Timman Jazar: Rice With Carrots

 by Lamees Ibrahim
I love cooking and eating dishes from other places. Eating foods from other cultures doesn't mean you suddenly have insight to that culture or understand it in some deep way. But food is central to culture. People express themselves through the foods they cook and bond during meals all over the world.

I remember when we returned from India people asked, "What did your kids eat?" My answer was always, "The food." That's not to say they loved everything they ate or never wanted a break from the spiciness, but the flavors were not foreign to them because they had eaten Indian dishes at home and in restaurants.

I know many kids have very real food aversions. I feel for parents who need to work with difficult food needs. This post probably isn't for you. But most children don't have special or medical needs that prevent them from trying new foods. Why not have them try this super easy one pot dish? Even non- cooks will find this easy. If you can chop carrots and onions and brown some ground meat you've got this one covered!

Timman Jazar from The Iraqi Cookbook
serves 8 to 10
Total time to prepare: 40 minutes

2 cups rice (traditionally white but we use brown basmati)
1 pound ground meat (lamb, beef, or turkey can be used)
2 pounds carrots
One large onion
1 tablespoon mixed spices (Use garam masala- found in the international/Asian aisle or the "Natural Food" aisle)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for cooking

  1. Wash the rice in cold water. Drain.
  2. Chop the onion and carrots into small cubes and set aside.
  3. Cook the ground meat with the mixed spices until slightly brown.
  4. Add the chopped onion, salt, and black pepper. Continue cooking for 5 to 10 min.
  5. Add the chopped carrots and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 min. to soften the carrots slightly. Add about 1/2 cup of water to keep it soft.
  6. Put the rice in the pot and add enough water to cook the rice (about three and half cups). Cover and simmer until rice is ready.
Enjoy it with a little plain yogurt and a salad on the side.

Variation: For a vegetarian version, leave out the meat and use vegetable broth to cook the rice instead of water.

What's your family's favorite food from another culture? If you try this recipe, please come back and let us know what you thought.

Looking for other recipes? Try these:
Timman Queemah: Ground Meat with Chickpeas and Rice (Another Iraqi dish- a staple in our house).
Curried Pumpkin Soup (A "must have" at out Thanksgiving table).
Delicata Squash (Delicata are in season now!)
Shurit Ads: Egyptian Lentil Soup (A bit more involved than some soups- stick blender makes it easy!)