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The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Swiss Chard and Chickpea Stew

There are a variety of Swiss chards. In this recipe, I am using the chard with red stems. Make sure not to discard the stems. They are meaty, nutritious and delicious. I mention in the recipe the Arabian spice which is also called Syrian spice or Seven spices. It is sold in Middle Eastern grocery stores or just mix the ground spices to make the spice mix.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large bunch of Swiss chard, rinsed and sliced.
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
1 /2 teaspoon Arabian spice(mixture of cinnamom,allspice,cloves,black pepper and ground cardamom)
Juice of ½ lemon
In a deep pan, heat the oil and sauté the garlic and onions. Add the stems of the Swiss chard and tomatoes. Add 1/2 of water and bring to a boil. Add the Swiss chard leaves and chickpeas. Season with salt and spices. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Add lemon juice, and stir. Remove from heat and serve in soup bowl, with toasted bread.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Potato Pie-Baked Potato Chap

This is a very delicious pie that you can prepare ahead and reheat it.We use this recipe to make small individual potato kibbis , and fry them in oil. This is an easier recipe, and much lighter. You need to use a Pyrex pie dish, 12 inches in diameter.

3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound lean ground chuck
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arabic spice or
a combination of(allspice, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the potatoes in the food processor and pulse until well mashed. Remove it from the processor and put it in a bowl. Add the cornstarch, breadcrumbs and salt. Mix by hand, and set aside.

Prepare the filling. Sauté the meat and add the onions and spices. When cooked, add salt and chopped parsley. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
Brush the pie dish with 2 tablespoons of oil. Take half of the potato mixture and press it down to cover the surface of the dish. Spread the meat filling on top and cover it with a layer of potato. Smooth the top of the pie and brush it with oil. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Easy Falafel Recipe

I enjoy eating falafel, but I do not make them as often as I like to eat
them. The traditional recipe calls for dry chickpeas or fava beans that are soaked in water overnight. The next day, you put the mixture with onion, garlic and herbs in the meat grinder. Then leave the mixture in the fridge for 24 hours, before frying them.
I tried a shortcut for falafel recipe and I know you will like it too.
Makes 1 dozen
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup green peas
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon semolina (a binder)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
If you are using frozen peas, put them in hot water to blanch for 5 minutes. Strain them, and set aside.
In a food processor, put the peas, chickpeas, onions, garlic and herbs and pulse 8 times. Add the salt, semolina, baking soda, and spices. Pulse a few times until well blended.
Remove from the food processor and place in a bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Heat oil in a skillet. Take a tablespoon of the falafel mixture and form a small patty. When you have a few falafel formed, gently drop in oil. Cook for 3 minutes until crispy. Turn the patties to the other side to cook. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Serve immediately or put them in a plastic container in the refrigerator.
Serve as an appetizer with yogurt and cucumber salad.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pearl Couscous

This is a form of round pasta that is called Israeli couscous too. It is a very popular pilaf that is enjoyed in many Middle Eastern countries. I did not grow up with it in Iraq, but attempted to cook it and very much enjoy it cold or at room temperature as a meal by itself or a side dish.
2 cups dry pearl couscous
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup dried sour cherries or dried cranberries
¼ cup golden raisins
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a big pot, bring water to a boil and add salt. Put the couscous in and stir. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour in a colander to drain.
Heat oil in a sauté pan and sauté the onions for 1 minute. Add the nuts and sauté for another minute until lightly toasted. Add raisins and dry cherries and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add the couscous and stir.
Sprinkle the cinnamon and stir. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Yogurt Dill Sauce

You can serve this sauce as a dip with pita bread or with a rice dish.
2 cups whole milk plain yougurt
1 cup chopped dill, or 2 tablespoons dry dill
2 cloves of garlic,crushed
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl. Check if it need more salt. Spoon the mixture in a serving dish and drizzle olive oil on top. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Will keep in the fridge for three days.


Cardamom Cookies- Shakar Lama

These are very delicious cookies similar to sugar cookies.

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
 ½ teaspoon salt
 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Blanched almonds for decoration
Preheat oven to 350 degress F.
In a bowl, whip the butter and sugar and set aside.
 In another bowl combine all the dry ingredients.
 Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar. Mix well using your hand or a wooden spoon.
Take a walnut size of the dough. Roll it in your hand, and press it flat.
Put a slivered almond on each cookie.
Arrange these cookies in a pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Makes 24 cookies.
When cool, store in a plastic container.

Friday, October 25, 2013

White Beans Soup

This is a vegetarian soup that is filling and very delicious.  I usually purchase dry beans and soak them in water overnight. The next day, I strain them and follow the recipe. Make sure to add salt when beans are cooked, otherwise they will take a long time to cook.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound white beans soaked in water
6 cups boiling water
1 (8-ounce can) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Heat oils in a deep pot and sauté the onions for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and beans.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Check the beans if they are soft and cooked. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, salt and pepper and stir. Cook for 20 more minutes and add more water if needed. Add vinegar and check the salt and seasoning. Serve in a bowl as a soup or with white rice. Bean soup thickens when it cools. You can add more water when reheating it.