IRAQ

The three stripes are composed of the colours of Arab Liberation and the central script reads takbir “‘Allahu akbar‘God is the greatest'”.
COUNTRY IRAQ
Dishes Khoresh Badjeman (vegan)
Time1 hour 
Effort4/10 
Rough cost£4 
COUNTRYIRAQ 
Capital Baghdad
Population40,222,503 (36th largest) 
Land mass438,317 km2 (58th largest) 
LanguagesArabic, Kurdish 
Religion95% Islam  

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Iraq is a Western Asian country which is home to a diverse mix of ethnic groups and religions. The nation has been named the ‘cradle of civilisation’ as Iraq was the location of one of the world’s earliest civilisations – the Sumerian civilisation in the ancient region of Mesopotamia – which emerged during the Chalcolithic and early Bronze Ages (5th – 6th millenium AD). Indeed, Iraq has been the successive seat of several significant historical dynasties.

Thanks to this rich history, Iraqi cuisine has been traced back to 10,000 years ago from recipe tablets (essentially the first cookbook!) found in ancient temple ruins. Classic ingredients of Iraqi cuisine include vegetables like aubergine, tomatoes, okra, onion, and chilli, cereals and pulses, and lemons! Lamb and chicken are served for special meaty occasions.

Bridget made Khoresh (stew) Badjeman (aubergine) which is a soft aubergine stew in thick tomato sauce. This dish is traditionally made with chunks of beef but feel free to leave these out for a tasty vegan version! Mwara is going to attempt some Iraqi cookies – kleicha – just in time for Christmas day!

RECIPES

Khoresh Badjeman (vegan)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • SERVE: chopped parsley

METHOD

  1. Prepare the aubergines by peeling them and slicing them into long matchsticks. Place the sticks in a bowl of salted water and let them soak for 20 minutes. Now cube the sticks into nice bite-sized chunks.
  2. Next heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat and sauté the onions for 3 minutes. Then add in the garlic and tumeric and stir. Add the aubergine chunks and fry everything together for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add into the pan the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, lemon juice and water. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer with the lid slightly ajar for 15-20 minutes.
  4. When the aubergine is soft and cooked, serve up the stew with some fresh saffron rice and parsley on top. YUM!

Shukran lak and see you in Ireland! M + B x

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