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The Hirshon Iraqi Burgers – عروق


Units Scale
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/8 cup chopped mint
  • 1/8 cup chopped basil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder or dry yeast
  • 1 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder – or a much better choice is the Hirshon Iraqi Baharat spice mix, made from:
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground allspice
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (it’s not traditional, but I like smoked Spanish paprika – use regular paprika to go old-school)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons crumbled dried rose petals, optional but strongly recommended.
  • Oil for frying (TFD prefers olive oil)
  • For garnish: onion relish (recipe below), chopped parsley, pickles, salad vegetables
  • For Onion-Sumac Relish – Feathered Onion – بصل مريّش:
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Sumac spice


  1. In a big bowl, mix meat, onion, parsley, other herbs if used, salt, pepper, egg, baharat or curry powder, and coriander.
  2. Dissolve baking powder or yeast in water. Add water to the meat mix, and fold well. Add the flour, and knead lightly with one hand for a few minutes until well combined. The final mix will be a little soft but it should hold its shape when formed into patties. Add a small amount of flour if needed. This dough is easier to handle with wet hands.
  3. Heat ½ inch-deep oil in a medium-size frying pan. With wet hands, take a piece of the dough, size of a golf ball. Put it on the palm of one hand, and with the other, form it into an oblong patty, about 3 inches long and ⅓ inch thick. Carefully put the piece in the hot oil the moment you finish shaping it, and repeat until you fill the frying pan comfortably.
  4. Let patties fry until golden brown, turning only once to fry on both sides. Remember to wet your hands while handling this dough to prevent it from sticking to your fingers. Drain fried pieces on white paper towels put in a colander (this will prevent them from getting soggy). Repeat the process with the rest of dough. These patties cook very fast. Frying them will not take more than 15 minutes.
  5. For presentation: Line a platter with onion relish, arrange ‘uroog patties all over, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Or serve them already stuffed into bread, along with sliced tomatoes, onion relish, and chopped parsley.
  6. Onion-Sumac Relish – Feathered Onion – بصل مريّش
  7. Cut a medium onion in half lengthwise, then thinly slice it crosswise. Put it in a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon vinegar and a very generous sprinkle of sumac, then fluff the onion and set aside, covered, for about 10 minutes and use.

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