A Kurdish Jewish Culinary Detour

Other Cuisines

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Jews have lived in Kurdistan - a region that encompasses eastern Turkey, northeastern Syria, northern Iraq and western Iran - at least for a thousand years, though tradition says they descended from the ten lost tribes of Israel. They lived in both agricultural communities and in cities, particularly Mosul, engaging mostly in agriculture and in trades. They spoke a dialect of Aramaic heavily influenced by the language of their particular localities, usually as well as Kurdish. Their cuisine varied from region to region, usually in parallel to the local specialties. Koobe, or dumplings stuffed with meat and served in a soup, were a particular specialty. I meant to make them before running out of time and deciding I could only do one recipe per cuisine.

For my quick sojourn into Kurdish Jewish cuisine, this is the recipe I made:

Orez Chamutz

Lemon Flavored Beef and Rice

Lemon Flavored Beef and Rice

This is a simple, one-pot, every-night recipe. You pretty much put all ingredients in a pot and let them do their thing. It was quite satisfying, even if not gourmet quality. I doubled the beef from the original recipe.


Lemon Flavored Beef and Rice


  • 2 lbs chuck, cut into 1" cubes
  • 4 celery ribs, trimmed and sliced into 1/2" slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp corn or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 cups rice, rinsed


Put the chuck, celery, onion, cloves, lemon juice, oil, salt and water in a cooking pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to low and simmer until the beef is cooked through and very tender, about hour. Remove beef from the pot and keep warm. Add the rice to the cooking pot, turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then simmer on low until the rice is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Serve beef and rice separately.

Adapted from a recipe in Copeland Mark's Sephardic Cooking: 600 Recipes Created In Exotic Sephardic Kitchens From Morocco To India

Related cuisines I've explored so far: Kurdish, Arab, Algerian, Assyrian, Baghdadi Jewish, Bahraini, Egyptian, Egyptian Jewish, Iraqi, Jordanian.

Afghani Jewish, American Jewish, Baghdadi Jewish, Bene Israel, Calcuttan Jewish, Cochin Jewish, Egyptian Jewish, Georgian Jewish, Greek Jewish , Israeli

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