Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the Menu: Iraqi Food

A little Iraqi Snacky

Maybe an ancient Mespotamian cookbook??
Somebody should really stop me with these bad puns and rhymes.  Apparently, I can't stop myself :) we are at my favorite part of the week - FOOD!  The cuisine of Iraq is very similar to most Middle Eastern countries, very healthy with olive oils, lots of legumes and grains, nuts and fruits.  They have a lot of exotic spices and interesting flavors.  I thought it was interesting that some of the ancient cuneiform (similar to heiroglyphics) tablets from over 6000 years ago had recipes on them!  I guess you could say that Iraq is the birthplace of cookbooks :)  In fact, both the national dish, Masgouf (bbq fish) and the national cookie, Kleicha , are recipes that are thousands of years old.  Why mess with something that's worked for millenia???  Both recipes looked good but it's been pouring rain here so we're not barbequeing fish, and the Kleich cookie recipe looks a little involved, so I found a simpler cookie.  Perfect to have with a cup of coffee or cocoa on a cold and blustery day. 

Kaak bil SimSim (Sweet Sesame Rings)

For the recipe you will need:
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t ground anise seeds
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 c) room temp
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 beaten egg for egg wash
1. Add flour and other dry ingredients to large bowl. Combine.
2. Add butter and oil and combine with hands.  Messy but fun :)
3.  Add milk and egg to the party and squish and knead until a soft dough is formed.
4. Line cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper.  Oil your hands a little, then take a small bit of dough and roll into rope shape.  Then turn rope shape into ring by pressing ends together. 

We had big ones, little ones, heart shaped ones, and a couple blobby ones- it was pretty fun!

5.  Brush the cookies with the beaten egg (which my daughter decided turned these cookies "healthy") and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  I kind of wish I left some plain because the kids didn't like the sesame seeds very much.
6.  Bake about 20 mins. in 350° oven.  Cool and enjoy.

Apparently these cookies will stay fresh for a long time if wrapped or put in container.  Cookies NEVER last a long time in this house so I can't testify to that.  My friend (who is Greek) said these looked like a cookie her mom makes every year at Easter time and another neighbor thought they were pretty tasty too.  They are not really very sweet and I liked the flavor from the anise but if you don't think you'd like that taste, I really think any flavor could be substituted and it would still be pretty yummy.  Hope you enjoy :)