Monthly Archives: July 2013

Turkish Taboulleh-(Kisir)

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According to the poll results, I decided to share Kisir recipe with you. Thank you for participating 😉 Kisir is  one of my favorite side dishes. It is similar to taboulleh but it is much spicier. I have made kisir many times for my international friends and also for street fair events. I haven’t met anyone from any culture, country who doesn’t not like Kisir 🙂 It is really easy, healthy, and delicious appetizer.

In Turkish culture, Kisir is essential of afternoon tea hour, especially for housewives. This bulghur salad makes me fell naughty, awake, and happy 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups cracked wheat (fine)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2 bunch of italian parsley, minced
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp red pepper paste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (if you don’t have pepper paste, use 3 tbsp tomato paste)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • red pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cups of olive oil
  • boiling water(1-1/2 cups)

Method:

In a bowl, place cracked wheat along with enough boiling water to cover. Then cover bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to stand for 20 minutes. This is a good time to chop veggies if you haven’t done so already.

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Fluff the bulghur wheat with a fork to loosen and to remove any crumbles. If the wheat is crunchy add more boiling water, if required leave to stand a bit longer. If not, add tomato and pepper pastes, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and red pepper, and knead well with your hands until the bulghur mixture sticks together well.

Then mix in parsley, dill, green onion,  and olive oil. Cover with stretch film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Now, Turkish taboulleh is ready to eat. If you like sour, you can add more lemon juice and you can serve with romaine lettuce leaves.

Meatball and Vegetable Casserole-(Izmir Kofte)


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This is one of the famous dish which can be either cooked in the oven or on top of the stove. It is generally served with rice pilaf. This meatball recipe is different than Grilled Turkish Meatball recipe, because this time we add onion, egg and spices.

Ingredients:

  For the Meatballs:

  • 450 gr /1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 2 slices of stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 bunch finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

  For the casserole:

  • 1 lb medium potatoes, sliced
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 240 ml / 1 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

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In a large bowl, mix all meatball ingredients and knead well till the mixture resembles a soft dough. With wet hands take a piece the size of a large walnut and roll into a large finger shape about 1 inch thick. Continue until all the mixture is used. Then create layers with the meatballs and the vegetables. (As you can see in the pictures I lightly fried potatoes but you don’t have to fry it.)

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In a small bowl, mix tomato paste, water and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Cover it with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 400F and bake it for about 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce has thickened.

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Turkish Bagel-(Simit)

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Because of living abroad, I’m certainly missing Turkish foods, especially street foods. I’m sure many of you also missing who are far away from homeland! Turkish bagel is the most popular snack at home, work, or school. You can have Turkish bagel for breakfast with a cup of tea, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese/cream cheese and olives.

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Turkish bagel is the fast food of Turkey. There are mobile stalls everywhere in every city, especially in Istanbul. There are also many Simit Houses all around the country, where you can have simit with various fillings such as olive paste, cream cheese, kasar cheese(similar to mozzarella).

Turkish bagel (Simit) was the only food that I missed a lot when I came to U.S. I don’t remember how many times I tried simit recipes at home. But finally I made my own recipe. I hope you enjoy with this recipe as much as I did.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr (3 1/4 cups) bread flour
  • 300ml (1 1/3cups) lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp yeast + 1/4 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup)  molasses, like syrup
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1-1/2 cups of sesame seeds

If you have a standing mixer or bread machine the dough is pretty easy to make. If you don’t, you’ll do some exercise kneading the dough, which is not a bad thing I suppose.

In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Stir well so the yeast dissolves. Let it rest for 15 minutes – it will become foamy.

For making the dough, Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, then add the yeast mixture and stir. Put the dough on the counter and knead 15 minutes, until it becomes very smooth. Don’t flour the counter to knead the dough! Then cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 7-8 even sized pieces. Combine the molasses with 1cup water and 1tbsp flour in a large bowl. Place the sesame seeds on a large plate.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, use your hands to roll the dough out to make 40 cm (16″) long ropes. Fold in half so two ends align, then lift off the board and use your hands to twist each rectangle into a two stranded “rope”. Place back on the work surface and join the ends together to make a circle, pressing the ends firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough to make circles.

Preheat the oven to 460F and line a large size baking tray with baking paper. Dip each ring, first into the molasses mixture, immersing completely to coat, then drain well and toss in the sesame seeds, turning gently to coat. Transfer to the prepared tray and set aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes, to puff slightly. Spray some cold water on the sesame rings and the walls of oven using a spray bottle, then place the two trays on the second rack of the oven side by side.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until deep golden and cooked through.

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Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Simit are best eaten on the day of making but will keep, frozen in an airtight container, for up to 3-4 weeks.

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Lentil Soup-(Mercimek Corbasi)

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Soup is such an important dish in the culture that I grow up. In Turkey, especially in my family I cannot imagine a dinner without a soup 🙂 When I was a little kid lentil soup was the only dish that I was eating for every meal. Now, most of the kids have same  routine, lentil soup is a must dish for them.

This recipe is from Turkish cuisine and it is healthy, simple, yummy and absolutely hearty 🙂 In general this soup is served with a lemon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large size onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium size potato, chopped
  • 1 cup of red split lentil, washed and drained
  • 5 cups of water or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp groung cumin
  • black pepper, red pepper, oregano
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Method:

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in the pot. Fry the onion, carrot and potato until they start to soften but are not browned. Onions should be transparent. Then add lentils, water or chicken stock, salt and spices.

Once boiling reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the carrots and lentils are tender. Turn off the heat and let the soup cool down for a few minutes. Blend in a food blender, or if you have hand blender blend the soup in pot. If you like hot, you can add extra paprika to the bowl.

Serve steaming hot with wedges of lemons. Squeeze liberally in to the soup to taste. You can serve the soup with a piece of crusty bread.

Click to see how to make this soup in a short video.

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant-(Karniyarik)

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This is one of the best dishes in Turkish cuisine. Turkish Stuffed Eggplant is a five-star dishes and  it is served almost all restaurants in Turkey. Translation of “Karniyarik” is split belly. 🙂 The eggplant belly is split and stuffed with a mince. If you like eggplant, I strongly suggest you to try this recipe. 😉

Ingredients:

  • 5 small eggplants
  • 1/3 lb ground beef
  • 2 green peppers, sliced, for topping
  • 1 tomato, sliced, for topping
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2tbsp olive oil for filling
  • 5tbsp olive oil for eggplant
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

To bake stuffed eggplant:

  • 1cub hot water
  • 1tbsp pepper or tomato paste

Method:

  • Turkish-stuffed-eggplant-karniyarik-7Wash and peel the eggplants lengthwise with strips. Poke holes on each eggplant to make them cook quicker.
  • Place the eggplants on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Or if you want you can fry them as a whole in a deep pot with oil until golden brown.
  • While eggplants bake, heat 2tbsp olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Break up the beef and add it to the pan, along with the salt and pepper. Cook until the meat browns, approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the parsley and tomatoes.
  • Turkish-stuffed-eggplant-karniyarik-6  Once you are done with first round of baking the eggplants,stuff them with the ground beef filling. Top each one with strips of bell pepper and the sliced tomatoes.
  • Turkish-stuffed-eggplant-karniyarik-5Mix 1 tbsp pepper or tomato paste with 1 cup water andget a reddish water. Pour it directly in the oven tray.  Bake them at 400F until tomatoes and green peppers are baked (about 20 min).

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Stuffed Zucchini – (Kabak Dolmasi)

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The summer season has already begun and summer vegetables are fresh. I think it is time to try new recipe with fresh summer zucchini. In Turkish cuisine stuffing vegetables are common which is called as a “dolma”. This recipe requires a little effort but I don’t want to daunt you. Believe me you will love taste and it’s impressive!

Ingredients:

  • 4 zucchini
  • 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp rice, washed and drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper

To bake stuffed zucchini:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

Method:

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Wash and lightly peal zucchini. Trim ends and cut zucchini crosswise in half depending on the length of the zucchini – 3″ pieces are good. With a melon-ball cutter, starting from the wider end, hollow out each zucchini half to form a cup, leaving about 1/2 inch intact at bottom. If you don’t have melon-ball cutter you can use small knife or small spoon.

To prepare the filling, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. And then fill zucchini with a spoon. If you have an extra filling you can fill tomato or bell pepper what you have in your fridge. 😉

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Then stand all stuffed zucchini in a pot (see photo) and if you have extra tomato or bell pepper arrange them, too.

Turkish-stuffed-zucchini-4Lastly, in a small bowl mix 1 cup of boiled water and 1 tbsp tomato paste and then pour over and into tops of zucchini. If You think that amount of water is not enough, you can add hot water because there should be about 2″ of water in the pot.

Cover. Turn on high heat and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

You should serve with plain yogurt, if you like you can add some crushed fresh garlic.

Bean Salad-Turkish Piyaz

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I thought that the best side dish as an accompaniment with authentic Turkish meatball (Akcaabat kofte) is bean salad. As I mentioned previously, meatballs are served in general with chips, fries, or grilled tomato, green pepper, eggplant, and mushroom as I mentioned in meatball recipe. However, In Turkey kofte is being served with bean salad. The classic dressing for Turkish salad is olive oil and lemon. However, for this salad you should add vinegar because it gives zingy taste.

Ingredients:  

  • 1 can white beans (pre-cooked and drained)
  • 6-7 finely sliced lettuce leaves
  • 1 onion, sliced very finely
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp  vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tsp sumac
  • Salt to taste
  • black pepper

Method:

In a small bowl, knead onion, salt, and sumac with your hands so that the bitter juice of onion are released, then squeeze out the remaining onion juice. It is the Turkish way of treating onion. LOL!

Stir together the treated onion with lemon juice, vinegar, and black pepper.

Arrange the finely sliced lettuce leaves on a salad plate, than add beans, and lastly garnish with treated onion. Pour the olive oil on top.

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Grilled Turkish Meatball (Akcaabat Kofte)

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Meatball is one of the traditional culinary culture of Turkish cuisine. Being Turkish, I cannot  deny how important grilling and meat in our culture.  This “Akcaabat” meatball is one of the famous type of meatball recipes.  These small meatballs are both healthy and delicious, because they are cooked with spices. They are cooked on the grill and served hot. I made these balls for my friends yesterday and they loved them. So, I thought that I should share the recipe. Also, I strongly recommend that you should sprinkle some oregano and chili pepper on meatballs. You can serve them with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, eggplant, and mushroom. Although they are called as a meat”ball”, Turkish meatballs’ shape are not like a ball. LOL!! Here is the simple recipe that you can easily prepare in just minutes. 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1pound Lamb, minced, preferably with some fat
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp black pepper
  • 1-1/2 minced garlic
  • 75gr crushed rusk

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In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients and then form into round, slightly flat 2-inch meatballs and place onto the grill.

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