Iraq (Asia) – 7 November 2021

Iraq is located in the continent of Asia. It has Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and part of Iran to the north, Iran to the northeast and east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria to the west.

The capital is Baghdad.

The official languages are Arabic and Kurdish.

The climate has hot and arid lowlands. They have summer and winter. Summer is from May to October, with temperatures ranging from 95 to 123F. Winter is from November to April, with temperatures ranging from 10 to 60F. This is dependent where in the country you reside.

The staples are leeks, onions, lentils, wheat, barley, lamb, rice, yogurt, beef, chicken, dates, fish, garlic, and so much more. Pork is forbidden to eat (http://www.foodbycountry.com/Germany-to-Japan/Iraq.html).

https://www.britannica.com/place/Iraq

IRAQI KABOB (https://www.yummly.com/recipe/Iraqi-Kabob-9025106):

  • 5 lbs. ground beef
  • ½ bundle of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sumac (for added freshness to the kabob)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the meat, parsley, tomato, onion, salt, and pepper. As you mix the meat, be sure not to press, or mush the meat. You want to slowly crumble the meat with your fingers to incorporate the meat and vegetables. If you over mix the meat, it loses the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness once it is cooked.
  2. Using a long metal skewer, grab about a quarter of meat and place it on the skewer.
  3. Quickly press (or mush) the meat together, while elongating it along the skewer. I’d say that each kabob should be around six to seven inches.
  4. Once the kabob is formed, slowly slide the meat off the skewer and onto a platter. Repeat until you have used all of the meat.
  5. When you have finished making all of the kabobs, heat the grill to about 400F.
  6. Cook the kabobs for about four minutes on each side. That’ll give you kabobs that are medium. You definitely do not want to overcook your meat (well-done meat is too dry for kabob).
  7. As the kabobs come off the grill, sprinkle generously with sumac. The sumac adds a wonderful tart freshness to the meat.
  8. Serve the kabobs with sliced tomatoes, parsley, and fresh bread.
  9. Enjoy!!
Here are my Iraqi Kabobs and Leavened Lavash! Great combination!

LEAVENED LAVASH (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNT9LVCMoP8):

  •  C lukewarm water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 1-3/4 C + 2 TBSP flour, sifted (high protein flours work better. Sorghum, Teff, Chickpea, Almond, Oat, Quinoa or Buckwheat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Put the lukewarm water in a large bowl and add the sugar and yeast. Mix to dissolve. Set aside.
  2. Add the sifted flour to the water mixture.
  3. Add the salt.
  4. Mix to combine the flour, salt, and water yeast mixture until you form a dough.
  5. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and no more sticky.
  6. Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  7. After it has rested, form it into a ball and divide it into 6-8 equal pieces.
  8. Shape each piece into a ball.
  9. Lightly flour the top of each ball.
  10. Cover with a cloth and let them rise for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  11. Flour your working surface and take one of the doughs, keeping the rest covered. Gently flatten the dough ball and roll into a rough circle shape (you can also roll them into long elliptic shapes).
  12. Shake off the excess flour.
  13. It is now ready to bake.
  14. Over high heat in a large pan or an over-turned wok, place the dough when the pan is hot.
  15. Cook for 25-30 seconds, then flip it over, and cook the other side for 25-30 seconds.
  16. To soften them, transfer to a pan with a lid, and keep covered to create steam (you can also spray water to make them extra soft).
  17. Prepare the next ball and repeat the above only doing one ball at a time.
  18. Do not stack uncooked doughs on top of each other or they may stick together.
  19. Once all the dough is cooked, you can then put the kabob inside, garnish it with onions, or whatever you like, roll it up and enjoy!!
Here is the Leavened Lavash. Pretty easy to make. I used all-purpose flour, but next time may try Chickpea Flour.

KLEICHA (Iraqi Date Cookies) (https://www.carolinescooking.com/kleicha-iraqi-date-cookies/):   

For the dough:

  • 1-1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamon
  • ½ C milk, warmed
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried instant yeast
  • 6 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  1. Mix the flour, salt, cumin and cardamon.
  2. Add the sugar and yeast to the walm milk, stir then leave it around 5 minutes to activate.
  3. After 5 minutes, add the milk mixture along with the melted coconut oil to the flour mixture. Stir well then tip onto a surface and knead a couple of minutes. It will feel a little greasy, do not worry. Put the dough in a bowl, cover and leave to rise in a draught-free place for approx. 30 minutes.

For the filling:

  • 1 C dried dates, without stones, fine pieces
  • ½ tsp ground cardamon
  • ½ tsp ground fennel seeds
  • ½ TBSP coconut oil
  • 3 TBSP water (approx.)
  1. Put the dates, cardamom, fennel seeds and coconut oil in a small pan and warm over a medium-low heat until the dates soften, and the mixture starts to stick together as a bit of a ball. Add some water to thin it to a jam-like consistency, a tablespoon at a time as it will depend on how soft the dates were.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Lay a layer of cling wrap/film or parchment on you work surface and line a baking sheet with a cookie sheet or parchment.
  4. Tip the dough onto the lined work surface and roll the dough into a rectangle, around 1-1/2 times as long as it is wide and approx. ¼”/6mm thick. Dab the date filling onto the top and spread all over the dough leaving a strip without any on the two shorter ends.
  5. Lifting the cling wrap/film or parchment to help you, roll from one of the short ends and form a roll. Finish by having the other end on the bottom so it seals together.
  6. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the roll into slices, either approx. 1”/2.5cm thick or thinner, as you prefer. Carefully transfer the slices to the baking sheet, standing on end it thicker, squashing slightly, or else laying flat if thinner.
  7. Bake for approx. 15 minutes until lightly brown. Delicious served warm from the oven, but also good cold.
Here is how my Kleicha turned out. I really loved the flavors in this dessert!!!

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