Monday, August 10, 2009

Our August Challenge is here - Representing the Iraqi Cuisine

From now on , we will post our monthly challenge on this blog as well, giving the chance to all our readers and followers, bloggers and non bloggers who are interested to learn how to cook Middle Eastern Food, and like to try our dishes, this is your chance... you can cook with us the challenge , and post it on your blogs on the 30th of every month. For non blogger you can send me the photos of the challenge and I will post it in the public Walima Club.

ur August Challenge is here - Representing the Iraqi Cuisine
Iraqi cuisine or Mesopotamian cuisine is Iraq's traditional cuisine developed since antiquity in MeMesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, Assyria). It is considered one of the oldest kitchens. As Baghdad became the centre of the Abbasid Caliphate during the Islamic Golden Age, Muslims and other scholars from many parts of the world came to visit, live and study in Iraq, which gave the Iraqi cuisine new twists to its food. This is most commonly seen in the greater use of spices (e.g. Saffron) used in the Iraqi cuisine in comparison to other Arab cuisines. Iraqi cuisine has absorbed influences from all the neighboring countries and has much in common with Levantine, Persian, and Turkish cuisines. With the Ottoman rule of Iraq, influences of Turkish cuisine also became incorporated into Iraqi recipes (and vice versa). Furthermore, as the rest of Iraqi history, the Iraqi cuisine has been deeply influenced by its fertile land between its two rivers Euphrates and Tigris.[1] This influence is seen in Iraq's national dishes.

the savoury dish is called Lissan Al Kadi - Eggplant wrapped Meat A literal translation: "Tongue of the Judge"Makes about 20 pieces


2 large eggplants , 1/2 - 1 cup corn oil (if frying eggplant)
Stuffing: 2 lbs. Lean ground meat, 1 medium onion (1 cup) finely minced, 1 tsp salt,1/4 tsp black pepper
Sauce: 2 tbsp corn oil, 1 large onion diced, 1 large tomato sliced (optional), 1 large tomato peeled and chopped, 14 oz. tomato sauce, 1 cup beef or chicken stock, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 tsp salt,1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp turmeric.


Peel eggplant, trim off the top and bottom. Stand eggplant up on cutting board and slice vertically, 1/8" thin. Sprinkle generously with salt, place in a strainer for about 1 hour. Rinse off the salt and strain eggplant to dry. Heat about 4 tbsp corn oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant slices in batches, turning once to brown both sides. Be careful not to burn. Add more oil as needed. Drain cooked eggplant slices on paper towels. Low fat alternative: Place eggplant slices on baking sheets lined with foil and brushed with corn oil. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes until brown, turning the eggplant halfway. Mix together the ground meat, onion, salt and pepper. Divide the meat into sausage shaped portions 1" thick and 2" long. Place a portion of the meat stuffing at one end of an eggplant slice and begin wrapping the eggplant around it. Place the rolls in a baking dish and layer the tomato slices on top (optional). In a saucepan heat 2 tbsp oil and saute the diced onions. When soft add the chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper and turmeric. Add tomato sauce, beef or chicken stock and lemon juice to taste. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Pour the sauce over the rolls in the baking dish, cover with aluminum paper and bake for 1 hour (or until done) at 450 degrees.

For dessert I choose two options ,as I've seen some of you have made the Cardamom Cookies before.

KURAT Al TAMIR - (Date Sesame Balls)

1 pound soft dates
1 cup walnuts
1 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons tahini
½ teaspoon cardamom/cinnamon or both

Add dates, ½ cup sesame seeds, and tahini in the food processor. Pulse and add the walnuts and spices; pulse again. Take the mixture out and make small balls and roll them in toasted sesame or shredded coconuts.

Cardamom Cookies - Shakar Lama ( Made these and they came very good)

3 sticks butter
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk (optional)
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2tsp. salt
1/3 cup slivered almonds


eat the butter in a bowl for 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat the mixture until becomes light in color. Add flour, cardamom and salt gradually. Use your hand to mix the cookie dough. Take a small piece of dough the size of walnut. Shape the cookie and place and almond in the middle. Arrange on a tray with parchment paper or siltpad. Bake for 20 minutes in 350 degree oven. Makes around 2 dozens Posting on the August 30th , 2009 appreciate your commitment and support to the Walima Club. and welcome again to all our new members....