Monday, June 10, 2024

  • Monday, June 10, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

This shouldn't be surprising, but unfortunately it is.

Al Sumaria, an Iraqi satellite TV channel, has an article on Iraqi falafel, which is somewhat different from most of the others we've seen.

The well-known Iraqi writer, Ahmed Saadawi, reviewed the main factors for the emergence of the Iraqi falafel sandwich, which came after a long journey in which multiple cultures, countries, and religions participated.

Al-Saadawi said in a blog post seen by Al-Sumaria News that the Iraqi Jews are credited with being the first to introduce “umba” sauce in the 1940s, which is a mixture of fenugreek seeds with some spices, noting that “the Iraqi umba Today it is different from Hindi, as it is an Iraqi invention.”

He explained that "the umba was a complete meal placed on its own in the samoon [which is a type of Georgian or Armenian bread that was transported by immigrants from these countries to Iraq], until Palestinians displaced from the 1948 war came, and some of them opened a falafel restaurant on Al --Rashid Street, and it was somewhere between the Jewish umba, the Palestinian falafel, and the Georgian samoon bread, the Iraqi falafel was born.”
I assume they mean amba, which is a fermented mango-based sauce with vinegar, salt, turmeric, chilies and fenugreek. Wikipedia says, "According to the legend, amba was developed in the 19th century by members of the Sassoon family of Bombay, India, who were Baghdadi Jews."

(Apologies if you know all this, I am not such a foodie.)

It is highly unusual for any Arab source to attribute anything culinary to Jews; usually the narrative is that the Jews stole all cuisine from the Arabs.

Samoon is not a pocket bread like falafel, but it can be sliced open and the falafel and vegetables placed inside. The Palestinians in Iraq got the idea of idea of eating falafel inside bread from the Jews in British Mandate Palestine who innovated falafel in pita.

I will have to try some amba, from Israel, naturally.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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