The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kibbi Mosul-Kubbat Mosul. كبة موصل

This kibbi is a specialty of Mosul which is a city in the northern part of Iraq.  Mosul is very well known for its culinary reputation.  This kibbi is always made with bulgur and jireesh which is uncooked wheat. Jireesh acts like a glue to hold the bulgur together. It is very hard to find it in the US grocery stores. Therefore, I use Semolina which holds the dough nicely when kibbi is boiled. We form this kibbi into a large disk and boil it in a wide pot or a wide deep pan.
2 cups bulgur no.1
1 cup semolina
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
In a bowl, put all the ingredients and mix by hand. Set aside for 20 minutes for the bulgur to absorb the water. Add more water to make it pliable dough. Put it in the food processor and pulse it a few time, and put it in a bowl.
Prepare the filling:
 2 pounds ground lamb
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arabian spice (mixture of black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom)
Put the meat and onion in a bowl and season with salt and spices. Stir to combine, and set aside.
Assemble the kibbi on a cutting board covered with a plastic bag. Have a bowl of cold water handy on the side. Take two balls of dough the size of an orange. Place the dough on the board. Press the dough to make a circle of 7 inches in diameter. Continue with the other ball of dough. Spread a handful of the filling on top of one circle. Place the other circle of dough on top and press the edges firmly to seal it.  Put the kibbi on a tray and keep in the refrigerator to boil it when ready, or put it in the freezer. To freeze it, wrap it in foil and store it in a freezer bag to use later.
T0 cook this kibbi, pour water in a wide pot. Put 1 tablespoon of salt and stir. Bring water to a boil and drop  kibbi  gently in the water. When it floats to top within 10 minutes, remove it from water with a large slotted spatula (chafcheer) . Put it on a plate and cut it in wedges like a pizza. Serve it with pickles, salads and scallions.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Iraqi Amba Sandwich عمبة بالصمون

Today I baked samoun Iraqi bread, and made a very popular Iraqi street food sandwich of Amba (pickled mango), boiled eggs and tomatoes.  You can try it using Ciabat Italian bread which tastes similar to Samoun Iraqi bread. We enjoy this sandwich in picnics too.
To make the sandwich, you need sliced tomatoes, sliced hard boild eggs and a jar of Indian pickled mangoes (Amba). Samoun bread resembles the form of a fish. Use a knife to cut one side of the bread and layer the eggs, tomatoes and pickled mangoes. For a vegetarian sandwich, replace the eggs with slices of boiled potatoes. Very delicious!
                     Shape the dough in a fish form on a floured surface. Leave it to rise for 2 hours covered with a kitchen towel. Bake it in 400 degrees F. for 25 minutes.                      

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cardamom Cookies-Shakar Lama شكر لمة

2 sticks butter, room temperature

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup slivered almonds for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and whip it with a mixer for 3 minutes. Add flour, ground cardamom, baking powder, and salt gradually. Use your hand to mix the cookie dough. Take a small piece of dough the size of walnut. Shape the cookie into a ball, and place an almond in the middle. Arrange on a pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes

Makes 2 dozen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Basturma-Iraqi Breakfast Sausage باسطرمة عراقية

This is a special sausage that we made during winter. These sausages were made by the Armenian community living in Iraq.  They hang it in the deli shops. We made it at home, and had the whole family  in the kitchen spending hours to prepare this delectable sausage. We ask the butcher to grind the lamb and beef together. Sometimes we used to grind the meat at home. We also purchased beef casings (Sandaweelat) from the butcher shop. We put the meat in a big bowl, add lots of chopped garlic, Arabian spice, Cumin and salt. We mixed it well and put it in the refrigerator for a day or two for the flavors to blend together.
Then we stuffed the casing with meat while pressing on the filling to remove air pockets. We tie the ends and lay the basturma on a table. We placed a board on top, and placed heavy bricks on top of the board to flatten the basturma. After a few hours, we hung the basturma in the cellar away from the sun, with the window open to dry the sausage. The drying process takes a week to 10 days. Then we store the basturma in the refrigerator. It makes a light dinner or a nice brunch. I made this basturma and hang it in the garage. Make sure to peel the casing off before frying it.
 I use a shortcut now. I prepare the filling and shape the meat into an oval and put them in freezer bags and store them in the freezer t o use whenever needed. Here is an easy recipe for basturma.
½ pound ground lamb
½ pound ground beef (80% lean)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arabian spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon oil for frying
Put all the above ingredients in a bowl except the oil. Knead the mixture for 5 minutes to make a soft paste. Cover in a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Remove from the refrigerator. Take half of the mixture in your hand and shape it into an oval. Place it in a freezer bag and make sure to remove the air from the bag. Place it on a flat surface in the freezer. When you need to use the basturma, take it out of the freezer the night before and place in the refrigerator. The next day, it will be half frozen, but easy to cut.
Heat oil in the pan and sauté the slices for five minutes on each side. Crack some eggs over and cover the pan for 2 minutes until the eggs are set. Sprinkle Arabian spice over the eggs and serve it with bread.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Date Syrup Halva- Halawat Dibis. حلاوة الدبس

Halva is a dessert that resembles fudge. We make halva using date syrup , and we  snack on it like candy. Serve it with coffee or as a snack between meals.

½ cup unsalted butter
1 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup water
1 cup date syrup
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup chopped pistachios
Melt the butter in a pan and add flour and salt. Sauté for 8 minutes until flour turns golden brown. Add cinnamon, cardamom and stir. Remove from heat.
In a separate pan bring the water to a boil and add the date syrup and sugar. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir vigorously on low heat until the mixture turns smooth and silky.
Pour the mixture onto a plate to a thickness of one inch and decorate with walnuts and pistachios. You can make individual pieces of halva. Take a small piece of the halva and roll it in your hand, and roll it in a bowl of chopped pistachios or walnuts. Store it in a tight container in the refrigerator. Note: If you do not have date syrup, you can use honey or maple syrup, but the flavor will not be the same.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Date Syrup or Date Molasses (Dibis Iraqi,Silan)

Iraq is a major producer of dates. Date syrup is canned and exported to all over the World. It is very nutritious natural sweetener. Iraqis use it in their cooking and baking. We usually purchase it in a jar from  Middle Eastern grocery stores.  You can make your own syrup too.
Iraqis pour the syrup in a bowl and drizzle tahini over it and they call it (Rashi wa Dibis). They stir it and spread it on bread like peanut butter and jelly. It is served for breakfast and as a snack during the day or with tea.
We drizzle date syrup over the cream ( qeemar) and eat it for breakfast. My mother used to make scrambled eggs and drizzle date syrup over them for breakfast.
Date Syrup with Tahini (Rashi wa Dibis)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sweet Sesame Rings-Kaak bil Simsim كعك بالسمسم

These are delicious cookies that go very well with coffee and tea.  They keep well for a few weeks. You can use any kind of flavoring, such as vanilla or ground cardamom.
Makes 60 cookies
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces butter ( 1 stick), at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2  cup milk
1 cup sesame seeds
1 egg for eggwash
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the flour in a bowl and add the dry ingredients and stir. Add the butter and oil to the flour and rub it in your hand to combine the oils. Add the milk and egg, and kneed it by hand to make soft dough.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Oil your hands to make it easy to form the dough. Take a piece of dough and roll it on a cutting board to make a rope. Bring the ends of the rope together to make a ring. Place on a baking sheet. Leave 1 inch space between the rings as they expand when baked.
Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds over the cookies. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cookies and place on a cooling rack. Store in a plastic container for a month.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Klecha Iraqi Cookies. كليجة بالتمر والجوز

These are traditional cookies that we make during the Holidays. We serve them to our guests with tea. I use the following ingredients when making a small batch of klecha. Makes 3 dozens
4 cups all purpose flour
½ cup butter or one stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4  cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil baking pans and set aside.
In a small bowl, put the yeast in warm wa­ter and cover to rise. Combine flour, nigella seeds, cardamom, ground fennel, salt, oil and butter, and rub it with your hands.
Add yeast and water. Knead the dough and add more water if needed. It depends on the flour absorbtion of liquids. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

Walnut filling:
1 cup walnuts, chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

In a bowl, mix walnuts, sugar, and cardamom and set aside.
 Take some of the dough and spread it on the work surface with a rolling pin. Cut circles using a cookie cut­ter or a glass. Put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the circle. Fold circle in half-moon shape. Crimp the edges. Ar­range on a pan. Brush with egg wash, and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Date Filling: Use 8-onces soft baking dates or Majdool dates. Cook dates with ¼ stick of butter. Add ground cardamom and cinnamon. Let the mixture cool before using. Cover a cutting board with plastic wrap, and spread the dates on the board using a rolling pin to make a thin sheet.
Roll out a piece of dough on a cutting board. Cover the top with a very thin layer of date mixture. Roll the dough like a jelly roll. Cut 1-inch wide, and arrange in the pan. Brush top with egg wash, and bake for 30 minutes. Put the cookies on cooling rack. Store them in a cookie container.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Summer Squash with Tomato Stew

For this recipe, you could substitute Summer squash for zucchini or use a combination of both.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium  yellow squash, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon Arabian Spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato sauce
1 cup water
In a deep pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions for 2 minutes. Add the squash, salt and seasonings and stir. Leave it to cook for 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes until the squash becomes tender.
Serve as a side dish or as a meal with rice.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup-Shorbat Shijar

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon Arabian spice or a pinch of (black pepper,allspice,cinnamon,nutmeg)
2 cups water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon tomato paste

Heat oil in a deep pan. Saute the squash in oil for 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic and season with salt and spice and cinnamon stick. Stir the mixture for 5 minutes. Add the water and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat until squash is tender. Check if it need more salt.
You could mash the squash with a spoon to thicken the soup.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spinach with Chickpeas Stew

Have you ever looked at the bag of frozen spinach and wondered what to do with it? Well, here is a fantastic and flavorful vegetarian recipe of a stew that you can eat with bread or with plain white rice. You can use any kind of canned beans for this recipe.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound frozen or fresh chopped spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arabian spice (combination of black pepper, cinnamon, allspice and cloves)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon ground dried lime (optional)
1 (15.5 ounce) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
In a deep pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions. Season with salt and spices. Spread the spinach on top of the onions and add water, and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste and lemon juice and dried lime and chickpeas, and stir. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve it in a soup bowl or a side dish.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Feta Cheese Omelet

I usually serve this omelet as a light dinner or a brunch. It is light and easy to prepare. You could use egg whites if you prefer.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
½ teaspoon dried mint, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add salt and pepper. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and pour the eggs in. Leave the eggs to set for 2 minutes on medium heat. Spread the feta cheese on top and cover the omelet for 3 minutes until set. Sprinkle parsley and mint over it.
Slide the omelet to a plate and decorate with a slice of fresh tomatoes and olives.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chicken Stew with Cranberries

I got the inspiration of the dish when I sampled a Persian chicken dish prepared with pomegranate syrup. 
I decided to cook this dish with the ingredients available in the American kitchen. It is a delicious sweet and sour hearty stew. 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion chopped, or sliced
1 pound skinless boneless chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup chopped almonds or walnuts
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup red seedless grapes
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon honey or molasses
Heat the oil in a deep pan, and sauté the onions.  Cut up the chicken into cubes and add them to the onions and stir. Season with salt, spices and add the cinnamon stick. Add the nuts and stir.
Add the cranberry juice, cranberries and grapes, and bring to a boil uncovered. Reduce heat and add the honey and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve it in a soup bowl with bread or over plain white rice.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Almond Cookies-Louzina. لوزينة

This a very simple, light and delicious cookie that taste wonderful with ground cardamom. You could use other flavoringns such as rosewater or vanilla.
For this recipe, you need blanched almonds, toasted or raw.  You can buy them ready blanched, but to blanch almonds, you can put 1 cup of almonds in a glass bowl. Add 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Place in the microwave oven for 5 minutes. Remove the bowl and drain the almonds in a colander.
Rub the almonds in your hands to remove the skin. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake in a 300 degrees F. oven for 8 minutes to dry, or leave them on a tray on the kitchen counter for 3 days to dry before storing.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2 cups almonds
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs (egg white only)
1 teaspoon ground cardamoms or 1 teaspoon rosewater

Put the almonds and sugar in a food processor and pulse until all almonds are ground. Put the mixture in a bowl, and add the baking powder and cardamom. Add the eg whites and stir with a spoon. It will make soft dough. Spoon the cookie dough on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper. Place a blanched almond on top of each cookie for decoration. Bake for 25 minutes.
Makes 2 dozens.
You can purchase almond flour from the grocery stores but it costs much less to grind it yourself.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fig Jam مربة التين

Every year, in mid August, I purchase a few pounds of figs to consume or make jam. I prefer the light colored figs like yellow or light purple. I do not chop the figs, but cook them whole. That way you can eat the whole candied fig as a piece of candy, on a toast, or serve it on top of vanilla ice cream; very delicious! Here is my easy recipe:
1 pound whole figs, rinsed
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
3 whole pods of cardamom
Juice of one lemon
Place the figs in a deep pot and sprinkle the sugar on top.  Put the pot on the burner on medium heat. When it starts to boil reduce the heat to low. Cook uncovered. Drop in the cardamom pods and pour the lemon juice and stir.
Make sure to skim off the foam that develops on top. Do not add any water. The figs will cook in their own juices. Leave them to cook for 45 -60 minutes until the juices reduce to syrup. Remove the pot from heat to cool. Arrange the figs in a sterilized mason jar and pour the syrup over. Seal it, and store in the refrigerator.  It will keep for a few months.
Note: When the syrup is light and watery, the jam will not keep long and will develop mold on top. Make sure to cook the jam long enough to reduce the juices to a thick syrup.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stuffed Grape Leaves-Vegetarian ورق عنب ملفوف ونباتية

Every family has its own stuffed grape leaves recipe. My mother always cooked it during Lent, but you can cook it and serve it at a room temperature as an appetizer or for picnics. It could last a few days in the refrigerator. 
If you are using fresh grape leaves from your garden, make sure to rinse them and put them in a bowl of hot water to wilt for 10 minutes. Drain them in the colander, and rinse them in cold water.
If you are using the grape leaves from a jar, remove leaves from the jar and rinse them and put in colander to drain.
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arabian spice (combination of allspice, cinnamon and black pepper)
1 medium tomato, chopped
½ cup chopped dill weed (optional)
½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup pine nuts
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup white rice
Juice of 2 lemons
In a skillet, heat oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Add salt and spices. Add chopped tomatoes, dill, and peas and stir. Add rice, pine nuts, raisins and tomato sauce and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (You can prepare filling the day before).
Remove the grape leaves from the jar, rinse them and put in a colander to drain. Arrange the leaves the top side down on the cutting board and spoon a tablespoon of the filling on the stem side of the leaf. Roll the leaf over the filling. Turn the sides of the leaf towards the center, and roll the leaf to the end.
Arrange in a deep pan. Pour 1 ½ cup of water and lemon juice over the grape leaves.  Place a heat proof plate on top of the leaves to keep them submerged while cooking. Bring to a boil covered, and reduce heat to a medium. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the rice grains are cooked.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bread on the Grill

I tried to bake bread on the gas grill when we lost electric power for a few days due to a storm. The result was excellent and decided to bake this bread early in the morning every weekend. I place the rolled out dough on a piece of foil and place the foil sheet on the preheated grill. You could preheat a pan on the grill and place the dough on the pan if you prefer.

You can bake this bread in a 450 degrees F. oven. If you have a gas oven, bake it on the bottom of the oven. For 3 minutes. When it puffs up, turn it to the other side and bake for 1 more minute.
Makes 8
3 cups all purpose bread flour (plus more for rolling)
1½ teaspoon salt
1 1/4  cup warm water (divided)

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl
Put the yeast in 1/4 cup of water and add sugar and stir. When the yeast starts to bubble, add the flour, salt and olive oil and stir. Add the water and kneed it by hand to make soft dough. Place it in a greased bowl and cover. Leave it in a warm place to rise for one hour. You could make the dough in a food processor or a mixer. I prefer to use my hands.

Preheat the gas grill to medium high.
Punch down the dough and divide into small balls the size of a small apple. Place these balls on a floured board and cover with a towel to rise for 30 more minutes.

Roll out the ball of dough on a floured surface to make a flat (6-inches) in diameter circle. Place on a floured board and cover with a kitchen towel for 15 minutes.

Place the rolled out dough on foil and lay it on top of the grill. Close the cover of the grill and check the bread after 5 minutes. Flip the bread to the other side and bake for 1 more minute. Remove from the grill and place on a wire rack to cool.

To make the Zaatar bread (Thyme bread), which is a Lebanese bread, drizzle olive oil over the flattened dough, and sprinkle zaatar mixture on top. Bake it as in the recipe above, but you should not flip it to the other side on the grill.

You can purchase the zaatar mixture from the Middle Eastern grocery store.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Arabic Coffee-Qahwa Arabiya القهوة العربية

Arabic coffee is also called Turkish coffee. It is usually very finely ground and sometimes we add a few pods of cardamom while grinding it to give it a very pleasing flavor and aroma. Traditionally, we used to buy the coffee beans, roast them and use a hand grinder (Dagerman) to grind the coffee beans. You can find ground Arabic coffee at Middle Eastern grocery stores or you can purchase the beans and grind them in the store grinder. You can buy dark roast, medium or a combination of beans according to your preference.
You need a special coffee pot (Dalla) to brew the coffee or use a small pot to brew it. There are different varieties of pots made with copper, brass, aluminum or stainless steel. They all work well on the stove. Special pots used by the Bedouins on a charcoal grill are used for making bitter coffee served during funerals, tribal meetings and coffee houses (Chia Khane). Coffee is served with a glass of water and a piece of candy or manna halva.
1 cup water
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1 teaspoon or more sugar
Pinch of ground cardamom (optional)
Pour tap water in the coffee pot (Dalla), and Place the coffee pot on the stove on a medium heat. When water comes to a boil, remove the pot to the side and add the sugar and coffee, and stir. Place the coffee pot on the stove and bring to a boil, and remove from heat. Return the pot again to the stove and bring the coffee to a boil. Do not leave the stove as it will overflow. Remove from heat and set aside. You will notice light color foam developed on the surface. Skim off the foam and pour a teaspoon in every demitasse (finjan) on the tray. Pour the coffee to top and serve.
Do not stir the coffee or add milk to it. Coffee grounds will settle in the bottom of the demitasse. When finished drinking, sometimes guests flip their cups on the saucers to allow the thick coffee ground to drip down. Then they wait for somebody to read their fortune for entertainment.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rice with Tomato Sauce-Red Rice

When we cook this type of rice, we top it with fried eggplant slices and pieces of chicken. We serve salad and pickles on the side. You could cook this rice with lamb broth and top it with stewing lamb and fried eggplants. In this recipe, I grilled the eggplants for a lighter version. We serve this dish as a whole meal.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups basmati rice
1 ½ cup chicken broth or water
½ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon (bahar-spice mixture of cinnamon, allspice, black pepper)
Heat oil in a pot and sauté the rice until rice grains are coated with oil. Add salt and spices and stir. Add the chicken stock and tomato sauce and bring to a boil half covered. When the liquid is almost absorbed, stir the rice and reduce heat to low and leave it to steam for 20 minutes covered.
Grilled eggplants
Slice the eggplants and sprinkle with salt. Put them in the colander to drain for 30 minutes. Pat them dry with paper towel. Put them in a bowl and drizzle vegetable oil over them. Place them on a sheet pan under the broiler for 7 minutes until toasted. Turn the slices to the other side, and broil them. Set them aside and sprinkle Bahar spice over the slices.
You can prepare the eggplants ahead and keep refrigerated. We traditionally cook the chicken and remove the skin and bones. You could use leftover chicken. Sauté the chicken in butter or oil, and set aside. Plate the rice and top it with the eggplant slices, and chicken pieces.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ground Beef and Eggs Omelet-Makhlama. مخلمة

This is a very filling omelet that you can prepare for a brunch or a light dinner. You can always prepare the meat mixture ahead of time and refrigerate. Reheat the meat and crack the eggs. You could scramble the eggs if you prefer.


1 tablespoon canola oil

½ pound ground lean chuck or lamb

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Arabian spice or black pepper

1 medium tomato, chopped

3-4 eggs

Heat oil in non-stick pan. Sauté the meat and add the onions. Season with salt and spices. Add the tomatoes and stir. When the meat mixture is cooked and tomatoes are soft, crack the eggs on the meat mixture and cover for 4 minutes until the eggs are set. Serve in a pita bread or bread on the side.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Iraqi Tea-Chai الشاي العراقي

The most popular brands of tea used in Iraq are Assam black tea, Ceylon Black tea, and other brands. They are dark and strong when brewed. Sometimes we add a stick of cinnamon to the teapot or a few pods of whole cardamom to falvor the tea.
There is other variety of teas that we serve in Iraq, and they are dried lime tea, and chamomile tea. Hibiscus tea is more popular in the South. These teas are used for medicinal purposes.
We usually consume tea throughout the day, and you can find tea stalls and vendors everywhere. We drink tea with milk in the morning for breakfast. Other times of the day, we drink it black.
You need a teapot, and a kettle with boiling water
2 teaspoons loose black tea or (Lipton loose tea)
2 cups boiling water
Granulated sugar, or sugar cubes
Put tea in the teapot and pour the hot water. Place the cover on top of the teapot. Cover the teapot with a towel to keep the teapot warm and steep for 10 minutes. We traditionally put the teapot on top of the kettle to steep.
To serve it, we put 1 teaspoon or more of sugar in the istikan, or tea cup. Pour tea to half full, and add boiling water to top of the cup. Stir the tea cup and drink. Be careful, the istikan can be very hot. We do not strain the tea as we pour it. Tea leaves settle to the bottom of the istikan.
Sometimes we serve sugar cubes on the side.
Note: we add boiling water to the tea when we pour tea in a cup to dilute it. Tea can be very strong, and gets bitter as it sits longer on top of the kettle.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spinach with Black Eyed Peas

For this recipe, you could use frozen spinach. You can use lemon juice or dried lime which you can find at Persian and Middle Eastern grocery stores.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (6-ounce) bag fresh spinach
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
Juice of ½ lemon or 1 teaspoon crushed dried lime

In a deep pan, sauté the onions and garlic in oil. Add salt and pepper and stir. Add the spinach, lemon juice and back eyed peas and stir. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve it with plain white rice or a side dish.
You can cook this dish with stewing lamb or beef. When the meat is cooked on top of the stove, follow the above recipe and add 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Serve it with rice.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Swiss chard Soup. شوربة السلق

For this recipe, you could add chopped carrots or chopped zucchini.

1 medium onion, chopped

4 large cloves of garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup cooked white rice

1 teaspoon salt

1 bunch of Swiss chard, washed and chopped

3 cups of water or broth

 Juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon dried mint

Heat oil in a deep pan, and sauté the onions and garlic for three minutes. Season with salt. Add the swiss chard, rice, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and mint. Simmer for ten more minutes.

Serve it with toasted bread.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bulgur with Mushrooms

 I listed Arabian spice in this recipe. It is called Seven Spices or Syrian Spice too. You can find it in the Middle Eastern grocery stores, or purchase it online from this website ( It is very aromatic and you can use it instead of plain ground black pepper.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup onions, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arabian Spice
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
½ sup water
1 ½ cup coarse bulgur (no.3 or 4)
In a pot, bring water to a boil and drop the bulgur. Turn off the heat and leave it in the hot water to soften for 10 minutes.
Pour the oil in another pot and sauté the onions. Add the mushrooms, and season with salt and spices. Stir for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked. Add the tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil.
Strain the bulgur in the colander, and add it to the mushroom. Stir until well coated. Cover, the pot and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce is absorbed by the bulgur. Check it needs more salt.
Serve it with chopped scallions, sliced pickles and tomatoes. It tastes even better at a room temperature.

Recipes for Lent

During this time of the year Christians observe Lent, and abstain from all animal, and dairy products. However, fish is allowed, and canned tuna and sardines are consumed.
Our meatless menu includes fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, jams and pickles, and a variety of breads, and halva.
The recipes are economical, delicious, and easy to prepare. You can enjoy them throughout the year.

Vegetarian Zucchini
You can use yellow squash for this recipe too.
4-5 zucchinis
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1 (8 oz can) tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp black pepper or Arabian spice
¼ cup olive oil
Rinse the zucchinis and place in a colander. Peel the zucchinis and slice them in ½ inch slices.
Heat the oil in a deep sauté pan. Add the onions and garlic and stir for 5 minutes. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the onions. Sprinkle the salt and spices.
Add a layer of zucchinis and pour the tomato sauce over it.
 Pour a cup of water over the zucchinis and bring to boil, covered.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the zucchinis are tender.
Serve with white plain rice.