A traditional Iraqi breakfast is made with flavorful stewed meat and eggs, but this vegetarian makhlama is a delicious mushroom and chickpea makhlama.
Makhlama is a traditional Iraqi breakfast. Traditionally, it is served with ground lamb or ground beef. If you’ve ever been to Busboys & Poets in DC, you’ll see it served on their menu for brunch. The preparation is similar to shakshuka in that the eggs are typically cracked right into the stew and steamed or baked. Personally, I prefer poached eggs so that’s how I served mine. If you want to save yourself a dish, throw them in right with the stew!
In this vegetarian makhlama, I minced a variety of mushrooms to create a meaty texture but I also added chickpeas to add a bit of protein.
The key to this recipe is loading up with spices. This is a flavorful and aromatic dish, so you want to go a little heavy-handed with the spices.
How to Make Mushroom and Chickpea Makhlama:
This recipe is so unbelievably easy to prepare and you’ll have breakfast (or dinner!) on the table in no time.
First, cook the onion and then add the mushrooms. Be sure to cook the mushrooms in batches. They need to release their liquid in order to turn golden brown around the edges. Give them enough space in the pot to brown evenly.
Next, add the spices. If you can find a Baharat spice mixture, use that. Otherwise, use curry powder. Add a bit of extra cumin and, if you like heat, add additional cayenne powder and crushed red pepper to taste.
From there, simply add chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, and lots of fresh parsley. Add water or stock and allow the makhlama to simmer for about 30 minutes until thickened.
While the makhlama simmers, prepare the poached eggs (or after the makhlama simmers, crack the eggs into wells in the stew and cover and steam for 5 minutes or until the whites are set).
That’s it! Serve it with grilled bread and a sprinkle of sumac will add some nice brightness to the dish at the end.
Tip: If you want to save on prep time, mince the mushrooms in a food processor!
Looking for more vegetarian recipes? Check my archives!
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Mushroom and Chickpea Makhlama
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 1 pound mixed mushrooms such as oyster, maitake, shiitake, or baby bella; small-diced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder or Baharat, if you can find it
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne powder more or less to taste
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper more or less to taste
- 15- ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 3 ripe tomatoes chopped
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh parsley chopped (a pinch reserved for garnish)
- 1 cup water or stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 eggs
- Toasted bread
- A pinch of sumac
- Aleppo pepper
Cook the onion:
- Heat the avocado oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes until it softens.
Cook the mushrooms:
- Add the mushrooms, in two batches, and cook for 10 minutes until they begin to soften and brown. Season with salt and pepper.
Bloom the spices:
- Add the curry powder, cumin, cayenne powder, and crushed red pepper to the mushrooms and stir to coat the vegetables in the spices. Cook for 45 seconds until fragrant.
Add the chickpeas:
- Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and all but a pinch or two of the parsley and stir to combine. Taste and season lightly with salt and pepper once more.
Simmer the makhlama:
- Add 1 cup of water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over very low heat, uncovered, for 30 minutes. If the liquid evaporates too quickly, add more water in 1/4 cup increments as needed. Once the makhlama is very thick, turn off the heat.
Prepare the eggs:
- During the last 10 minutes of the makhlama simmer, prepare the eggs how you like. Try this recipe with poached or sunny side up. You may also make four wells in the makhlama and crack the eggs into them and cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- If poaching, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add distilled vinegar along with salt. Reduce heat to a simmer that is just barely bubbling. Strain off excess whites through a sieve and use the back of a wooden spoon to create a whirlpool. Drop the egg into the whirlpool and continue on with three more eggs. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Divide the makhlama between bowls and place an egg on top. Garnish with more parsley and a pinch of sumac and Aleppo red pepper flakes. Enjoy!