Menu: Iraq

Let’s be real. If you live in my part of the world it’s hot in the summer. Really hot. Most days, the thermometer reads 100F before noon. So, instead of making our air conditioners work harder than they have to, let’s avoid the stove. Completely.

Deal?

While it sounds difficult, it’s really rather simple. We can just throw together an Iraqi mezze. This is the Middle Eastern equivalent to tapas, in many ways – many small dishes. Mezze can start off a big banquet, or it can provide the main sustenance for a light meal. For the most part, it is made up of an assortment of refreshing salads, dips, and other small plates. Count me in.

What sounds good to you?

Grilled Whole Wheat Pita Bread [Recipe]
Spend a few minutes banging together this healthy dough and, after one rise, you’ll have the softest, best grilled pita. Ever.

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper Spread) [Recipe]
An alluring, sweet blend of roasted red peppers, walnuts, garlic, cumin, and pomegranate syrup. Perfect to dip that homemade pita bread in.

Tabbouleh [Recipe]
Tangy, tart parsley salad, perked up with fresh lemon juice, tomatoes, mint, and green onion.

Pistachio Date Balls (Mersu) [Recipe]
An ancient recipe – dating back to Babylonian times – that lives on today. Easy to make, pure, sweet, and full of fiber – no wonder the recipe has survived for millenia.

*All recipes and the meal review will be posted by Monday morning.

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Comments

  1. elisa waller says:

    ooo…tabbouleh (sometimes spelled tabbouli) ….aaahhhh…..! I like that salad very much…! <3

  2. Tabbouleh is the pride and joy of lebanese folks; the Iraqis have several fantastic dishes, one of which is masgoof, a fish grilled by the shore of the Euphrates. I took a memorable trip to Iraq in the seventies, stayed in a reed house in the Mrash lands and if interested, published a post on it called “batata sharp” after an Iraqi dish of stuffed potatoes. Iraq is a fascinating country full of treasures (other than OIL) and one day, it will find its splendor again.

    • A Mesopotamian says:

      Nice website. I agree with you about the tabouli. Masgoof may be a bit difficult to prepare. Batata sharp is not so hard – it’s easier to prepare than kibbe hammoud. My Iraqi relatives make batata sharp very similarly to your recipe (fried), but they add raisins to the meat filling/stuffing, instead of tomato. And, we use the same spice mixture for this recipe as we use for kibbe hammoud.

  3. Linda Wilson says:

    My favorite restaurant ever was a place in Scottsdale, AZ called Shahrzad Mediterranean Grill. The owner was Iraqi, and the best cook ever, better than Gramma! Unfortunately, he was sent back to Iraq in 2006 when his visa expired. His customers missed him terribly!

    Lunch was a buffet, and although I’m not a vegetarian, I rarely got to the meat dishes. I loved the salad made with garbanzos, tomato, cucumber and lemon; the rosewater rice pudding that almost brought tears to my eyes; the eggplant and zucchini stuffed with rice and cooked in a tomato sauce; the orange rice; and even the brussels sprouts cooked in tomato, a first for me! With Middle Eastern music playing in the background and pictures and knicknacks spread around, it was like a little vacation in the middle of the workday.

    One day as I was filling my plate, the owner came out with another dish and said jokingly, “Who’s been eating all my food?” I stood there with a serving spoon and said, “I don’t know!” I hope he’s safe and well!

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