Iraqi cuisine (Al-tabekh al-3iraki), a giveaway

December 3, 2013  •  Category:


This book on Iraqi cuisine is the result of a job assignment I took on last year in Beirut; the publisher’s well-known cooking book (Alef baa’ al-tabekh) became a best-seller (for years) and is an encyclopedic cookbook on  Lebanese cuisine. Incidentally, I met the author (co-author with her mom) of that book and she told me it took them six years to finish it. She also took on the task of translating my book into Arabic.

 I enthusiastically accepted the project; part of the reason was my love for Iraq, which I have visited twice. I am saddened by its recent history, but hope that, like all things, this too shall pass. Iraq is a country with enormous potential, historical and cultural landmarks dating back centuries and warm and hospitable people. It was a country much beloved by Agatha Christie who lived in Iraq while her husband, Sir Max Mallowan, led many archeological digs there. 

I asked Iraqi friends to veer me in the right direction with this project. There are no prose other than the actual fifty or so recipes, which are mostly traditional Iraqi, with a smattering of some that I created. 

I apologize to most of you who follow this blog and are not Arabic readers. This is a giveaway that might only interest a very small percentage of followers of this blog. Never mind!

Leave a comment and I will draw a name at random in a couple of weeks to send the book to.

If you want to contact the publisher to find out where the book is sold, this is the website 

I know one bookshop that carries it Bookland in Beirut (961) (01) 701-780

zarda whaleeb

iraqi teas


41 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Janet Bobbitt says:

    Thank you for providing such a wonderful resource!

  2. Sandy says:

    I am so excited to find a recommended book on Iraqi cuisine. I am originally from Syria and an avid follower of your blog. Thank you

  3. somer al-kassar says:

    I’ve learned so much from your blog. Thank you for such delicious recipes.

  4. daniel says:

    Thanks for an inspirational blog

  5. Geoffrey Schaller says:

    While I do not speak Arabic (I actually failed it in College), I have several friends who do, and I would like to gift them with this book. 🙂

  6. Viviane@Taste-Buds says:

    I have never tried Iraqi cuisine, but I recently read a book where the author praised it. It would be awesome to have an authentic book of recipes, this is a great giveaway!

  7. Kirk says:

    While my Arabic is minimal (and reading it not at all) I have a Beiruti in my life and would benefit from her having this book! Your blog has been a fantastic resource and I’ve able to impress some serious Lebanese palates with recipes I’ve found here, so thank you! I’m ready to try Jeben Balaadi/Areesh next I think….

  8. Iman says:

    Would love to get this book I left Iraq when I was 12 years old and currently love in the United States and would love to have an Iraqi cookbook.

    Thank you

  9. Maryam says:

    I can’t begin to thank you for loving Iraq and encouraging people to discover its scarred but invaluable treasures.

  10. Radka says:

    The best way to combine love for Arabic with love for cooking:)

  11. Dima says:

    I’ve only tried Iraqi cuisine once… and that was the Tibeat recipe from your blog! Thank you for sharing your love for cooking! Your blog has taught me a lot and is always a place I go to for recipe ideas!

  12. Becky says:

    Don’t actually want the book cause I don’t read Arabic, just wondering if you’d tell me what the picture is of the lovely white and orange dish with the brown star.

  13. Barbara TooCurious says:

    Joumana, I am sooo interested in this project, my husban dis iraqi and we love toi cook iraqi, he created most of the dishes from his memories… and they are just gorgeous. So I always am interested in any sources , which we are sharing, because I cannot read arabic… but there are hardly any obtainable books here….. in old europe….

    I love your blog, about the food and the restaurants and about anything… I just love to read along….. am no commenter usually, but the chance to win a cookbook is enticing….. Hope to meet you one day in person!!

    • Joumana says:

      @Barbara TooCurious: Hope to meet you as well 🙂 There are now several books on Iraqi cuisine on Amazon, one of which I have commented on by Nawal Nasrallah, which is very interesting because the lady is a scholar and traces the historical roots of recipes going back to Sumerian or Abbassid times; her book was recently re-done with images (her first book which she self-published was poor in photos). Mine is a modest compilation of recipes; I just had to make sure that they were traditional and authentic by asking Iraqi friends.

      @Beckie: the image is of a rice pudding called zarda whaleeb (zarda for yellow and haleeb from milk); it is a rice pudding made with a pinch of saffron which changes the color to golden-yellow, alongside the basic rice pudding with milk and rosewater. I put the two side by side and formed the star with cinnamon.

      @Jamile: Hope I can meet you too! 🙂

      @Ozlem: Thank you the praise; yes, I do cook with freekeh, not as often as I should; my daughter came home today and had sent me a photo of her lunch at uni; freekeh with lamb shanks topped with fried almonds and a side of yogurt. made me long for it, especially now that the cold weather is in full force 🙂

  14. Ross says:

    Arabic? I have about 6 words and no reading ability.Those similarly limited may be interested in “Delights From the Garden of Eden – A Cookbook and History of Iraqi Cuisine” – Nawal Nasrallah, recently republished in England by Equinox

  15. Arlette says:

    Allef mabrouk ya Joumana, I am so very proud of you my friend…
    lots of success with this book and I am sure it will be a hit …

  16. 7alim says:

    Alf mabrouk on the book!

  17. Delbert says:

    Love this blog! And would love the book 😉

  18. Marlene says:

    My daughter brought my attention to this marvelous blog, and ever since then, I’ve been hooked! I hope I win, so I can gift this cookbook to her. She’s a budding cook and wife-to-be

  19. Joe says:

    My wife’s an excellent Lebanese cook, but she often looks for new, innovative dishes. I’m sure this cookbook of Iraqi cuisine would be a treasure trove for her

  20. Jamile shirazi says:

    Hi Joumana, congratulation on your new book! I have been following your blog for sometime now. I really enjoyed the zaatar I have won on your blog previously. Thank you for this wonderful blog and keeping us all connected to our home cooking I would love to meet you one day, in the states or in our beloved country. Thank you again, you are such an inspiration…..

  21. Ozlem's Turkish Tabl says:

    This is a gem of a book, thanks so much for sharing, I always look forward to visiting your blog and learn so much, and love seeing the similarities on the culinary heritage we share. My husband’s been to Erbil many times, and he’s always impressed with the country, its kind people and cuisine, would love to explore that part of the world. On a separate note, I have been experimenting with freekeh, what a delightful grain and I wondered if you use it? Selamlar, Ozlem

  22. Doris says:

    It would be a nice gift to my coworker!

  23. Nadine says:

    I love your blog! I’m Iraqi and can’t wait to get there one day, hopefully sooner rather than later. Cooking helps me feel closer to it.

  24. Paula Mello says:

    Congratulations Joumana for the great job and I hope that this book will be a huge success, leading to all the wonderful recipes of Iraq. Who knows in the future have an English version? I certainly hope so. All Arab countries have their history and culture that are amazing, unfortunately the war a few turns the country into chaos for many with too many losses. I share your wish for peace to reign worldwide and maybe the food can unite people again.

  25. Ed Habib says:

    I have some friends that i cook with often who read Arabic. This would actually be a great addition to our Church’s cook book collection. Our priest is from Iraq and I am sure we could make him very happy with some Iraqi food. He often comes in the kitchen and explains some differences with the Lebanese food we make and Iraqi cuisine

  26. Gihan says:

    I love your blog and recipes. I love to cook and luckily I read and speak Arabic. I would live to win this beautiful cookbook. Mabrouk!

  27. Shahed says:

    I was born in Iraq and moved to th U.S. At a young age so of course i grew up with Iraqi cooking. Now that my parents moved Qatar and I am still living in th U.S., it is difficult for me to get all of my mother’s recipes. This book would not only help me practice my Arabic, but also learn some new recipes from my culture!

  28. Lee says:

    This book would be my birthday gift!!! hope I win it 🙂

  29. Hala jawlakh says:

    The cookbook looks lovely. Congratulations!

  30. Simona says:

    Hi Joumana!

    I love cooking and thank to your blog I’ve finally managed to understand middle-eastern cuisine. After spending some time in the region, I have learned how to prepare my favourite dishes and I am still exploring new ones!
    I haven’t had the opportunity to try Iraqi cusine yet, but this book is another reason why I am excited to do so.
    Thanks for this wonderful site, I appreciate it a lot.


  31. Rita says:

    I am of Lebanese heritage and was born and raised in America, but for the few years I lived and travel throughout the Middle East growing up. I absolutely love your blog and how it blends modern and traditional middle eastern cuisine. My husband (who is of Iraqi heritage) and I met in Arabic class in college, where I finally learned to read and write Arabic :). Anyway, I would absolutely love this book because we recently got married and I have been trying to improve my cooking. He has been begging me to learn some Iraqi recipes but they’re not very easy to come by! Thanks again for your wonderful blog, it has been a huge help :).

  32. jdinsb says:

    The cookbook looks beautiful. The photography looks to be done very well.

  33. Kamela says:

    The translation part would be of great interest to me since I am a translator and a cook at the same time 🙂

  34. Nadji says:

    J’ai un faible pour toute la cuisine du Moyen-Orient. Ici, nous connaissons surtout la cuisine libanaise. Je suis heureuse de savoir lire l’arabe.
    A bientôt

  35. bent el deera says:

    love iraqi food ..i visited iraq twice and fall in love with every thing ive been eating there

  36. Mabroo Ismail says:

    Finally i found the best cookbook for my hubby Farhaan, thanka a lot. My best friend Heba wahid also suggested me one website which has Iraq’s famous recipe like Dolma, Biryani and Tashreeb Dajaj recipe …It was also a good site. I will share here with the link if anyones loves to make Iraqi recipes

  37. Barbara Lewis Mullin says:

    Hello, I’m an American-Lebanese who has lived in Lebanon and Egypt, traveled throughout the ME, and lived and worked in Iraq off and on during 2003 through 2007. Plus, through marriage, we have Iraqi relatives in the family.

    Sadly, while I speak several Arabic dialects fluently, my written Arabic hardly exists anymore: lack of use, and American schooling.

    That said, my tastebuds know and love the authentic Iraqi food. I was excited to come across your cookbook here, but, does it come also in English, please? I hope so. Please advise.

    Thank you!


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