The Iraqi Table

Staples from the land of Tigris and Euphrates

Breakfast

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Falafel

Unlike other varieties in the Middle East, the Iraqi version of this street food staple has a hearty green finish owing to the use of broad beans and lots of herbs in the batter.

The patties are popularly served in paper cones, making them ideal for snacking while enjoying a stroll in the city streets, but others without the same luxury of time tend to grab a falafel sandwich to go – a quick way to enjoy their fix of freshly fried fritters, nestled between Iraqi sammoun bread and layered with vegetables, fresh herbs and pickled mangoes (amba).

Nowhere is this more evident than the lunchtime rush at bustling falafel shops in Baghdad’s business districts. Here, queues of customers line up at their local vendor – usually a nondescript building that will never make the final cut in any fancy travel guide – for a takeaway wrap customised with toppings of their choice. Tomatoes: yes. Parsley: maybe. Amba or jajeek dip: always.

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Lunch

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Khubz laham

Perfect as an afternoon snack with tea or as a hearty breakfast, khubz laham (herbed meat bread) might be considered the Iraqi counterpart for pizza, providing a nourishing combination of fresh bread, meat and vegetables.

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Dinner

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Temman kurdee

This recipe for Kurdish sour rice relies heavily on lemon juice (half a cup to be precise) to give it its signature sour taste. However, convention suggests that because of the historical scarcity of citrus fruits in northern Iraq, the lovely acidic flavour was provided through the substitute use of sumac – a sprinkling of the coarse velvety red spice imparting a similarly tart taste.

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iraqi-table-3d2The Iraqi Table by Raghad Al Safi

Published by Motivate. Copies are available at all leading bookstores in the UAE including Book World at The Dubai Mall, Magrudy’s and various Borders bookstores, as well as selected shops across the Emirates. For more info, visit booksarabia.com

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