Traditional Iraqi Fritters – Uroug or Kebab Tawa

New friendships and reminders of childhood meals have made me hungry for “home” cooking. These days I look at ingredients and think of Middle Eastern dishes. Today I decided to make Uroug. These fritters were so tempting to me as a child that I often got in trouble for sneaking the fritters when mom wasn’t looking. She would make a large batch and have them cooling on wire rack and I would sneak in, take one fritter top it with Amaba “pickled mangoes”, a slice of tomato and then top it with another fritter thus Uroug sandwich. So you can see why mom could never make enough of these when I was around.

Uroug is fritter composed of meat and vegetables mixed with dough then fried as patties. Thus the name Kabab Tawa or meat patties cooked in a frying pan. Recipes for Uroug vary from family to family. Some make it with ground lamb others make it with finely minced beef. They are traditionally prepared for supper, or during Suhur ( pre-dawn breakfast during the Ramadan fasting). Left overs can also be torn up and mixed with egg for breakfast.

Uroug or Kabab Tawa


1 pound lean ground meat or finely minced meat (beef or lamb) 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped or dried 1/2 cup water or broth 1 egg beaten 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon coriander 1 teaspoon baharat – 7 spice 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 cup of vegetable, canola or grape seed oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix meat, onion, tomato, parsley, egg, spices and tomato paste. Add flour, baking powder, and water then mix well to combine.

Knead light with your fingers. The final dough is little on the soft side. Add a little more flour if the dough is too runny. It should be similar to a thick pancake batter.

Heat oil in a medium pan. Carefully drop a couple of tablespoons (2 tablespoons should be enough to form a patty) into the hot oil. Cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown, flip and cook the other side another minute.

Remove and drain fried uroug on wire rack lined with paper towel.

These fritter cook quickly. Serve with slices of tomatoes, onion, scallions, chopped parsley and turnip pickles or Amaba.

I know this is not traditional holiday fair, but if your looking for something different to add to your dinner table you should give these fritters a try. I think you will love them. They are similar to Indian Pakoras.


Cooks Note: This recipe yields about 20 medium sized fritters, or 40 small fritters. This batter holds up well in the fridge over night – you may need to add a couple of tablespoons of warm water to loosen up the batter.


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