The Cultured Kitchen

      In the course of InterestEng.’s book journey across the world (see story “195 books”) we will occasionally share recipes we find.  Few things give the flavor of a country and culture better its food. Our first recipe is fabulous. We hope your family will take the time to enjoy it, too.

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IRAQI  SPECIAL SPICES

Mix well together:

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp turmeric

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Iraqi Eggplant Stew 

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant (about 1 lb) peeled and cut into 1/4" rounds

2 large potatoes peeled and cut into 1/4" rounds

2 large onions cut into 1/2" rounds

2 bell peppers (1 green, 1 red) cleaned and cut into 1/2" strips

1 large red tomato sliced into 1/4" rounds

1 large chicken breast cut into cubes

1 large clove garlic finely sliced

1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with juice

3/4 cup water

sea salt or kosher salt

oil for frying

Iraqi special spices (see left)


To prepare:

1) Boil cubed chicken pieces in water until tender.

2) Put eggplant rounds in large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Fill the bowl with water and place a plate (or something heavy) on top of the eggplant rounds to keep them from floating. While they soak in sea salt, cut all your other vegetables.  When ready to fry, remove from the sea salt water, rinse in clean, cold water and pat dry.

3) Fill a large frying pan 1/2" with oil and heat very hot.

4) By turns, fry each of the vegetables separately, turning once until golden brown: first potatoes, then eggplant, then onion, then bell peppers.  (Do not fry the tomatoes.)  When each group is browned, remove with slotted spoon and place on paper toweling (or brown paper bag) to absorb oil.

5) Heat 2 Tbl butter in a small sauce pan and fry garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes (with juice), and 3/4 cup water.  Stir until well blended.  Add 1 teaspoon of the special Iraqi spices and stir again. Continue to simmer on low heat.

6) In a large baking dish, spread a little of the sauce on the bottom and then add the tomato rounds to cover the bottom of the dish. Next, add the boiled, cubed chicken pieces (drained) and sprinkle with a little of the Iraqi spices.  Then add in layers, the potatoes and the onions and sprinkle again with a little of the Iraqi spices.  Now pour the tomato sauce over everything and top with the slices of bell peppers.  Bake in the oven, covered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  If desired, before serving, sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese.

ENJOY!  THIS IS FABULOUS!

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com