18 and older
Maha is from Baghdad, and although she has friends and family from all over Iraq, she spent most of her life in the capital. When she was young, Maha was a top equestrian competitor, competing in international riding events, and in college she majored in mathematics and physics. After getting married and having 5 sons, raising them (and feeding them!) became a full-time job. In 2007, Maha and her family were forced to flee Iraq because of the violence there. They lived in Jordan for several years, and moved to New York in 2014, through the United Nations.
Maha has a certificate in traditional Arabic medicine, and in Queens she teaches the Qur’an and Arabic lessons and volunteers at her local Islamic center. She also recites Quranic verses while cooking as a way of putting her love into the food and making it even more delicious! While Maha has learned to cook some Greek and Chinese dishes, Iraqi cuisine is still her family’s favorite; the foods she loves best are dolma (stuffed grape leaves) and lamb biryani. Maha is excited to share the cuisine of her home country, since she hasn’t seen any Iraqi restaurants in New York, and is looking forward to learning from her students, too.Dolma (Stuffed Grape Leaves and Onions with Lamb)
Shwander Bil Noome Basarah (Beet Salad with Dried Lemon)
- An elaborate dish of highly seasoned ground lamb and rice filling for stuffing grape leaves, boiled onions, and peppers, then stewed with lamb chops and fava beans and served on top of naan.
Salad Al Jazer Maa Ruman (Carrot and Pomegranate Salad)
- Cooked beets mixed with crushed dried lemons, browned onions, and lemon juice.
Mardukh Bil Joze Wal Filfil Akhder (Smashed Grilled Eggplant with Bell Peppers and Walnuts)
- A bright and refreshing salad of grated carrots mixed with fresh pomegranate seeds, olive oil, and lemon juice.
Khaliyat Al Nahel Bil Joze Wal Darseen (Beehive Cake with Walnuts and Cinnamon)
- Mashed charred eggplant, bell peppers, chopped walnuts, and garlic seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil.
- Yeasted sweet dough balls stuffed with ground walnuts and cinnamon, baked, and then soaked in sweetened condensed milk.
* Food Allergies: This menu includes dairy, tree nuts, and wheat.