Yoghurt has a special place in Turkish cuisine; some of the finest yoghurt in the world is made in Turkey and is included in some way at most family meal times such as in soups like in Yayla Corbasi, mezzes, marinations for the meat and more. Praised for its health-giving qualities, yoghurt is rich in calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins and has earned a reputation as one of the most valuable health foods.
This simple but very delicious Turkish mezze, incorporating yoghurt and sautéed carrots was a big hit at my Turkish cookery class last Saturday; delighted to hear that it has inspired the participants and they look forward to having a go at it. This delicious mezze is offered at Kebab Houses all around Turkey, and in most lokantas. The mild & sweet sautéed carrots go really well with the garlicky yoghurt and make a wonderful dip or a delicious accompaniment to grilled meat and vegetables. At the class, we served this creamy mezze next to the pistachio lamb kebabs with roasted vegetables; flavors complemented each other really well. You can prepare this mezze ahead of time and keep the left overs in the fridge for the next day.
Serves 4 Preparation time: 15 – 20 minutes
3-4 medium carrots, grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed in sea salt
450gr/16 oz. / 2 cups natural plain yoghurt – whole milk yoghurt recommended-
30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to serve
Heat the olive oil in a wide heavy pan and sauté the grated carrots for 3 -4 minutes, until they are about to soften up, but still a little crunchy. Turn the heat off and leave them to cool aside.
In the meantime, crush the garlic clove in sea salt and stir them into the bowl of yoghurt. When cooled, combine the sautéed carrots into the yoghurt bowl and give a good mix. Stir in the chopped parsley and mix well.
You can serve this wonderful mezze with slices of flat bread, pitta bread or crackers, or with sliced vegetables like celery, broccoli, cawliflower to dip in. It also complements grilled meat and vegetables beautifully.
Ready to be back home; Istanbul Here We Come ! : )
“Ozlem’cigim, Mevlubi’yi hazirlamaya basladim, size dort gozle bekliyoruz” in English, “My dear Ozlem, I am getting the Mevlubi ready, so look forward to seeing you all” says my dear mother warmly over the phone. Mevlubi is a special Antakya style dish, consisting of delicious layers of sautéed aubergine (eggplant), potato, onions, meat and rice, all cooked together, then turned upside down. It looks like one very impressive savory cake, and once it is on the table, you know it is a special occasion and you are there for a treat. Food has always been the focal point in Turkish culture; and cooking for family and friends have been our way of telling them that they are special, that we care for them.
What makes a place special for you? In these days, I am full of excitement of going back home, and reflecting on the reasons why my home land, Turkey, is so special for me. Sure, there are the family and friends, that you long to see and they look forward to seeing you. Now that I have my own small children, I cherish every opportunity to go back home, get them know their roots and reconnect, so very special.
Then there are all the amazing sites like the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and more await you; they were there centuries ago, still intact and take your breath away, enrich your soul.
But then there is the spontaneous, unconditional kindness, generosity from the heart that welcomes you at home. Like, while we were in Antakya, these local children, a little shy, but also curious, eagerly wanting to show us around and tell the story of the St Peter’s Church.
Or this vendor selling pine nuts and regional honey in Pergamom, offering us to sample the pine nuts– along with the complimentary cay, Turkish tea!-. Or the abundance of cay offering, as a sign of hospitality, wherever you are; in banks, visiting homes, shops, everywhere!: )
It is this generosity from the heart, hospitality that really makes home special for me. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of things I greatly wish that would improve at home – starting from the traffic!- but when I look back, it is this happy memories, time well spent with family and friends, the kindness of people stays with me. That’s all I remember.
I hope you keep on making happy memories wherever your destination is and I look forward to be in touch from Istanbul soon!
Happy Travels, Iyi Yolculuklar,