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Posts Tagged ‘turkish’

Grilled eggplant salad

Grilled Eggplant Salad

Eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables. Underneath their hard and purple exterior there is a white spongy flesh which goes well with many different flavors. They cook quickly and can be eaten with meat, as cold dishes or even salads.

A popular Turkish legend says there are more than 100 unique eggplant dishes. Even though I cannot verify that claim, I should say that eggplants are used in many different ways in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Some of those dishes are harder to cook – they involve carving, frying or stuffing the vegetable– but some are quite easy. This salad is one of the easiest and tastiest ones. I cook it quite often, it goes very well with grilled meats, or as a main dish. You can also spread it to baguettes to make some appetizers.

Traditionally, eggplants are cooked over charcoal fire for this dish.
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Baked Zucchini Patties

Baked Zucchini Patties

Just like other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern people, Turks also love stuffed vegetables. They try to fill every kind of vegetable you can think of with rice or rice-meat mixture. If the vegetable is not a leafy one, then it is hollowed out for stuffing. And zucchini patties are almost always a side dish to the stuffed zucchinis.  Every household would save the carved out tender zucchini flesh, and once the demanding stuffing procedure is done, remaining zucchini pieces are grated and turned into delicious patties.

I like very kind of zucchini dish, and this is also one of my favorites.  In it is original form, the batter is runnier and it is deep fried in olive oil. However, I follow a different, healthier interpretation. I saw this idea in another food blog (in Turkish) few years ago, and played around with the recipe a little bit.  As a result, this become one of my favorite recipes, being super easy and healthy at the same time.

It serves as a great appetizer, side dish or as a brunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs zucchini
  • 3-4 scallions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (more…)

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Keşkül, a traditional Ottoman Desert

When I was a child, there were no malls or giant shopping centers to hang around as a kid or a teenager, so only places we were allowed to hang around with friends were Pastanes, literally “house of sweets”.  Apart from traditional desert sellers who used to sell baklava and related deserts, Pastanes were filled with layered cakes, custards, rice puddings, profiteroles and variety of ice creams. Different colors of creamy desserts  used to line up behind the glass door of the cooler. As a child I used to indulge myself in soup anglaise ( a cholocate custard with little cake pieces in it) and I never understood why some people would prefer to eat something without chocolate. 😛

Later, as I grew old I became an almond addict. I became obsessed  everything with almonds, from marzipan to roasted almonds, from amaretto to almond butter. And a friend of mine asked me if I like keşkül. I remember giving him a blank look: “I never really tried it, isn’t it just a plain custard with egg yolks?” My friend told me me that it is a pudding made with grounded almonds! Thus, my search for the perfect keşkül started. (more…)

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Artichoke hearts filled w/ fava puree

Artichokes always remind me of spring.  In my hometown, Izmir they come out in the middle of spring and disappear in few weeks.  So the fresh artichoke is a delicacy that can be enjoyed for a short period of time. They are cooked in many different ways, and this is the most Aegean way I think.  🙂

Cutting up an artichoke is a pain. The edible heart of the artichoke hides under layer after layer of leaves and inedible purple ‘choke’. It is very oxidative, and turns to brown immediately and dyes the hands in a terrible way. Since the preparation is such a pain, it is a common sight in Turkey to see a people selling prepared artichokes swimming in the bucket of lemon juice on the streets.

For this dish you can either prepare the artichokes yourself or you can buy canned artichoke hearts. If you decide to do it the hard way, make sure you wear gloves and put the artichokes in lemon juice-water mixture after you cut them up until you are ready to use them.

The recipe is for four large artichokes, but it is possible to use smaller artichokes and serve them as a party dish. 😉 (more…)

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Fava: Broad Bean puree w/ olive oil.

Fava is a dish made from dried broad beans (fava beans). It is common in Mediterranean, especially in Turkey and Greece.  The buttery texture of the fava beans and their slightly bitter and nutty flavor makes this dish a special one.

Even though this dish is called fava, the word ‘fava’ does not mean ‘fava beans’ in Turkish.  Weird, I know! 😀

The Turkish word for fava beans is ‘bakla’ and all other dishes made with fava beans are called as ‘bakla’ dishes except this one.  Fava is the Italian word for broad beans, and it is possible that this dish was borrowed from Italian Levantines living in Aegean coasts.

Most of Turkish mothers do not let their young sons eat this dish, because of G6DP deficiency, which is also known as “favism” . It is very common in Turkey and eating fava beans causes hematuria in the affected individuals. So, you might want to avoid this dish if you have the G6DP deficiency. 🙂

Dried fava beans smell very weird and almost unpleasant while cooking.  Once the cooking process is done, the smell goes away, but make sure that you cook them in a well aired kitchen. (more…)

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Kısır: Turkish Bulgur Salad

Kisir or Kısır ( as spelled in its original form) is a very popular Turkish bulgur salad. It is a classic for the afternoon tea parties of the women, and generally accompanied by some borek ( cheese pastries) and tea. It resembles Tabouleh a bit, but it is not the same.

It is a very healthy  dish, contains bulgur (par-boiled whole wheat), lots of vegetables and fresh herbs, lemon juice and some olive oil.

Every family has a different kisir recipe, and they all taste different.  I like it when it is fluffy and spicy so feel free to adjust it to your own taste and add or subtract ingredients. 🙂

Most grocery stores carry bulgur for Tabouleh, but that is generally not the type you want for Kisir.  Kisir’s bulgur should be finely grounded, this way it will be softer and fluffy once soaked. If you can find a Middle Eastern or an Indian grocery store around look for No.1 or No.2 bulgur to get a better taste of this delicious salad.  If you cannot find those, you can go with the regular kind, but beware that larger grained bulgur needs more water and heat to cook than this recipe calls for. So experiment according to your taste.

Second interesting kick in this dish is Sumac.  Sumac is actually a kind of berry, and the ground form is used in Middle Eastern dishes to give a fruity sour flavor to the foods.  It is not a must, but I urge you to try it, because it is delicious. (more…)

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Ezo Gelin Soup

Ezo Gelin Soup (Bride Ezo’s Soup) is a traditional Turkish lentil soup. It’s a hearty soup that is perfect for cold winter days, made with red lentils, rice, bulgur and dried mint leaves. It contains only vegetables,legumes, and cereal so it is appropriate for vegans or vegetarians as well.

Ezo” is a female name and “gelin” means bride in Turkish. The origin of this soup is attributed to an exceptionally beautiful woman named Ezo, who married and moved from her hometown where she became homesick for her village and had to deal with a difficult mother-in-law who couldn’t be pleased. It is for her, the story goes, that Ezo created this soup.

Even though the original recipe calls for white rice, I substituted it with barley to make the recipe whole-grain.

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