A blog about the Iraqi cuisine from ancient Mesopotamian times to the present, by Nawal Nasrallah, author of Delights from the Garden of Eden, 2003. A new fully revised edition is released (UK: Equinox Publishing, 2013). TLS (Nov 1, 2013) said about it:
"A splendid achievement…obviously a labor of love … an impressive book. Each page shows erudition, every recipe a passion for food."
Get it on iBooks ITUNES.APPLE.COM.
A new abridged edition (440 pp.) is coming out soon!
You will be surprised how beautiful and tasty
this jam will turn out to be. Its origin cannot be any humbler: watermelon rind,
usually discarded after the juicy ruby melon pulp is sliced off. In other parts
of the world this rind ends up being pickled, but in Iraq we transform it into a
charming chunky jam, usually served with geymer (slabs of clotted cream)
or butter for breakfast.
Growing up in Baghdad, I remember that marabbat
raggi was also available in small tinned cans imported from Australian. It
was good but it lacked the luxurious texture and the enticing aroma of the
Here is a recipe adapted from my cookbook Delights from the
Garden of Eden:
2 pounds watermelon rind (measure after slicing
off the red pulp and the green hard outer skin)
3 cups granulated sugar
½ cup honey
2 strips lemon peel or 2 small pieces of peeled
4 whole pods cardamom
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Cut rind into strips, about 1 inch wide and 2
inches long. Cover in cold water and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat, and
simmer slowly until translucent, about 30 minutes. Drain, and reserve 3 cups of
2. In a heavy pot, completely dissolve sugar in
reserved liquid. Add honey, lemon peel or ginger, and cardamom. Bring to a
boil, skimming as needed. Add the drained watermelon rind, and boil gently over
medium heat, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside, overnight.
3. Boil pot again over medium heat until syrup thickens,
about 30 minutes. Add lemon juice in the last 5 minutes. Test for doneness by putting
a drop of syrup on a dry cold dish, and tilt it. If the drop does not go flat,
and keeps its domed shape, it is done. Let the jam cool off completely. If
wished, put the jam in a strainer to get rid of extra syrup. Store it in the
refrigerator and use as needed. It will stay good for a long time.