Fellah Kofte – Bulgur Gnocchi In Garlic Tomato Sauce

Bulgur was never a favorite ingredient for chefs in the Ottoman palace. They preferred white rice over this nutritious cereal, whereas bulgur was a staple food item for the general public in the Ottoman land. Bulgur is simply parboiled, dried and partially de-branned wheat. It is available in most Western countries in natural and organic food stores, some mainstream supermarkets, Turkish, Arab and Greek grocers. It’s high in fiber and protein, makes a wonderful ingredient for a lot of vegetarian dishes.

Fellah Kofte is a widely known recipe in Eastern Mediterranean region of Anatolia in places such as Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Adana, Mersin and Hatay. The recipe calls for fine-ground bulgur, (“#1 Fine Grind” in the U.S. and “koftelik bulgur” in Turkey). It’s easy to make and the outcome is definitely worth the effort.

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Kaygana – Turkish Omelette

Breakfast in Turkey is not considered complete without fresh cheese, tomatoes, olives and bread. Egg dishes and/or pastry usually accompany these. A traditional recipe, despite wide variations, a common favorite of both people of rural Anatolia and the Ottoman elité, is called kaygana. It’s something in between crepés and omelette.

Again, contemporary Turkish cuisine has a tendency towards neglecting classic recipes of good old kaygana, especially those sweet ones. Savory types still have a huge crowd of fans. I know dozens of locals who frown upon recipes such as “eggplant kaygana” or “anchovy kaygana”, let alone sweet kaygana recipes. They say they hate the idea of a sweet omelette because mixing eggs with sugar/honey sounds gross, well, what’s the main ingredient in a sponge cake, or almost any cake for that matter? I can’t sympathize with them, sorry. When a classic Ottoman dish is of concern, I am ready to try it, it turns out to be delicious 99 percent of the time  and that 100th percentile never came in my way, anyway.

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Balli Mahmudiye – Lemon Chicken in Honey Apricot And Almond Sauce

Ramadan is a great time of year to revive those nearly-forgotten classic dishes of Ottoman Cuisine. Istanbul turns into a huge festive ground full of venues serving the most sophisticated delicacies from the city’s over 1000 year-old heritage. One of my favorites is Balli Mahmudiye, a lemon marinated chicken dish cooked and served in a scrumptious honey, apricot and almond sauce. I made this classic recipe today, for the first dinner of Ramadan. Hubs seemed really happy to dine on some very fine Ottoman food on the very first day of fasting. I suppose, the fact that I used hand-made copper cookware has been a contributing factor as well…

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Pide – Turkish Pizza With Various Toppings

Nothing delicate or sophisticated, just simple, cheerful, comfy and filling. This is what pide is or Turkish Pizza in other words. This archaic way of combining a hearty dough base and meaty, cheesy or vegetarian toppings is divine, especially when it meets the goodness of a wood oven. Still tastes great even if you do not have access to a wood oven.

By the way, Ramadan starts tomorrow. I am planning to throw several dinner parties for friends and family, seems so hard  though, considering the weather and long hot days of fasting ahead…

Back to our recipe… This one in the pictures were made by me and my cousin Birsel in the weekend at my parents’ place and enjoyed by around 15 people. I’ve adjusted the recipe to 4-5 people. In case you have any left overs, you can reheat them in the oven, on the stove in a pan with the lid on or just in a microwave. They are good for breakfast as well.

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Cilbir – Poached Eggs In Garlic Yogurt

Ever eaten ice-cream with a fork and a knife? I am just back from a 5-day trip to my dad’s hometown in Kahramanmaras, in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey and that’s how they eat gelato there. Kahramanmaras ice-cream includes dried orchid roots and goat’s milk as its main ingredients, is very hard and does not melt easily. The best way to eat it is with a knife and a fork.

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Mucver – Zucchini Fritters (Turkish Style)

 

I picked 10-12 huge zucchinis from my mom’s garden last weekend. Well, she forcefully made me pick them. I don’t know what’s with her?! Their place is half an hour drive from Istanbul and I guess she believes that there is no  where I can buy vegies in Istanbul! Always insists that I pack bags and bags of vegetables on my way back home. We are only two people at our place, me and hubs. We go to mom’s almost every other weekend. How many kilos of vegies can a working wife cook in two weeks? How much food can two people eat? I hate wasting food, I feel like crying when something in the fridge goes off and I have to throw it away.

Anyhoo, I took the courgettes as refusing to do so would have been a very tiresome act. I decided to make fritters, Ottoman style of course. Here is the recipe for mucver (pronounced muejvar):

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Enginarli Ispanakli Tavuk Pidesi – Chicken Pide With Artichokes and Spinach

Pide is Turkish pizza. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate artichokes into your diet and don’t know how, here’s a free-of-guilt way of eating pizza, ooppps sorry, I was supposed to say, “here’s a healthy dinner recipe” instead.

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Etli Kabak Dolmasi – Stuffed Zucchini

Yesterday, my husband and I were both out, me shopping, him working. He called me on the phone close to our meeting up time and told me that he had a surprise for me. A surprise?! I was really surprised, my hubs had a surprise for me. Thank God he didn’t tell me what it was on the phone, because he always does that and ruins the surprise, he calls up and tells “hey honey I am on my way home and I got flowers for you” and he turns up at the door and says “surpriiise!!” with a big and cute smile on his face, and I am like “duh?!” This time he kept it to himself that he bought me a book on Ottoman Cuisine. The book contains some very interesting info on 19th century dining habits of the Ottoman elite.

Anyways (thanks to the person who invented this word), back to our recipe… Stuffed vegetables, poultry and meat are very popular in Turkish cuisine. Zucchini comes the third on the list of things-to-be-stuffed, I suppose, after vine leaves and capsicum. 8-ball zucchini is one of the cutest things you can find in a garden, imho. We call them Cretan Zucchini, I don’t know why and feel quite lazy to look it up on the internet. If you have minced meat, rice, zucchini and tomatoes in your kitchen, this recipe is pretty much ok to play around with depending on your liking of herbs and spices.

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Visneli Zeytinyagli Yaprak Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves With Sour Cherries

This one’s absolutely my favorite! No need for an introduction paragraph, here it is, with all its glory, a unique Istanbul delicacy. Olive oil meets onion, rice, pine nuts, black currants, herbs and spices and the delicious sweet and sour filling is embraced by grape vine leaves and garnished with sour cherries. Divine! I’ve always wondered who came up with this idea first? To roll all that goodness into the leaves of some climbing plant. I wish I could thank him/her for making me fatter! Anyhoo… Making stuffed vine leaves in olive oil with sour cherries is not that hard, it is just time consuming and needs great attention to detail.

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Erikli Kuzu Yahni – Lamb In Plum Sauce

 

I lived an almost vegetarian life till I was 18. I was thinking that eating beef and chicken was gross. Chewing on an animal’s flesh? Yuck! Lamb? Unthinkable! I was in Sydney, studying at university, something got into me and suddenly becoming a carnivore didn’t seem to be so bad after all. I started with chicken and now I am a big fan of lamb! A properly cooked juicy tender leg of lamb dish is my early ticket to heaven.

For those of you who think that lamb stinks, there is an exclusive breed of sheep native to the Thracian part of Turkey (Edirne, Kirklareli, Tekirdag and Istanbul) called Kivircik (kivirjik) smell of which is almost indistinguishable from beef. It resembles the Castilian “churra, less fatty, but still tender and juicy. Heavenly!

A combination of meat and fruits always appealed to my taste buds. This dish reminds me of the Chinese version, this one is closer to my cultural upbringing for sure. Here is the traditional Turkish / Ottoman way of combining plums with lamb:

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Published in: on July 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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