The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
Purchase the new edition on Amazon

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.