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A Day in Little Baghdad – فطور – Breakfast

Iraqi breakfasts often consist of coffee or tea, of course, and a variation of cheeses or egg recipes. Eggs with date syrup, or fried tomatoes, or potatoes, or beef, or parsley, or onions, or kufta… the list goes on. With it, we serve a flat bread known as khubez or a diamond-shaped bread called samoon. The bread is sometimes stuffed with Spanish cheese or dipped in sesame paste, yogurt with olive oil, or gaymar (clotted cream) and date syrup or homemade apricot jam.  

Kahi, a breakfast dish of Jewish Babylonian descent, is also a favorite but not served as often – usually on special occasions such when one has guests or the morning after a wedding. That’s when the mother brings her newly-married daughter a tray of kahi for breakfast. Kahi contains a lot of delicious and fattening ingredients which include folded layers of filo-style dough that’s baked and soaked with honey or on top of all that, a sugar syrup called sheera.

In the northern and central parts of Iraq, bagila, broad beans, is a popular breakfast dish. The bagila is placed in water overnight, boiled, and then blended with olive oil and served with bread at the bottom and fried eggs on top.

When I visited Iraq in the year 2000, I was served the most elaborate breakfasts that consisted of homemade yogurt, cheese, clotted cream, pasties, and of course, various egg omelettes. Here in America, we don’t usually make such fancy breakfasts. In my case, I don’t even have breakfast until lunchtime.