Turkey Burgers with Arugulamole – Perfect Summer Dinner

Oh hi. Do you like turkey burgers? Are you wondering what arugulamole is? Well, it’s your lucky day, habibi.

Recently, arugula has been by far my favorite green thing to eat. It’s light, full of flavor, and cheap.

Arugula has replaced the lettuce on my burgers (you will see soon!), the sautéed kale, and any other green leaves I used to eat in salads. It’s that good god damn it!

So, I wanted to put the mighty arugula to a test: how will it taste as the main ingredient in a guacamole-like dip?

Freaking delicious, that’s how it tastes! And this is where arugulamole was created.

This meal is simple, quick, and very healthy. It will probably be one of my main go-to meals as I plan my summer diet.

But you’re here for recipes, so let me show you how it’s done.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bag of baby arugula
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato

Directions:

Step 1

Throw that sweet potato in the microwave. Okay you can be fancy, and cut it how you like, and toss it in the oven. It will taste better, but take longer. I chose quick! Once cooked, slice it and set it aside.

Step 2

Get chopping. Chop all the parsley and the white onion very finely. This will give the patties a lot of flavor and make step 3 a lot easier.

Step 3

Prepare the turkey patties. In a large bowl, throw in the ground turkey, all the spices, the chopped parsley and white onion. Make sure you pre-wash your hands because it’s about to get messy. You want to use your hands to mix everything together until everything blends well together. Roll and shape patties!

Step 4

In a hot skillet, carefully place the patties. Let them sit there for about 3 minutes then flip them on the other side. Keep an eye on them and make sure you flip them regularly so they’re cooked evenly.

Step 5

Prepare the Arugulamole! This is a new thing I came up with and it’s incredibly easy and delicious. Roughly chop the arugula and put it in a large bowl. Now take your avocado and cut it in half. See this video on how to easily pit the avocado. Scoop the avocado out and start mashing it with a fork until it has the texture of a dip. Add that to the bowl with the arugula. Then chop the red onion and add it in. Toss in olive oil, salt, and some black pepper.

You’re all set! I hope you enjoy this light and summer-friendly meal.

If you have any feedback, questions, or suggestions, please contact me directly! I would love to hear from you.

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My Favorite Kitchen Project Yet

Habibis! First thing first, sorry for the hiatus. I just got back from a trip to Italy, plus a bunch of other excuses that you don’t care about.

But I know what you do care about. Food! And I applaud you for your interest in eating. That’s why you’re here after all, right? And speaking of food, I have this to share with you today: slow roasted pork loin!

By now, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you how much I love meat. But what I absolutely love is slowly cooked meat. I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of cutting meat with a spoon? In Iraq, almost all meats are cooked low and slow. I grew up learning that you should respect the fact that making a delicious homemade meal cannot be rushed. Waiting makes your food tastes so much better.

That is why I decided to make this wonderful pork loin, slowly roasted for five hours!

Let’s get to it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion cut into 4 quarters.
  • 1-2 lbs pork loin
  • 1 tb turmeric
  • 2 tb black pepper
  • 1 tb kosher salt
  • 1 tb garlic powder
  • 1 tb onion powder
  • 1 tb red chili power
  • 1 tb all spice
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 container of beef, chicken, or vegetable broth

Directions:

Step 1

Preheat oven to 300 F degrees.

Step 2

Dry the pork loin with paper towels and let it sit for few minutes in room temperature.  Oh make sure the meat is not cold, please. Once dried, rub all the spices to both sides so the meat is evenly coated.

Step 3

Sizzle time! Place the pork loin in a hot cast iron pan and sear both sides till golden brown, about 5 minutes each side. This step is crucial because it will add so much flavor to the meat later on.

Step 4

Take the meat out of the skillet and place it aside. Add the broth in with the onion, bay leaves, and cloves.

Step 5

Grab some heavy duty foil and tightly seal the top of the skillet so you trap all the juice at the bottom and you don’t lose any steam. Then with a knife, make very small cuts in the foil to allow steam to come out. Make sure you make enough holes in the center, but you don’t need to poke the entire foil. We will cook the meat with steam! 

Step 6

Place the pork on top of the holes that you made in the foil. Now place two layers of foil to cover the meat and the skillet. Make sure it is nice and tight so you trap all the steam inside. It should look something like this:

Step 7:

Place the skillet into the oven, grab a beer, and go watch your favorite TV shows. I personally recommend watching The Office. The meat will now sit for 5 hours.

Step 8

After 5 hours, take the skillet out, and just let it sit for about 30 minutes. This is also a very important step as it will allow all the juices to distribute evenly throughout the loin.

Step 9

Carefully unwrap all the foil and very gently grab the pork with kitchen tongs and place it on a large plate or trey. The meat should be extremely juicy and tender. Let it sit for another 5 minutes. In the meantime, put the skillet on the stove to make a sauce. The broth now at the bottom of the skillet is going to taste incredible. Heat till boil, then reduce to low and let it simmer for a little bit. Once thickens, remove from heat and pour in a saucer.

Step 10

Best part!  Grab two forks and gently shred the meat. It should basically fall apart at this point with 0 effort. Once it’s all shredded, serve with your favorite side of roasted veggies, pour some of the sauce on top, get yourself a nice and well earned glass of red wine, and enjoy your meal!

Hope you like this recipe. If you like We the Habibis, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, and follow me on social media at @wethehabibis!

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Steak Biryani with Fried Potatoes, Peas, and Carrots

Steak biryani, a classic Iraqi dish.
Steak biryani, a classic Iraqi dish.

If you are in Iraq one day, which I hope many of us will be able to visit sooner than later, you will eat this biryani at least once before your trip ends. That is a promise.

Although I am not exactly what the origins or biryani are, being the Iraqi that I am, I’m going to go ahead and make a big claim which might cause an uproar among all the biryani aficionado out there: this is an Iraqi dish god damn it!

No I do not have facts to back this up, and there is a good chance I’m wrong. But how can you learn if you’re always right?

Long story short, biryani (chicken or steak) is a very common meal in Iraq. So, I decided to share this recipe with all ya’ll habibis out there. Let’s get right into it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Basmati rice. Don’t cheap out on rice now
  • 1 lb cubed beef
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamon pods

Directions:

  1. Prepare the rice first. For every cup of rice, add 1 & 1/4 cup of water. Add 1 cardamom pods, 1 clove, and the turmeric. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer until done. Check on it every once in a while to make sure if it needs a little bit more water. You want the rice to look fluffy, not too soft and not too hard.
  2. While the rice is cooking, go ahead and start preparing the meat. We want the meat to be nice and tender. This means you will need to be patient. First, sear the meat in large pot. Use your biggest pot, you will thank me later.
  3. Once the meat is looking nice and brown, add a little bit of water, just enough to cover a quarter of the meat. Add the other cardamom pod and the clove.Bring the water to boil, reduce heat to very low, cover the pot, and let it sit for at least 45 minutes.
  4. While the meat is cooking, prepare your potatoes. Add some oil in to your skillet, make sure it’s nice and hot, then add in your potatoes. Once they’re golden brown, take them out and set them aside.
  5. After 45 minutes, take the lid of and make sure you boil off any remaining water. Once everything is dry, take the meat out of the pot and set it aside. Feel free to hit it with some salt now if you want to. I didn’t use any.
  6. Now, in the same pot, add in some olive oil, your all spice, and black pepper. Then add in your peas and carrots. Stir them in well and let them cook until the carrots soften up a little bit.
  7. Now you have the rice, meat, potatoes, and veggies done, all you have to do is to mix them all up together in the pot. See why I told you to use a large one? You’re welcome.
  8. Add the meat first, then rice, then the potatoes. Put the lid on, and reduce heat to low. Let everything sit for 15 minutes. This will allow all the flavors from the meat, cardamom,   cloves, and spices get mixed up together.
  9. Now gently stir everything together. You don’t the rice and potatoes to get mushy. Just take your time and stir all the ingredients so they’re nicely mixed. Let that sit for another 15 minutes on low heat.
  10. And Bon Appétit!

Give this bad boy a try and let me know how it is. If you enjoy my recipes, please share them on social media with your family and friends. And if you’re new here, please hit the subscribe button and join the Habibis Family!

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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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