bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture in the strainer to catch all the fruit. Discard the fruit. Pour the vinegar mixture in a big jar. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and stir. Seal the jar halfway with the top cap. Cover the jar with a kitchen towel, and leave it to mature for six more weeks.
Line a funnel with a coffee filter and put it on top of a jar to strain the vinegar again. Now you are ready to use for salads or for marinades.

Apricot Jam-مربى المشمش

This is one of my favorite jams. I always have jars of homemade berry jams in my fridge, and I give them as a gift when invited by friends. Whenever I make yellow cake I drop a few spoons of strawberry or blackberry jam in the batter before I put the pan in the oven.
In this recipe, I do not peel the apricots. I cut each apricot in quarters. Ripe and soft apricots are best for this recipe.
1 pound fresh apricots
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon fruit fresh powder or lemon juice
In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Add the apricots, fruit fresh powder and stir. When mixture starts to boil, reduce heat and simmer on medium low for 30 minutes. Make sure to skim off the foam that develops around the edges of the pot. Also, make sure to stir a few times to prevent the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When water is almost absorbed and apricots are cooked, remove from heat and pour in canning jars. Seal the jars and leave on the kitchen counter until cool. Store in the refrigerator.
You can use this jam with cream cheese or a topping for apple cake.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Green Beans with Tomatoes-فاصوليا خضرة

This is a vegetarian dish that we serve as a side dish or a main dish with rice.
I used frozen Italian green beans, but you can use regular frozen or fresh cut green beans.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or Arabian spices
1 pound frozen Italian green beans
1 8- ounces tomato sauce
1 medium tomato, chopped
11/2 cup water
In a deep pan, heat the oil and add the onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add salt and seasonings. Add the green beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes or until the green beans are cooked.
Serve with plain white rice or saffron rice. Enjoy