Monday, March 26, 2012
, which brings to mind the English name for okra, ‘lady’s fingers,’ and Iraqi vernacular for okra banya.
Today, okra is a very popular vegetable in Iraq. It is exclusively used for making margat bamya (okra stew). No spices are used in preparing it, and yet, it will come out wonderfully delicious. I think what puts off many people, who did not grow up eating it, from dealing with it is the sticky substance that comes out when it is cut open. The traditional Iraqi way to get rid of most of the slime is to cut off both ends of the okra, making sure some of the holes show, and then wash it under running water for a long time. I find this tedious and time consuming. A better way to deal with it is to cut off both ends making sure some of the holes show, wash it briefly, and then boil it briefly for no more than 5 minutes (it should still look vibrantly green). Strain it and use it immediately, or let it cool off, and freeze it for future use. I usually buy a whole box of fresh okra, prepare it this way and keep it in the freezer. Very convenient.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Spicy Dried-Plum Cake
كيكة العنجاص المجفف
or dried plum as some marketers would prefer to call it thee days, is s
nd by the way, for the record, the first cakes in history were baked in the ovens of the Sumerians in ancient Iraq more than 5,000 years ago. We know this from some excavated records, such as the proverb in which the husband (?) protests, “In my budget there is no (place for any) one to bake cakes!” Or when they brag about the superiority of their cuisine as they criticize the way the Bedouin of the western desert took their food, they said that if you gave them flour, eggs and honey for a cake they would not know what to do with them. Besides, some cuneiform texts even give the proportions in which the ingredients were to be mixed for fruit cakes made to go to the temple and the palace.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Kleicha and Ma’moul Cookies: What’s in a Name?
|Photos Nawal Nasrallah|
Read about the story behind these festive Middle Eastern cookies, their cultural and historical ties with the ancient pagan Near Eastern New Year festivities, Norouz, and the Jewish and Christian feasts of Easter and Purim, and Muslim religious feasts.