We pride ourselves in our diversity as a family so this post will touch on that a little bit. Together, my wife and I, have roots from six different countries including where we were raised: Albania, Iraq, Lebanon, Poland, Sweden, and The United States. This specific recipe has been a breakfast staple in my household growing up and my father used to make it for us as far back as I can remember. Although the ingredient list is simple, this dish is truly a labor of love; from the slow caramelizing of the onions to the bubbling and simmering of the fresh tomatoes with turmeric and pepper. It’s the spiciness and subtle sweetness of the scrambled eggs that really sets it apart from its omelet cousin. Served with warm, freshly-baked samoon or sangak and sweet, mint-infused black tea, makhlama is sure to brighten any morning.
In 2014, we visited my family in Sweden and my wife was able to taste the epicness (made-up word) of my father’s makhlama for the first time. Since then, it has become a highlight of our weekend breakfasts together. While in Sweden, we would eat makhlama alongside räksallad, a creamy shrimp salad, and knäckebröd (Swedish crispbread) and it was simply delicious. At home in the States, we eat it with buttery croissants, sharp Vermont cheddar or creamy labneh, and arugula. We consider ourselves very blessed that we have such diverse tastebuds and culinary menus to draw from when meal planning. There is never a dull meal. We eat and enjoy dishes from all around the world and we get to share with each other (and hopefully one day with our children) the memories of what those meals conjure up.
Iraqi Eggs in Tomato Sauce (Makhlama)
1 medium sweet onion
4-5 small ripe tomatoes
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Note: Serves 2-4
1. Dice the onions very finely and sauté in hot vegetable oil on low until light brown and caramelized. This takes time so be patient and stir often so as to not let it burn.
2. In the meantime, dice your tomatoes and prepare your spices. Once your onions are slightly caramelized, add in the tomatoes and spices and cook off until thickened.
3. Crack your eggs into the pan and scramble them around until cooked.
4. Serve with warm delicious breads, cheeses, and fresh herbs. And of course a nice hot cup of chai!
What are some meals that remind you of your childhood growing up in a different culture?
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