BBC Good Food Magazine




“I like ancient history and there are artefacts depicting dates and date palms which show they’ve been native to Iraq for a very long time. They’re mainly used in sweet items like kleicha, but are also a staple with tea.”


“The lemony flavour of sumac is used a lot in street food. Adding sumac to kebab sandwiches to cut through the fat is a very Iraqi thing. At home, Mum would make a liquid from sumac berries to give dolma and stews that nice tart, sharpness.”

Sesame seeds

“Widely used on breads and on the Iraqi pita, samoon, in snack bars. They’re famous for being made into tahini. Assyrians do a long Lent before Easter and vegan fast before Christmas – we eat a lot of tahini.”


“Erbil has the best (mainly sheep’s milk) yogurt in Iraq. We eat it for breakfast with bread, add its tanginess to savoury dishes and Assyrians eat a yogurt soup with bulgur dumplings, too.”


“Growing up, every household had citrus trees: lemons; limes; small, sweet oranges and, in April and May, I could always smell orange blossom. I remember eating oranges at night as a snack, making orange juice and Mum making lots of orange cakes.”

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