This is blog introduces you to the authentic Iraqi Family cookbook that includes over 150 recipes.These recipes have been handed down through many generations,from grandmothers to mothers to daughters. I encourage you to try the recipes on the blog. The first edition was a Winner of GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARD 2007. The new cookbook is the WINNER OF 2012 GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARD FOR "BEST ARAB CUISINE COOKBOOK"in the USA. Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Have you thought of what you could do with leftover cooked rice? This is a traditional appetizer recipe that we make with boiled long grain rice, and we add saffron or turmeric to it while rice is boiling to give it a yellow color. We also add golden raisins and almonds to the filling. Sometimes, we add chopped parsley to the filling when cooled.
I was able to alter the recipe a little since I am using leftover rice, and the result was very delicious and successful.
3 cups cooked rice, leftover, room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ pond ground lamb or beef
½ cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Arabian spice (bahar)
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
Heat oil in a sauté pan, and add the meat. Cook the meat for 5 minutes and add the onions, salt and spices and stir. Lower the heat to simmer and cook until onions are soft. Add the pine nuts and set the meat filling aside to cool.
Put rice and one egg in a food processor and process for a few minutes until rice becomes a soft dough. If the rice is still hard, add the second egg and pulse to make nice smooth dough. If dough has a lot of moisture, add cornstarch to the dough and mix.
To form the kubba, or kibbi, have a small bowl with vegetable oil to wet your hand for shaping the bubba. Take a small piece of the dough the size of small egg. Roll it in your hands and make a hole in the middle to form a cup. Fill the hole with one teaspoon of the filling and seal it. Shape it like a football.
Heat 2 cups of oil in a small deep pot.Drop 4 kubba in oil, and fry for about 3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
Serve them with pickles. You can freeze them, and reheat them in the oven when needed to serve. For a vegetarian filling, saute onions and add peas and chopped mushrooms. Add salt and spices. Cool before filling the dough. Drain the filling from any liquid.
Halva is candy that resembles fudge.Growing up in Iraq, my mother made a variety
of halva, and we used to snack on it. We serve halva with a cup of Arabic
coffee too. In order to serve it with coffee, I decided to stuff pitted dates
with halva, and serve them as candy.
This halva is made with sugar syrup, but I prefer to use
honey. You can use any type of nuts. Walnuts and pistachios are preferred for
½ cup tahini
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ cup whole
½ cup toasted sesame seeds
Pout the tahini and honey into a bowl. Whip it for 3
minutes. Add cardamom, sesame and pistachios and stir with a wooden spoon.
Remove it from the bowl and plate it on a fruit dish. Decorate with pistachios.
You can refrigerate it and serve it when ready.
For the date halva candy, take one teaspoon of halva and
fill the pitted date. You can arrange the dates on a plate. When done, I decided to
arrange a few pieces in a foil container to give to friends.
This is my
mother’s recipe that she used to make very often to serve with afternoon tea.
You can use any type of cheese, but feta cheese is very close to the farmers
cheese we had.
simply a turnover that is savory or sweet filled with cheese, vegetables or
meat. You can use the same dough recipe to fill them with apricot or fig jam.
Traditionally, we use the following dough recipe, but for convenience, you
could use puff pastry or phyllo dough. You can fill the bourek and bake them or
freeze them and bake them when needed. We usually fry the bourek, but I prefer
to bake them, and serve them warm, or put them in a freezer bag, and when you
need to serve them, put them in a toaster oven for 10 minutes.
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, whisked
In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt and set aside.
Measure ½ cup of warm water, and add the sugar and yeast and stir. Set aside to
activate the yeast for 5 minutes
Add the oil and the yeast mixture to the flour and kneed it
by hand for 5 minutes. You could use a food processor for the dough. Add a few
tablespoons of water if you find the dough a little hard. (some flours absorb
more water). When the dough feels smooth put it in an oiled bowl, cover it with
a towel and leave it to rise for 30 minutes.
Prepare the Filling:
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg, whisked
1 teaspoon dry mint
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out the dough on a floured board. Use a glass or a wide
round cookie cutter to cut circles. Put one teaspoon of the filling in the
center of the circle. Fold the circle to make half moon. Crimp the edges by
twisting the edges, or use a fork to press down the edges to seal the
Arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and
brush the top with egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes.
I usually make date nut
balls and roll them in shredded coconuts or toasted sesame. I created this
recipe for Valentine’s Day and dipped the date nut balls in melted chocolate.The result was very tasty and elegant. You
can try it using any kind of nuts. I prefer walnuts with dates.
2 cups soft pitted cooking dates or Majdool
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped walnuts ½ cup toasted sesame seeds 1 teaspoon ground cardamom 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup dark chocolate, melted Melt butter in a pan and sauté the
dates for 2 minutes. Add toasted sesame seeds, walnuts, ground cardamom
and cinnamon. Stir using a wooden spoon to combine and make a soft ball.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Take a small ball of the mixture the
size of a cherry tomato, and roll it in your hands. Using
a bamboo skewer, dip the date balls in the melted chocolate, and arrange on a
tray lined with parchment paper. You can decorate the top with a piece of walnut,
or leave it plain. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve at a room temperature. Use them within 2 weeks, or store them
in a plastic container in the refrigerator.
You could use stewing beef for this recipe, but you need to cook it longer.
1 pound stewing lamb
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arabian spice-Bahar
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen peas
Heat oil in a pot and sauté the lamb for 5 minutes. Add
garlic, salt, cinnamon stick, spices and stir. Pour the tomato sauce and the
diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the water, and simmer
on medium heat covered for one hour until lamb is cooked.
Add the potatoes and peas, and add 1 more cup of water and
simmer until potatoes are soft and cooked. Check the sauce if it needs more
salt. Serve it with saffron rice and salad.
This is a very delicious and light dessert that we serve after a heavy meal. You can eat it for breakfast and top it with fruit if you prefer.
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon rosewater
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Bring one and a half cups of milk to a boil. Add the sugar and stir. Mix the cornstarch in ½ cup of milk and pour over the milk and sugar mixture. Keep stirring until it thickens. Remove from heat and add the rosewater and cardamom and stir. Pour pudding in small custard cups and decorate with pistachios.
This is a very delicious snack that we serve as an appetizer, light dinner or for picnics. We call it Shitfayat in Mosul dialect, but it is known as Irooq. You will need diced lamb or ground lamb. You can use beef if you prefer.
1 small onion chopped
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup scallions, chopped
¼ cup water
1 pound ground lean lamb
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Arabian spice (bahar-black pepper,cinnamon,allspice,cloves,cardamom)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, put all the above ingredients except the oil, and stir. It should have the consistency of thick batter. You could add more water if needed and stir.
Heat oil in nonstick pan. Take a tablespoon of the batter and drop it in oil. Spread the batter with a spoon, and leave it to cook on one side. Then turn it to the other side to cook until crispy. Remove from oil, and drain the fritters on paper towel. Continue with the rest of the batter. Do not crowd the pan. Fry three at a time. When cool, you can put them in freezer bag and freeze them, or serve them immediately with tomatoes and pickles.
Make sure to heat them in the oven before you serve them for a crispy bite, otherwise you can serve them at room temperature.