Around the World in Twelve Plates – Turkey
I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I am having with Around the World in Twelve Plates. It’s like travelling the world without even leaving your home and since we don’t have any plans to leave Calgary any time soon I’m just going to think of this series as a food staycation. This month Turkey was not so randomly chosen as our country because Gabby (The Food Girl in Town) WAS actually travelling there for the whole month of July. It wasn’t really a vacation though, because she was going to Cadir Hoyuk to work on an archaeolgical dig. Funny the things you learn about each other through blogger collaborations, I have a degree in Palaeontology but my digging experience was also archaeological in nature.The greatest thing, however, is that we both love adventurous cooking. I was excited to learn that there is a very easy, nutritious and absolutely delicious traditional soup that is eaten at the beginning of many meals in Turkey and even sometimes as breakfast. Ezo Gelin Corba is a spicy soup made with red lentils, bulgur wheat, spicy red pepper paste, and tomato paste. It is finished using traditional Turkish flavourings such the combination of dried mint and lemons. I made this soup the same day I made the full Turkish meal for dinner, so it was a pretty busy day but both my hubby and son really enjoyed the special soup for lunch that day.
The great thing about the meal I made is that you can make some of the dishes ahead of time. In fact, both the Tabbouleh and Piyaz salads are better when they’ve sat overnight in the fridge. With only a little searching on the internet I found a really informative and traditionally styled Turkish blog called Ozlem’s Turkish Table. It’s a bit difficult to navigate but if you know what recipes you are searching for you can just use the search feature. Ozlem’s blog contains a treasure trove of Turkish recipes and it’s worth checking out. I only included the recipes for the Ezo Gelin Corba and Piyaz Salad below. If you want to look up the other recipes I made, here are the links:
Tabbouleh here. I’m not actually sure if I used a recipe but this is a general, though more herb-y tabbouleh than the one I made for this post.
Sauteed carrots in olive oil and garlic yoghurt here.
Kadinbudu Kofte/Lady’s Thigh Meatballs here.
The Sautéed Carrot in garlic yoghurt and olive oil sauce is just so good. It’s amazing. It made the perfect bed for the Kadinbudu Kofte, or Lady’s Thigh Meatballs and it would be great slathered all over some traditional Turkish bread too. I don’t really know the back story of why anyone would want to name a meatball after a lady’s thigh but it probably has some sort of historical context. We just really enjoyed the flavour of the beef/lamb mixture. I can appreciate how these would be better coated in bread crumbs and fried but I just don’t do that. They worked out just fine being baked in my oven.
I was pretty happy to have found a great recipe base for one of my favourite Turkish salads. For a while I was pretty addicted to the delicious Piyaz sold at Anatolia Restaurant in the Crossroads Farmer’s Market. Their version has navy beans in it so I just added a cup of cooked beans to Ozlem’s recipe to adjust to my liking.
You might have noticed that all of these dishes have flat leaf parsley in them (except the soup). I had a huge amount growing in my garden in the back and ended up using it all for this meal! So, if you have an abundance of parsley this year, try cooking Turkish cuisine to use it all up.
- 3 medium tomatoes; de-seeded, quartered and roughly chopped
- 1 red onion; halved and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley; roughly chopped
- 1 cup canned navy beans
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 15ml/1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 10 ml/2 teaspoon ground sumac
- ½ teaspoon paprika flakes – optional –
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rub and work sumac and the salt into the onion slices with your hands really well (this will soften the onions and help spices infuse in well).
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes, parsley and paprika flakes, combine well.
- Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the piyaz salad. Season with more salt (if needed) and freshly ground black pepper.
Ezo Gelin Corba/Turkish Spicy Red Lentil and Bulgur Soup
- 290 gr/1 cup split red lentils; rinsed and drained
- 1 onion; finely chopped
- 45 ml / 3 tablespoon coarse bulgur wheat; rinsed and drained
- 1.75 litres / 7 1/2 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 60 ml / 4 tablespoon tomato paste
- 15ml/ 1 tablespoon Turkish hot red pepper paste (I used mild)
- 30-45 ml / 2-3 tablespoon olive oil or butter/ghee
- 15 ml / 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 10 ml / 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes / paprika flakes (I used 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Put the lentils, bulgur wheat, onion and the chicken stock or water together in a pan.
- Bring to boil and then on a low heat simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur are tender.
- Stir in the butter (or olive oil), the dried mint, the red pepper flakes, Turkish hot pepper flakes (optional), and the tomato paste.
- Mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has a creamy consistency.
- Add the lemon juice and more water if required, then season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot with lemon wedges.
A huge part of the fun of ATW12P (besides finding out what the next country will be) is reading the posts from the other participating bloggers. Will they make the other recipes that I was looking over…will they go for a full meal or keep it to one simple and tasty dish? To read the other blogger’s ATW12P Turkey posts, simple click on one of the links below:
Korena at Korena in the Kitchen Turkish Simit Bread
Gabby at The Food Girl In Town experienced THE REAL DEAL during her month in Turkey
Nicoletta and Loreto at Sugar Love Spices Swiss Chard & Feta Turkish Gozleme