Archaeologists have found evidence from excavations at Jarmo in northeastern Iraq, that pistachio nuts were a common food as early as 6750 BC.
Among the ancient texts discovered in Iraq is a Sumerian-Akkadianbilingual dictionary, recorded in cuneiform script on 24 stone tablets from about 1900 BC. It lists terms in the two ancient Iraqi languages for over 800 different items of food and drink. Included are 20 different kinds of cheese, over 100 varieties of soup and 300 types of bread, each with different ingredients, filling, shape or size.
Masgouf is an open-cut fish garnished with chopped onions and tomatoes. It is considered the national dish of Iraq.
Meals begin with appetizers and salads known as Mezza. Some dishes include Kebab (often marinated with garlic, lemon and spices, then grilled), Gauss (grilled meat sandwich wrap, similar to Döner kebab), Bamieh (lamb, okra and tomato stew), Quzi (lamb with rice, almonds, raisins and spices), Falafel (fried chickpea patties served with amba and salad in pita), Kubbah (minced meat ground with bulghur wheat or rice and spices), Masgûf (grilled fish with pepper and tamarind), and Maqluba (a rice, lamb, tomato and aubergine dish). Stuffed vegetable dishes such as Dolma and Mahshi are also popular.
Various stews served over rice form a major part of Iraqi cuisine. A feature shared with Iranian cuisine (see Khoresht). Long-grain rice is a staple in Iraqi cookery. The Iraqi word for rice, timman, is unique to Iraq and is of Akkadian origin.
A set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati), and meat/vegetables. It was brought to India by Persian Muslim travellers and merchants and is collectively popular in Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and among Muslims in Sri Lanka.
A multistep process intended to produce tender, fluffy grains of rice., similar to the method used for Persian chelow,. It differs slightly from the Persian tahdig, which is a single thick piece; the hikakeh contains some loose rice as well. Before serving, the hikakeh is broken into pieces so that everyone is provided with some along with the fluffy rice.
An upside-down rice and aubergine casserole, which is literally translated as "upside-down". It is sometimes made with fried cauliflower instead of aubergine and usually includes meat or braised lamb.
A traditional Mesopotamian dish made with fish from the Tigris. It is an open cut freshwater fish roasted for hours after being marinated with olive oil, salt, curcuma and tamarind while keeping the skin on. Traditional garnishes for the masgouf include lime, chopped onions and tomatoes, as well as the clay-oven flatbreads common to Iraq and much of the Middle East.
A minced meat, tomato and chickpea stew, served with rice. Traditionally prepared at the annual Ashura commemorations in southern Iraq. The name qeema is an ancient Akkadian word meaning 'finely chopped'.
An Iraqi casserole. The main ingredient of the dish is aubergine, which are sliced and fried before placing in a baking dish, accompanied with chunks of either lamb/beef/veal or meatballs, tomatoes, onions and garlic. On top of the aubergine, potato slices are placed on top of the mixture, and the dish is baked. Like many other Iraqi dishes it is usually served with rice, along with salad and pickles.
Mezza is a selection of appetizers or small dishes often served with beverage, like anise-flavored liqueurs such as arak, ouzo, raki or different wines, similar to the tapas of Spain or finger food. Pickles and salad are common accompaniments to large plates in Iraqi cuisine.
A dish made of rice, chopped meat, and spices. The best-known variety is a football-shaped burghul shell stuffed with chopped meat and fried. Other varieties are baked, poached, or even served raw as famously done by the Lebanese. They may be shaped into balls, patties, or flat.
A pizza-like dish traditionally made with ground mutton rather than the more modern addition of lamb, or beef in Brazil. They are "open faced" meat pies with no top dough. Sfiha were much like dolma; simply ground lamb, lightly spiced, wrapped in brined grape leaves.
A salad dish, often used as part of a mezze. Its primary ingredients are finely chopped parsley, bulgur, mint, tomato, scallion, and other herbs with lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings, generally including black pepper and sometimes cinnamon and allspice.
A Middle Eastern Arabic-style sandwich-like wrap usually composed of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or a mixture of meats. Shawarma is a popular dish and fast-food staple across the Middle East and North Africa.
A creamy dairy product, similar to clotted cream, made in the Balkans, Turkey, Iran, other Middle Eastern nations, and Central Asia. It is made from the milk of water buffalos in the East or of cows in the West.
Iraqi cuisine is very well-known for utilizing various spices in preparation of their dishes. While spice mixtures such as advieh or baharat are used in preparation of their meals, others are used as condiments as an accompaniment to a mezza or sometimes larger meals.
The national cookie of Iraq. Kleicha comes in several traditional shapes and fillings, the most popular being the molded ones filled with dates (kleichat tamur). The sweet discs (khfefiyyat) are also favoured along with the half moons filled with nuts and sugar (kleichat joz).
An Arab dessert reserved for the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, a sort of sweet crepe filled with cheese or nuts. It was traditionally prepared by street vendors as well as households in the Levant and more recently has spread to Egypt.
Also known as Chai, is widely consumed throughout the day, especially in the mornings, after meals, and during social settings. It is prepared by boiling tea in hot water, then placing it over a second tea pot with boiling water to let the tea infuse. Iraqi tea is renowned for being considerably weaker, richer and sweeter than those found in neighbouring countries, and is usually brewed with cardamom (heil).
A method of preparing unfiltered coffee. Roasted and then finely ground coffee beans are simmered (not boiled) in a pot (cezve), optionally with sugar, and served in a cup where the grounds are allowed to settle.