Kurdish food can vary by region and even by family, so what I present below is a snapshot of the foods I enjoyed first in San Diego and later in Iraq. The families with whom we lived in California were from the Sulemania and Halabja areas which is also where I lived in Iraq. I don’t know much about Hewleri or Dohuki food let alone Kurdish food in Turkey or Iran.
Kurdish food is a blend of regional dishes with local ingredients. The dishes are often similar to what one might find in a Turkish, Lebanese or even Indian restaurant, but in Kurdistan, the dishes have their own unique flavors.
I, for one, have never had falafel better than the falafel I had in Sulemania. The same goes for Briyani.
Below, I will spell the names of the dishes and foods with latini. Remember to see here for a refresher on pronunciation.
Breakfast: A typical Kurdish breakfast is fairly light.
|Ḧelke Ron||Fried Egg|
An everyday breakfast would just be nan u mast, but the others mix in as well. Of course, no breakfast is complete without Ça.
My favorite breakfast was to mix my mast with date syrup. It was great, but I have no idea what the Kurdish word for date syrup is. Sorry.
Lunch and Dinner: Lunch and dinner foods are usually the same. We often ate lunch at the office where we had a cook. She made some really great things! (Although, some of my co-workers complained about the excessive amounts of oil!)
|Kube||Ground meat wrapped in rice|
|Brîanî||Spiced rice with anything and everything in it|
|Kufte||Ground meat wrapped in wheat served in a tomato soup|
|Tepsî||Eggplant, zucchini, onions and potato fried with spices|
|Yapraẍ/ Dolme||Ground meat wrapped in grape leaves or stuffed in variousvegetables|
|Şile||Tomato-based stew with one of many vegetables|
|Şufte||Little spiced-meat patties (My personal favorite!)|
Miscellaneous Food Names: There are many other words you’ll need to cook and eat in Kurdistan. I have tried to include those below. I have also included separate tables for fruits and vegetables.
|Samun||Bread loaves or buns|
|Mast Aw||Yogurt and water drink|
|Do||Like Mast Aw, but when made traditionally, it’ssemi-fermented in an animal stomach|
|Gȋpe||Meat cooked in a cow's stomach|
|Sȇr u Pȇ||Head and feet. Sheep’s brains and feet|
|Kabab||Meat patty on a skewer|
|Tike||Meat chunks on a skewer|
Fruits and Vegetables: The secret to Kurdish culture is this: when you are invited to dinner or visit someone, they will eventually serve you fruit. The fruit is your sign that it’s time to go.
I don’t like vegetables all that much, so my vocabulary is slim. Sorry.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.
If you have recipes for any of these foods, please post them in the comments. I can only make rice and şile.