Arooq Recipe - Delicious Iraqi Dish with Ground Chicken and Spices


Arooq Recipe - Delicious Iraqi Dish with Ground Chicken and Spices
Region / culture: Iraq | Preparation time: 1 hour | Cooking time: 5 minutes per batch | Servings: 4



Arooq, a delightful and savory fritter, is a versatile dish that can be made with ground chicken, fish, or lamb. This recipe focuses on a version made with ground chicken, seasoned with a blend of spices including turmeric and cayenne pepper, and enriched with the fresh zest of green chili and scallions. Arooq fritters are a perfect appetizer or snack, offering a crispy exterior and a tender, flavorful interior. This dish is not only a treat to the taste buds but also a journey into a rich culinary tradition.


The origins of Arooq trace back to Middle Eastern cuisine, where meat and spices are combined in various forms to create dishes that are rich in flavor and history. Over time, the recipe has traveled and evolved, incorporating local ingredients and cooking techniques. The version with ground chicken is a relatively modern adaptation, designed to cater to a wide range of dietary preferences while maintaining the essence of the original recipe.


How to prepare

  1. Cut off 1 inch of the white, onion-like part of the scallion, as well as the top green section.
  2. You do not need them.
  3. Cut the middle sections in half lengthwise, and then finely chop these strips.
  4. Put the ground chicken/fish/lamb in a bowl.
  5. Add turmeric, cayenne pepper, green chili, salt, black pepper, scallions, and flour. Mix well.
  6. Add the eggs and mix again.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (you can even make the mixture a day ahead of time).
  8. Just before you are ready to eat, pour enough oil into a wok or karhai to come to a depth of 1 inch.
  9. Heat the oil over a low flame.
  10. Allow it to heat up.
  11. Use two soup spoons to shape the fritters.
  12. Take a ball of the chicken mixture, about 1 inch in diameter, on the front end of the spoons.
  13. Help release it into the hot oil with the second spoon.
  14. Make as many balls as will fit easily in one layer.
  15. Stir and fry them until they are golden brown on the outside and cooked inside.
  16. This should take about 5 minutes. Adjust the heat if necessary.
  17. Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.
  18. Make all the fritters in the same way.
  19. Serve them hot.


  • For a lighter version, Arooq can be baked instead of fried, reducing the fat content. Additionally, experimenting with different ground meats or adding finely chopped vegetables can offer a new flavor profile and nutritional benefits.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best results, ensure the ground chicken is not too lean, as a bit of fat helps keep the fritters moist. Chilling the mixture before frying helps in forming the fritters and prevents them from falling apart in the oil. Use a thermometer to keep the oil at a consistent temperature, preventing the fritters from absorbing too much oil or becoming too greasy.

Serving Suggestions

Arooq fritters are best served hot, accompanied by a side of tangy yogurt dip or a fresh cucumber salad to balance the spices. They can also be wrapped in a lettuce leaf for a low-carb option.

Cooking Techniques

Deep frying is the traditional method for cooking Arooq, providing a crispy texture. However, for a healthier alternative, air frying or baking can achieve a similar texture with less oil.

Ingredient Substitutions

For those with dietary restrictions, gluten-free flour can replace white flour, and flaxseed meal mixed with water can be a vegan substitute for eggs.

Make Ahead Tips

The Arooq mixture can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, making it a convenient option for quick meals or unexpected guests.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Arooq on a platter garnished with lemon wedges and fresh herbs. A drizzle of tahini sauce or a sprinkle of sesame seeds can add an extra touch of elegance.

Pairing Recommendations

Arooq pairs wonderfully with a crisp, dry white wine or a light beer. Non-alcoholic options include sparkling water with a squeeze of lime to refresh the palate.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Arooq can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in an oven or air fryer to maintain crispiness.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Arooq contains approximately 250 calories, making it a relatively light option that can fit into a balanced diet without tipping the calorie scale.


Each serving of Arooq contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from the flour and the small amount of vegetables used. This makes it a moderate carbohydrate option suitable for most diets.


The fat content in Arooq can vary depending on the choice of meat and the amount of oil absorbed during frying. On average, a serving contains about 15 grams of fat, a portion of which is healthier unsaturated fats from the vegetable oil used for frying.


Arooq is an excellent source of protein, with each serving providing roughly 20 grams. This high protein content makes it a satisfying and nourishing choice for meal times or as a hearty snack.

Vitamins and minerals

These fritters are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B6, phosphorus, selenium, and niacin, all of which are crucial for energy metabolism and overall health. The green chili and scallions also add a modest amount of Vitamin C and dietary fiber.


The primary allergens in this recipe include eggs and wheat (from the flour). Those with allergies to these ingredients should consider suitable substitutions.


Overall, Arooq offers a balanced mix of nutrients, including proteins, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious addition to any meal.


Arooq is a versatile and flavorful dish that combines the richness of ground meat with the zest of spices and herbs. Whether served as an appetizer or a main dish, it offers a delightful culinary experience that is both nutritious and satisfying. With options for customization and make-ahead preparation, Arooq is a perfect addition to any meal plan.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a happy one. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in a small village in the Middle East. My family had always been passionate about food, and I had grown up watching my mother and grandmother cook delicious meals for us every day.

One day, while I was out exploring the market, I stumbled upon a small corner shop that was known for selling exotic spices and ingredients. The shopkeeper, an elderly man with a twinkle in his eye, welcomed me warmly and invited me to look around. As I browsed through the shelves, my eyes fell upon a small jar filled with a mysterious spice blend that I had never seen before.

Curious, I asked the shopkeeper about it. He smiled and told me that it was a special spice mix called Arooq, which was used in a traditional dish from his homeland. Intrigued, I begged him to tell me more about it. He chuckled and agreed, saying that he would share the recipe with me if I promised to keep it a secret.

He began to tell me about how Arooq was a beloved dish in his culture, made with a combination of fragrant spices, tender lamb, and fluffy rice. He explained that the key to a perfect Arooq was in the careful preparation of the spices, which needed to be toasted and ground just right to bring out their full flavor.

I listened intently, hanging on his every word as he shared the secrets of this exotic dish with me. I could practically smell the enticing aroma of the spices as he described them, and my mouth watered at the thought of tasting it.

After he had finished explaining the recipe to me, the shopkeeper handed me a small packet of Arooq spice blend and a handwritten recipe on a piece of yellowed paper. He winked at me and told me to give it a try, promising that it would be a meal to remember.

Excited, I rushed home to share my discovery with my family. My mother and grandmother were equally intrigued by the exotic new spice blend, and together we set out to recreate the Arooq dish that I had learned about.

We gathered all the necessary ingredients and set to work, following the recipe with care and precision. The kitchen was filled with the warm, comforting scents of the spices as they toasted in the pan, and the rich aroma of the lamb as it simmered on the stove.

As the dish began to take shape, my family and I worked together to layer the flavors and textures, building a dish that was both complex and comforting. I could feel the connection to the shopkeeper and his homeland as we cooked, each of us adding our own touch to the recipe.

Finally, after hours of patient cooking, the Arooq was ready. We gathered around the table, eager to taste the fruits of our labor. The dish was a symphony of flavors, with the warm spices mingling with the tender lamb and fluffy rice to create a dish that was truly special.

As we ate, the memories of that day in the market came flooding back to me. I could still see the shopkeeper's twinkling eyes and hear his laughter as he shared his recipe with me. I realized that this dish was more than just a meal - it was a connection to a world beyond my own, a reminder of the power of food to bring people together and create lasting memories.

Since that day, Arooq has become a beloved dish in our family, a recipe that we make on special occasions and share with friends and loved ones. Every time we cook it, I am reminded of the shopkeeper and his generosity in sharing his culture with me, and I am grateful for the memories and flavors that he brought into my life.

As I grow older, I find myself passing on the recipe for Arooq to my own children and grandchildren, sharing with them the story of how I discovered this dish and the joy it has brought me over the years. I hope that they, too, will find connection and comfort in this recipe, and that it will continue to be a source of happiness and togetherness for generations to come.


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