Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients.
13 May 2013 - 5:46 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM


A spicy mango pickle commonly served in Iraq that is made with mangoes, vinegar, mustard, fenugreek, tumeric, chilli and salt.

Basmati rice

Basmati rice is grown in the swamps of the south and west of Baghdad. The long grained rice is famed for its delicate flavour and fragrance.


Iraq is the world’s largest producer of dates, the fruit of the palm tree. Dates are used frequently in Iraqi dishes, and are the first item consumed at sunset during Ramadan; a tradition dating back to the 7th century, when Islam’s prophet Muhammad is said to have broken his fast with a date.


A flat, round Iraqi bread that is often served as a snack with a variety of appetisers, cheeses, olives, and jams.

Yogurt and labna

Yoghurt is often consumed with the main meal as a drink or sauce. Labna (also known as laban) is a thinned down version of yoghurt, seasoned with onions and herbs and served as a side dish.


A mixture of spices, usually including cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and paprika, which is commonly employed in Iraqi cuisine. It is used as an addition to many savoury dishes.


A popular side-dish made up of a mixture of pickled vegetabes.


Kubba (kibbeh) is a flat loaf approximately the size of your palm. In Northern Iraq is made with a combination of burghul wheat, meat, almonds, raisins and spices, it is moulded and then fried or poached. In Southern Iraq it may be made with rice instead of wheat. In the south, the tail fat of the flat-tailed sheep may be used as a substitution for the meat.