Iraqi Baharat (Spices)
Iraqi cuisine has its origins in Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, ancient Persians, and Mesopotamian Arabs. The first cookbooks in the world were found in Iraq from tablets found in ancient ruins in Iraq that show recipes prepared in the temples during religious festivals. Ancient Iraq was home to a highly sophisticated advanced civilization, in many different fields of knowledge, also in the culinary arts. Baghdad was the Islamic Golden Age and the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258) where the Iraqi kitchen reached its peak. At the present time, Iraqi cuisine reflects the rich inheritance as well as strong influences from the culinary traditions of its surrounding neighboring Iran, Turkey, and Syria.
Souk Al-Shorja market is one of the oldest markets in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and was known as Al-Rayaheen market in the Abbasid era. “Shorja” means “salty water” in Arabic, there was once a well where the market resides at the present time. It is continuing to embellish with the beautiful colors of different spices with distinctive smells, that attract the passengers to the market. The most popular types of Iraqi Baharat or spices are allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin, Noomi Basra (dry lemon), and paprika. This market has continued and preserved the style of its shops, and stores, which are crowded with shoppers and merchants.