Middle Eastern

Iraqi Makhlama

a rich spicy meat sauté topped off with soft-cooked eggs and garnished with fresh greens

The epitome of Iraqi comfort food. I grew up eating this recipe, graciously made by my mother on vibrant mornings the whole family ate together. For many Iraqis living in diaspora, it’s dishes like these allowed us to find a bridge back to our homeland. 

Garnished with bright greens, zesty sumac, and fresh lemon juice. The ground meat is sometimes replaced with potatoes for a vegetarian option. Served family style in one big cast iron skillet and a free-for-all using warmed pita bread as edible spoons.

Iraqi Makhlama


1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 pound ground meat (I used beef)

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder (or turmeric)
½ tsp paprika (I used smoked)
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp red chili flakes *optional*
1 tomato, diced
Salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste

3 stalks scallions, sliced thin
2 tbsp parsley, minced
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
4 large eggs

Sumac to garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. In large cooking pan or cast iron skillet on medium-high heat add oil, onion, and garlic and allow to cook until the onion becomes slightly caramelized. Next add ground meat, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, paprika, allspice, and red chili flakes.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the meat to cook and brown for about 5 minutes.
  3. Next add the tomatoes, half of all your scallions, parsley and coriander. Mix together and allow the tomatoes to soften.
  4. Next make four divots in the meat mixture and carefully crack an egg into each. Reduce heat to low and cover the skillet with a lid to allow eggs to cook leaving the yolks still runny.
  5. When finished, add a light sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste, add remaining scallions, parsley and cilantro over top. Garnish with a sprinkle of sumac and fresh lemon juice.
  6. Dig in with a fork or freshly warmed pita bread. Enjoy!

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