Iraqi breakfast is strongly influenced by its neighboring countries, Turkey and Iran. Like other meals of the day, breakfast in Iraq mostly consists of stuffed meat, vegetables, rice and yogurt.
What’s Special About Iraqi Breakfast?
Iraqis usually enjoy a light and healthy meal at the beginning of the day. Eggs and bread are the most common items on the menu.
Khubz and samoon are the two Iraqi breads that are typically served with morning meals. They are enjoyed with butter, jam, bigilla, labneh or date molasses. Dates are an essential part of Iraqi breakfast and a significant component of many traditional dishes.
Most Popular Breakfast In Iraq
Kahi (Filo Pastry)
Kahi is a relative of baklava (another type of filo pastry), which means both dishes are very similar. Originally a breakfast dish of Jewish Babylonians, it is now the national breakfast in Iraq. It is customary for kahi to be served as part of the first breakfast of a newlywed couple.
The Iraqi filo pastry consists of a thin folded stack of filo dough. The dough is baked and drenched with honey or sugar syrup. It is usually accompanied by clotted milk cream and honey.
It can also be eaten as a dessert.Many cafes in Baghdad have this delicious pastry. They serve it with hot coffee or tea.
Traditional Iraqi Breakfast – Eggs
Tomato Shakshuka (Poached Eggs With Tomato Sauce)
The word shakshuka means “mixture.” It consists of chunky tomato gravy as a base and poached eggs. Originating in Tunisia, the recipe is equally popular in some parts of North Africa and the Middle East.
With fresh and natural ingredients, such as tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices, shakshuka is a healthy Iraqi breakfast.The tomato and egg dish is also fairly simple and easy to prepare. After simmering the tomatoes into a gravy, eggs are gently and carefully poached in the sauce for a kick of flavor.
The soft and delicate poached eggs combine excellently with the spicy and slightly tangy tomato gravy. While it’s a satisfying and nourishing breakfast, shakshuka can be eaten at any time of the day.
Iraqi Makhlama (Fried Eggs With Lamb Stew)
We know how much Middle Eastern natives love bread and eggs. Makhlama is a perfect example of that. It is a traditional Iraqi breakfast featuring eggs and meat stew, which is eaten with bread.
This dish features soft-cooked eggs and stewed beef with onion, parsley, tomatoes and lemon juice. It is spicy and full of flavors. As makhlama is a hearty breakfast and a no-carb meal, it keeps your stomach full for hours.
In Iraq, you can also find its vegetarian version, which uses mushrooms, potatoes and chickpeas instead of meat and eggs. Both versions of this breakfast in Iraq are delicious and are served garnished with greens alongside warm pita bread. A drizzle of fresh lemon juice also adds a tangy touch.
Bagila Bil Dihin (Fried Eggs With Broad Beans)
Beans are an important part of the country’s morning meal. Bagila bil dihin is a traditional Iraqi breakfast with beans. At first, it was only served for breakfast, but now Iraqis also eat it as a snack or a main meal.
Bagila bil dihin features a broad bean known as ful ta’ girba. The dish is traditionally served with pita bread.
The bread is soaked in the bean dip and topped with hot oil and onions. Locals serve it over torn bread pieces with a fried egg and garnish it with chopped parsley.
Traditional Iraqi Breakfast – Breads And Dips
Khubz Tannour (Pita Bread)
The most popular flatbread in Iraq is khubz tannour. It is a pita bread often eaten with traditional Iraqi breakfast. Khubz tannour can be paired with stews, hummus, honey, cream and jams.
The bread is prepared in special clay ovens called tandoor. These ancient ovens are a staple in many Iraqi homes. You’ll also find them in many local bakeries serving up khubz tannour to both residents and visitors alike.
This typical Iraqi bread has a thick, circular shape and consists of flour, yeast, water and salt. Air bubbles appear during baking, which give khubz tannour its signature texture. When warm or freshly baked, this bread pairs perfectly with almost all foods in Iraq.
Labneh (Strained Yogurt)
Labneh, also known as sack yogurt, is a thick and creamy cheese. It has been a popular dip in the Middle East for centuries. In Iraq, it can always be found on the breakfast menus of local restaurants.
This Iraqi breakfast dip consists of fermented milk. It tastes creamy and tangy like a heavily strained yogurt. Some people associate it with Greek yogurt due to its creamy consistency, but they are different.
This soft cheese is served as a dip. You can also use it as a spread with Iraqi bread. It is also added to various recipes.
Geymar (Thickened Cream)
Geymar is another thick cream breakfast in Iraq. This white cream is made from buffalo milk. It is also eaten in Turkey and Iran.
Locals most commonly consume geymar with kahi. This classic Iraqi breakfast is called kahi wa geymar. The indulgent combination is completed with black tea or coffee.
You’ll typically see servings of cut up kahi served with a dollop of geymar. A drizzle of honey, date molasses or simple syrup might also be added.
Other Traditional Iraqi Breakfasts
Kleicha (Date And Cardamom Cookies)
Kleicha or koloocheh is a staple Iraqi breakfast served as a sweet snack or dessert. In Iraq, this traditional breakfast is usually made for celebrations. It is a popular treat for the morning of Eid al-Fitr.
Kleicha are moderately sweet cookies that come in different shapes and fillings. It can be stuffed with pistachios, walnuts, dates, dried figs, sugar and grated coconut. Cardamom, saffron and rose water are also added for a sweet floral aroma.
The most famous kleicha cookies are the ones stuffed with date paste. They have a soft, extremely sweet interior with a crispy exterior. You can enjoy these delicious cookies with Iraqi coffee or tea.
Kibbeh (Rice And Potato Balls Filled With Minced Meat)
If you are a food lover, you might have heard about kibbeh. It is a world-famous street food and breakfast item. This meat-based Iraqi breakfast is also known as the national dish of Lebanon and Syria.
There are many variations of kibbeh in Iraq that use different ingredients. Mostly, kibbeh features fried rice and potato balls. Their golden brown crispy exterior breaks in your mouth and releases a flavorful stuffing of minced meat.
These lip-smacking fried balls are a traditional treat for breakfast in Iraq. Their inside filling is meaty and satisfying and pairs perfectly with a hot cup of tea.
Tea is the favorite beverage of Iraqis not only for breakfast but throughout the day and in every season. Tea means life for most locals. They even drink it to quench their thirst on a summer afternoon.
Almost every house serves tea for breakfast in Iraq. Most adults even get headaches and dizziness if they do not drink tea with their morning meal.
A typical cup of Iraqi tea contains cardamom seeds and lots of sugar or honey. But more than a beverage, it is also a social status symbol and is given as a sign of respect in every household. You are most likely to be served hot tea during a house visit or a social gathering.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Discovering Delicious Breakfast In Iraq
Iraqi breakfast showcases many facts about Iraqi culture. It depicts the richness and diversity of Iraqi cuisine. Breakfast in Iraq also demonstrates the deep roots of Turkish and Persian influence on the country’s customs and traditions.