I am so happy to host this month’s MENA Cooking Club Challenge: IRAQ!
Previous months include: Algeria, Bahrain, Djiboui, and Egypt.Unfortunately, Iraqi food, culture, and customs have been overshadowed by political events for the last several decades, which paved the way for opportunists to take shameless advantage and claim much of ours as theirs. This happened to Palestine, and it’s happening to Iraq.
I chose to highlight my fellow compatriot, the esteemed scholar Nawal Nasrallah’s work by picking recipes from her blog and her cookbook Delights from the Garden of Eden. This amazing fish dish is everything you could look for to surprise and entice the senses: sweet, savory, tangy, and can be started and finished, with the yellow rice, in 30 minutes or less. Note that the cookbook version is without pom molasses, whereas the guest article she wrote for the Boston Globe is slightly different.
Thank you Noor for giving me the opportunity to showcase Iraq!
For the sauce:
2 Tbsp oil
1 medium onions, chopped
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup sultanas
1/2 tsp powder noomi
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ cup water
For the fish:
1 Tbsp mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
900g fillet of salmon, divided into 4 portions
¼ cup toasted pine nuts, for garnish
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and saute onions until transparent, about 5 minutes.
Add the curry powder, turmeric, and coriander and stir until fragrant, a few seconds.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients (garlic, tomatoes, sultanas, noomi, salt, pepper, and water).
Cook gently over medium heat, covered, until sauce thicken, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep warm.
Turn on the broiler. In a small bowl, stir the mustard, honey, olive oil, and salt to combine.
Arrange the fish pieces on a non-stick pan, leaving space between them.
Brush the fish with the mustard-honey mix. Broil for 5 minutes, then turn over the pieces and give them a brush of the mustard-honey mix and broil until the surface is crisp and golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
The fish is done when a knife gently inserted in the thickest part slides all the way through without resistance.
Immediately transfer the fish pieces to a platter, and spread the sultana sauce around and between them.
Sprinkle pine nuts all over the dish, and serve with yellow rice.