Most people don't know that I'm Arab American unless I tell them. I was born and raised in America, and my parents immigrated from Iraq in the 80's. I honestly don't remember eating a lot of Iraqi dishes with my parents, but my Nana used to cook all the time. As an adult, I have tried making some dishes, but there are a lot that I still haven't made. I've also included a spotify player for Kadim AlSahir, a well known Iraqi composer and singer. He is also a judge on the Voice Arabia.
The first two dishes are actually desserts, and I've never made them before. They are Basboosa and Kunafa! Yep, I named my cats after desserts. Basboosa is a sweet pastry cake made with semolina flour. They usually have pistachios or walnuts on them. It's dense and sweet. Kunafa is also sweet, but made with angel hair pasta and cheese. Sometimes it is orange, and sometime it is yellow. I prefer the yellow one. I don't think I would ever attempt to make these. When I was visiting my parents in Abu Dhabi, it was really easy to buy frozen Kunafa you can heat in the oven. I wish we had some here!
Shorbat Addas is one of my favorite comfort foods. I always think of home when I eat it. It is actually vegan! A simple lentil soup with vegetable stock or water (sometimes I use chicken stock for extra protein), angel hair pasta, curry, turmeric, and salt and pepper. I also add finely chopped onion and minced garlic. Before you add the pasta, mash the lentils once cooked so that it is extra creamy.
Dolma is one of the more tedious dishes. It is typically stuffed grape leaves with minced meat, rice, and seasonings. It's cooked over a stove top, and then flipped over onto a plate. My favorite dolma is non meat with zucchini, potatoes, and onions. I'm not a big fan of tomato and grape leaf dolma. I've found two recipes that I like and I'm going to try mixing them together.
This took THREE hours. And I wasn't even done. It was extremely tedious and I got very frustrated with it. I ended up making chicken nuggets and fries since I was so hungry. I tried it the next day and eveything was undercooked, even though I followed the first recipe for the timing. I am so disappointed. I ended up putting in the slow cooker for about 6 hours and it was better.
Timen bagila is rice with lima beans and dill. It's dry, so I eat it with Greek yogurt. The recipe below was really good. This was my first time making it and it turned out really well! I will definitely make this again. Also, if you don't add yogurt it's vegan! I don't intentionally make these vegan. I don't eat a lot of meat and I thought these recipes were just vegetarian.
I've made other dishes as well, but I really love Shorbat Addas and Timen Bagila. I hope you've enjoyed reading about this food. I truly miss going out to eat it with ease. Living in San Marcos is great, but this is one of the cons about living in a small town.