T CUISINE OF IRAQ

T HE CUISINE OF IRAQ
AND OTHER
M IDDLE E ASTERN RECIPES
Safa Abdulla Toma
Sabria Farid Toma (Bibi)
T ABLE OF C ONTENTS
About the Authors
Introduction
About this Book and Middle Eastern Cooking
Ingredient Descriptions
Ingredient Cross-Reference Index
APPETIZERS, SALADS, CONDIMENTS, SPICES & FIRST COURSES
Baba Ghanouge
Egg rolls (1)(Boorek)
Egg rolls (2) (Shamboorek)
Stuffed Potato Patties (Potato Chop)
Potato Chop in a Pan
White Bean Salad
Greek Salad
Yogurt & Cucumber Dip (Tzadziki)
Hot-Pepper Paste (Harissa Paste)
Bread & Cucumber Salad (Fattoosh)
Falafel
Himmus Bitahini
Mini Meat Pizzas (Laham Be-Ajeen)
Flat Breakfast Sausage (Bastirma)
Tabuli
Preserved Lemons
Pickled Vegetables (Torshi)
Pickled Eggplant
Pickled Turnip
Vegetable Chutney (1)
Vegetable Chutney (2)
Muhamar
Middle Eastern Spice (Boharat)
Ras El Hanout Spice
RICE & GRAINS ENTRÉES
Basic Cooked Rice
Rice with Saffron, Almonds, & Raisins
Couscous
Rice & Cabbage
Mujaddara
Rice for Stuffing
Parda Pilaf (Parda Pilaw)
Rice with Fideo Pasta (Timman Be-Shaaria)
Rice with Fava Beans
Beriani
Chicken Turnover (Maklooba)
Fish Turnover (Imtabbak)
Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma)
Leg of Lamb (Koozy)
Lemon Chicken with Bulgur
SAUCES, TAGINES, BISQUES & OTHER MAIN ENTRÉES
Chicken with Ginger & Garbanzo Beans
Chicken with Eggs, Lemons, & Olives
Casablanca
Turnip Stew
Stuffed Zucchini (Koosa)
Chicken Curry
Chicken Bastilla
Chicken Tagine
Moroccan Duck with Tagine
Stuffed Eggplant (Sheikh Mehshee)
Maldhoom
Eggplant Imsakaa
Eggplant Madfoonah
Oven-Barbecued Fish with Traditional Stuffing
Fish Curry
Tagine of Fish (1)
Tagine of Fish (2)
Fish Stuffed with Eggs, Onions, & Preserved Lemons
Shish Kabob
Kibba (Kibbi)
Traditional Kibba Mousel
Pan Kibba
Small Kibba
Small Kibba with Eggplant
Kibbi Niyee
Cream of Rice Kibba (Kibba Hamidh)
Cream of Rice Kibba with Garbanzo Beans
Meatloaf with Bulgur (Arough Muslawia)
Meat Patties (Kufta)
Wheat Stew (Hareesah)
Red Lentil Soup (Adas Soup)
Harira Soup
Meatball Stew (Ras Asfoor)
Mrouziya Stew
Okra Stew (Bamia)
Patcha
Stuffed Tripe (Keebayat)
Pot Roast Stew (Daube)
Shebzy
Handmade Sausage with Garbanzo Beans (Bumbar)
Garbanzo Beans Casserole (Tishreeb Himmus)
Fava Beans Casserole (Tishreeb Bajilla)
DESSERTS
Stuffed Flaky Cookies (Klaichah)
Baklava
Zardah Bil Haleeb
Rice Pudding
Um Ali
Sesame Cookies (Semsemia)
Turkish Coffee
Mint Tea
A BOUT THE A UTHORS
S
abria Farid Toma, mother of three and grandmother of five, was born in Iraq in 1926. Her
father was a schoolteacher by profession and an artist, carpenter, and writer by hobby.
Being a schoolteacher in that part of the world meant many transfers between villages and
towns for him and his family and Sabria spent her childhood in several cities. During her teenage
years and adult life, Sabria finally settled in Basrah, Iraq, which is situated in the southernmost
part of Iraq and is its second largest city. It was in Basrah that Sabria met her husband, the father
of their three children, the late Dr. Yousif Abdulla.
Sabria was as talented as her father. A high school English teacher by profession, she enjoyed
painting, sewing and, most of all, cooking. Sabria cooked for her family for over 50 years.
During these years, she cooked traditional dishes, creating and developing variations of her own.
These variations not only improved the taste and texture of the food but also reduced the fat and
cholesterol content.
In 1977, Sabria and her family migrated to the United States of America, settling in California.
In the US, Sabria had to adjust to a new lifestyle; a different culture and she had to adapt her
cooking habits and techniques to this new culture. The variety of new and unfamiliar cooking
tools, ingredients, spices, and other factors made this transformation even more challenging. As a
result, Sabria adapted her recipes to the methods and ingredients that were readily available in
the area, and in the process was able to simplify the preparation of many previously complex
traditional dishes.
As time passed, Sabria’s three children married and left the home. Her husband passed away in
1993. She kept a strong bond with all of her children and grandchildren and the family would
assemble every Friday in Sabria’s house (with a few cousins, aunts, and other relatives as well)
to enjoy a traditionally cooked meal.
In the year 2000, Sabria was introduced to the world of computers. Using a Macintosh SE30
(moth-balled by one of her sons) then an iMac, she learned to use the word processor, joined a
writing class by mail, and started to write stories about her past. She received two certificates in
‘Writing to Sell Fiction.’
Painting was Sabria’s other passion; over 30 oil paintings adorned her house, most of which
reflected events, sites, and people from her past.
For years, Sabria and one of her sons, Safa, worked on publishing a cookbook that contained the
wonderful recipes she prepared for her family. They wanted to do this to preserve the cooking
tradition for many generations to come. It took a phenomenal effort to compile all the recipes
and translate the ingredients used from the traditional portions of pinches and heaps into
recognized measures of teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups. After the recipes were entered into the
computer, every single one had to undergo the painstaking task of editing and tweaking to be as
complete as possible. As the Internet and the World Wide Web became popular, it was obvious
that putting the book online would reach a larger distribution base. This book is an abbreviated
version of the full copy available for sale on Amazon’s Kindle®. In the Kindle® version, you’ll
find all of the recipes listed in the Table of Contents, above.
Sabria passed away in December of 2003. She will live in us forever.
Safa would like to hear from you. He wants to know if you have something in common, or if you
have a word of encouragement, support, or constructive criticism about this cookbook, or related
topics. Please feel free to send an e-mail message to [email protected] Please understand
that Safa cannot reply to all messages.
I NTRODUCTION
I
t pleases me to introduce you to the tasty and joyful experience of Middle Eastern cooking.
The history, location, and fertility of the land of Mesopotamia (currently Iraq) encouraged
the creation of a tremendous variety of dishes. Some are distinctive to that region while
others are imported from all around the area and parts of Europe.
After five decades of cooking for her family, my mother, Sabria Farid Toma, has opened up her
cooking to you. Some recipes have been handed down unchanged for generations; others have
been changed over the years to suit our health-conscious times. For example, I eliminate frying
whenever possible, use vegetable oil instead of saturated fats, and incorporate leaner meats.
My mother and I have cooked these authentic foods in the US for over 20 years now and we
spent several years compiling and documenting these recipes to be able to share them with our
relatives, countrymen, and all cooks who love Middle Eastern cuisine. We don’t use any out-ofthe-ordinary ingredients; everything can be obtained at supermarkets, local import stores, healthfood stores or Middle Eastern food stores.
Middle Eastern dishes are delightfully aromatic and full of flavor and texture. The spices used in
each dish add a distinctive taste that can be matched by no other. Each dish is a symphony of
goodness: protein, fiber, vitamins, and taste. Go ahead – cook a Middle Eastern meal. Enjoy
yourself, excite your senses, and do it in good health.
Unlike most other cookbooks, this one encourages you to modify the recipes to suit your taste:
Increase or reduce the seasoning to your taste, eliminate an ingredient if you do not like it or add
more if you do. Most recipes in this book are minor variations of age-old recipes that have been
artfully modified to suit the modern taste. So go ahead, experiment and create your own local
variation and share it with pride. Also, I want you to share your ideas about this book with me.
Please e-mail your comments, ideas, results of recipes, proposed corrections, or whatever you
think is appropriate to [email protected] Thanks.
Safa Abdulla Toma
A BOUT THIS B OOK AND M IDDLE E ASTERN C OOKING
I
n order to make this book easy to read and use, I have included the following unique
features. Please read them and become familiar with them, as they will help make your
experience with this book a joyful one.
List of Ingredients: At the beginning of every recipe you will find the list of ingredients used.
The ingredients in the list are arranged in the same order that they are used in the recipe. You
will sometimes find an ingredient listed twice because it is required to be used in two different
steps in the preparation, so follow the instructions, and add each ingredient as it appears and is
required. In addition to the list of ingredients, you may find a descriptive paragraph that refers to
similar recipes or provides additional information.
Recipe Instructions: The recipe instructions have been broken down into paragraphs in which
you will find certain words that have been highlighted in either bold or italics.
Bold: The ingredients are printed in bold as they appear in the body of the recipe. For example:
“Slice eggplants lengthwise into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices.” You will notice that the ingredient
appears in bold only the first time it is mentioned (unless it is used twice).
Italics: The time required for cooking is italicized. For example: “Cook covered for 30 minutes.”
These features allow you to simply glance at the recipe and find the variable in question.
Most ingredients used in the recipes of this book are common and available in ordinary
supermarkets. However, a few are not so common and can only be found in places such as
health-food stores and Middle Eastern (including East Indian) stores. In the Ingredients
Description and Cross-Reference Index section, you can find a list of these ingredients, some
descriptions of them, and ideas for places to find them.
I NGREDIENT D ESCRIPTIONS
M
ost ingredients used in the recipes of this book are common and available in ordinary
supermarkets, however, a few can be found only in places such as health-food stores
and Middle Eastern (including East Indian) stores. Below is a list of these ingredients,
some descriptions of them, and where to find them. The name in parentheses following the
English name is the Arabic pronunciation.
Bulgur (Birghil):
Also known as cracked wheat. Bulgur comes in three sizes: Course, medium, and fine. The fine
variety is used in this book as the ingredient for recipes such as Tabuli and Kibba. Bulgur is
sold in bulk at health-food stores and specialty Middle Eastern stores. The large-size grain
variety of bulgur is sold in boxes in the grains or cereal isles of some supermarkets.
Cardamom (Hale):
This spice is a common ingredient in recipes from the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Whole
cardamom seeds are available in Middle Eastern stores. Due to an increase in its popularity,
ground cardamom is now available in the spice section of some supermarkets.
Curry (Karry):
This spice is a ground mixture of many different spices. Therefore, different brands will taste
different. A few years ago I discovered curry paste at the local Middle Eastern Store and I highly
recommend the paste variety over the powder. Curry is now available in most supermarkets and
it is also available in specialty and Middle Eastern stores. However, the variety you find in the
Middle Eastern stores may be spicier and stronger tasting than the supermarket variety.
Fava Beans (Bajilla):
This bean variety can be found in health-food and Middle Eastern stores in a dehydrated or
canned form. Fresh fava beans can sometimes be found in supermarkets during the spring
season.
Filo Pastry:
These thin sheets of dough are mostly used to make the famous dessert Baklava. They are
available in boxes in most supermarkets or Middle Eastern stores.
Middle Eastern Spice (Boharat):
This popular spice is made from blending and grinding several common spices. It is not available
in stores, however, the recipe to blend this spice is included under the recipe Middle Eastern
Spice in this book.
Oman Lemon (Noomy Basrah):
A variety of the lime family, this plant is unique to the Middle East region. It looks like a small,
brown, dehydrated lime and has a strong, tangy aroma. It can be found in Middle Eastern stores
under a variety of names, such as Basrah lemon or Oman lemon. Sometimes you find them in
plastic bags without a label!
Pita Bread:
This variety of bread has become very popular in the US. Middle Eastern people eat them with
meals as well as using them for sandwiches. They are available in supermarkets, health-food
stores, and Middle Eastern stores.
Ras El Hanout:
This popular Moroccan spice is made by blending and grinding several common spices. It is not
available in stores, however, the recipe to blend this spice is included under the recipe Ras El
Hanout Spice in this book.
Rose Water (My Warid):
This is aromatic water that contains the extract of certain species of roses. It is available in
Middle Eastern stores in small bottles.
Saffron (Zaafaran):
Saffron is the deep-orange, aromatic, dried stigmas of a purple-flowered crocus. It is used to
color and flavor foods such as rice. Saffron is very expensive and is therefore sold in small
quantities. It can be found in most health-food and Middle Eastern stores and in some
supermarkets.
Tahini (Rashi):
This tan-colored substance, made from sesame seeds, is thick in consistency. The seeds are first
toasted and then ground. Because no emulsifiers are used, the Tahini will separate with time.
This is normal so just stir before using. Its most popular use is in the Himmus Bitahini and
Baba Ghanouge dishes. It can be found in health-food stores, Middle Eastern stores, and some
supermarkets.
Tamarind (Tamir Hind):
This tangy tropical fruit is available in fruit packs or paste. The paste is easier to use because
most of the fruit skins have been removed, and therefore it dissolves easily in water. Tamarind is
available in health-food stores and Middle Eastern stores.
I NGREDIENT C ROSS -R EFERENCE I NDEX
This is an alphabetized cross-reference index between the Arabic names of some ingredients and
their English names as they appear in this book.
Arabic Name
Bajilla
Birghil
Boharat
Darseen
Filfil ahmar
Filfil hiloo
Habbat hilwa
Habbat soda
Hale
Himmus
Jose boa
Kammoon
Karry
Kizbarah
Kurkum
Maadanose
My warid
Naanaa
Noomy basrah
Rashi
Simmak
Tamir hind
Zaafaran
Zaatar
English Name
Fava beans
Bulgur
Middle Eastern Spice
Cinnamon
Cayenne pepper
Paprika
Aniseed
Black caraway
Cardamom
Garbanzo beans
Nutmeg
Cumin
Curry
Coriander
Turmeric
Parsley
Rose water
Mint
Oman lemon
Tahini
Sumac
Tamarind
Saffron
Thyme
English Name
Aniseed
Black caraway
Bulgur
Cardamom
Cayenne pepper
Cinnamon
Coriander
Cumin
Curry
Fava beans
Garbanzo beans
Middle Eastern Spice
Mint
Nutmeg
Oman lemon
Paprika
Parsley
Rose water
Saffron
Sumac
Tahini
Tamarind
Thyme
Turmeric
Arabic Name
Habbat hilwa
Habbat soda
Birghil
Hale
Filfil ahmar
Darseen
Kizbarah
Kammoon
Karry
Bajilla
Himmus
Boharat
Naanaa
Jose Boa
Noomy basrah
Filfil hiloo
Maadanose
My warid
Zaafaran
Simmak
Rashi
Tamir hind
Zaatar
Kurkum