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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