The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
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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.