Chicken Stir Fry with Coconut Brown Rice

What’s up Habibis?! Sorry it’s been a minute since I last posted a recipe. Been hella busy with work. You know I have a full time job so give me a break would you?

Lot’s of folks have asked for this recipe, and because I’m super nice, I was like “why not?!”

This a super easy, quick, and healthy meal that anyone can make. So let’s dive right in:

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium size chicken breasts
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1 cup of red bell pepper
  • 1 cup of yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 can of baby corn
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

Whip it up!

  1. Cook the brown rice first because it takes a while. In a medium size pot, add your brown rice, coconut milk, 1 cup of water, coconut flakes, cardamom, and clove.
  2. Bring everything to a boil, put the lid on, and turn the heat to medium low. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until all the liquid is gone. The cardamom and clove will make your place smell amazing!
  3. Cube up the chicken, and hit it with some salt, pepper, and red pepper action. Then transfer the chicken to a hot and oiled cast iron skillet and cook until golden brown.
  4. Transfer the chicken into a bowl and drizzle the pan with olive oil.
  5. Add your vegetables in and cook until they lose all their water.
  6. Add your soy sauce, a pinch of red pepper flake, a pinch of black pepper, and stir all the veggies together.
  7. Then toss your chicken back in the skillet with all the veggies and mix everything together.
  8. Serve! I prefer adding the rice at the bottom of your plate/bowl then add the stir fry on top. But you can also just mix the rice together with everything.

If you enjoy this recipe, share it up!

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March 19: Never Forget the Invasion of Iraq

US invasion of Iraq
US military tanks in the streets of Baghdad after the invasion.

 

They say that the US invasion of Iraq started on March 20th, but I heard the missiles on the 19th.

Today, March 19, 2018, marks the 15th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. On this day fifteen years ago, I was 13 years old sitting on my bed when I heard the first missile flying over the roof of our house. The rumbling sound of that missile will resonate in my ears forever. Seconds later, that missile would detonate, shaking our entire home, and marking a new and a very bloody chapter of lives in Iraq.

Because of that invasion, I lost my father, my home, and got separated from the rest of my family members who are now scattered all over the world.

However, this post is not intended to point fingers and say that invasion was a mistake. We, people who lived through the invasion, lost those most dear to us, and dealt with all of its unfortunate circumstances, understand that the invasion was not just a mistake, it was a crime against humanity.

It is important for us to be reminded that the US-led invasion of Iraq was devastating, and that devastation is lasting. We cannot move forward if we choose to forget and pretend nothing happened. It is not despite this, but because of this, that we need for a new and healthier relationship between Iraq and the United States.

I remember in early 2004, three American military Humvees stopped by my school one day. The soldiers walked in to deliver many boxes of school supplies. One of the soldiers approached me, and handed me some notebooks, candy, and two packs of MRE peanut butter. It was the first time i tried peanut butter and it is the one good thing that came out of the invasion.

I am a firm believer that Iraq and the United States can benefit so much from one another. From trade and economic prosperity to the security of the region and the world, these two nations must start forging new partnership based peace and long-lasting positive change.

So many people ask me today: “how do you feel about living in America, the country that invaded your home?” My answer is simple: the American people did not invade my country. They welcomed me in their homes.

America opened its doors for me, sheltered me, provided me with excellent education, and helped me rebuild my life once again. America is my home today and I love living here. At the same time, Iraq still remains my country of origins and I am very proud of that. That is where I learned to walk, talk, and read and write.

I hope you can join me today in remembering all of those who sacrificed their lives in that war, both Iraqis and Americans, and look forward to a brighter and stronger relationship between those two great nations.

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Dear Mom

Mom back in the days. Time and place are unknown.

Thank you for everything.

I was browsing through some of my old pictures from Iraq, and I came across this picture of my mom: a beautiful, elegant, fashionable, and most importantly, fierce Iraqi woman.

This International Women’s Day, and as we all celebrate the amazing women in our lives, I want to celebrate and thank my mom: a woman who did the impossible to help me get to where I am today. She truly defines what it means to be the best mom anyone could ask for.

I want to share one story about her.

In 2008, I was a refugee living with my mother and one of my brothers in Damascus, Syria. We had been living there for nearly two years after we had left Iraq in late 2006. And one day, I received the happiest news of my life: that I was going to the United States.

I had just received my acceptance letter to attend Union College in Schenectady, New York and also my student visa. I could not believe it at first, and I was so excited to go home and tell mom about it.

As I was climbing up the stairs to our fourth-floor apartment, with an acceptance letter in one hand and a visa in the other, it suddenly hit me: how am I supposed to leave mom alone in Syria?

My brother at that time was working in France, and so it was just mom and I for a few months. She was my best friend and support system. Her health wasn’t the best, and I knew it would be difficult for her to wave goodbye to her youngest child.

But I didn’t want to let these thoughts overtake my excitement, and I was so eager to tell mom about the great news I got.

It’s hard to put into words and describe the happiness I saw on mom’s face once I told her that I was going to finish my education in America. She saw her youngest child with an opportunity to receive the best education of his life. She was proud—and that made me even happier.

However, as we sat down to talk about it, I was starting to feel guilty that I might leave mom alone. So I asked her a very blunt question: “What do I do? Whatever you decide, mom, I will happily do it.”

And here’s why I said earlier that my mom is the best mother anyone could ask for.

“Throughout my entire life, I have worked so hard, and sacrificed so much, for you and your siblings to be successful. All I want for all of you is to finish your education and have a prosperous future. I give you my full blessings to go to America,” my mom told me with teary eyes.

Today, after nearly 10 years since the day I had that conversation with mom in our little apartment in Damascus, I am proud to say that I have made it in America.

After 4 years of separation, mom came to my my graduation from Union College in 2012.

But none of my successes in life would have been possible with you mom, and for that I say thank you.

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The Best Garlic Chicken and Mint Roasted Potatoes You’ll Ever Make

You’re probably wondering “mint potatoes?I came here for a dinner recipe, not a mojito!” Well, take a chill pill habibi and let me break it down to you. This is the best chicken I have ever made and I’m pumped to share my recipe with you.

The secret to this dish is time and foil. The reason why this chicken is so good is that it cooks very slowly until the meat falls off the bone.

As for the potatoes, I wanted to try something new. I was browsing through my spices and I saw a bagof dried mint which I haven’t used in a while. I really like dried mint in kebabs, but this time I wanted to add it to some potatoes because I freaking can. I am so happy that I did. The flavor was absolutely amazing.

Alright, enough talking and let’s get cooking! First let us start with what you need:

  • Chicken drumsticks: I did two per person, but ate about 5. I cook, I eat!
  • 6 medium size potatoes
  • 1lb green beans
  • 1 large onion: cut into thin slices
  • 6 large cloves of garlic. The more garlic the better.
  • Quinoa: 1 cup for two people
  • 1 bunch of finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Generous amount of salt and pepper

Time to cook!

  1. First, pre-heat your oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Grab a large bowl and dump all your chicken in.
  3. Using garlic press, crush all the garlic in the chicken bowl. If you don’t have a garlic press, you could use a cheese grater (what I did), or just finely chop it with a knife.
  4. Now add the parsley to the mix
  5. Add a generous amount of salt and black pepper. I did about one tablespoon each.
  6. Then add half a cup of olive oil in and get messy! Rub the chicken with all the ingredients that you added so that each piece is coated evenly.
  7. Please wash your hands thoroughly after that.
  8. Now move the chicken to a cast iron pan or a pyrex baking dish and tightly cover the top with foil. Make sure you seal it really well. I used two layers of foil. This will insure that the steam will stay inside which will make your chicken very juicy and tender.
  9. Now you will leave the chicken for 1 hour. Don’t touch it!
  10. Onto the potatoes: super easy. First cut them up into small pieces like in the picture above and put them in a baking dish.
  11. Add the dried mint, a touch of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything up. Use your god given hands. Best kitchen tools ever!
  12. In another baking dish, add your green beans and onions. Hit them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  13. Now toss your potatoes and green beans/onions into the oven.
  14. You thought we’re done didn’t you? How funny. Sorry, but there is one more thing: quinoa!
  15. Add your quinoa to a pot and then add some water. For each cup of quinoa add two cups of water. Now let it come to boil. Once it starts boiling, put the lid on, move it off the burner and let it sit there until the water completely disappears.
  16. Check on the veggies and potatoes every 15 minutes. They should cook in about 30 minutes. I like my potatoes to be nice and crispy on the outside so I let them sit in the oven longer.
  17. After 1 hour, take the chicken out and remove the foil. The chicken is now fully cooked, but not crispy. Who wants that right?
  18. Now turn your oven broiler on and put the chicken back in. Check regularly to make sure the chicken doesn’t burn.
  19. After the top side gets nice and golden, flip those drumsticks over and do the same.
  20. It took me about 30 minutes for the chicken to be golden brown on both sides. I promise you this: when you take the chicken out, you will be so happy. The chicken will look absolutely amazing!

Now you get to eat! I hope you enjoy this meal and share the recipe with your habibis

If you like my recipes, please follow We the Habibis on Instagram and Facebook. I really appreciate all of your support.

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The Best Bamya with Big Mo

We the Habibis’ first video ever!

Big Mo tried his very first Iraqi dish, Bamya, and he was a happy man. Bamya is basically an Okra stew with white rice: one of the most traditional Iraqi meals. And it just happen to be his bday today, so happy birthday habibi!

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