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Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant (aubergine) slices – Patlican Dilimli Uskup Kofte

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices.

Turkish meatballs wrapped in eggplant slices – Patlican Dilimli Uskup Kofte



How wonderful it is to be able to post recipes again; my laptop was broken and I couldn’t post for quite a while, sincere apologies for that. So lovely to share food and recipes again!

This is a very special dish that I make when I have a little extra time; it is very delicious and looks lovely, so it’s worth every effort. You can bake ahead of time and the leftovers can be frozen successfully. The succulent slices of eggplant around the meatballs are just heavenly. Served with plain rice and cucumber&yoghurt; dip, it makes a very special dinner to share.

Patlican, (eggplant or aubergine) is our national vegetable – it is actually fruit, as it has seeds- and one can argue we Turks have over 200 recipes featuring the beloved eggplant! They have high water content (and very low in fat), so the trick is to generously salt the eggplant slices and drain all the bitter juices before cooking, otherwise the eggplant gets soggy.

I hope you give this special dish a try sometime and could share with family and friends.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 50 minutes Cooking time: 40-45 minutes

For the meatballs:
450gr/1lb lean ground beef, lamb or mixture
1 medium onion, grated
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 medium eggs
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5ml/1teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

3-4 medium eggplants
1 medium potato, skinned and sliced
Green or red pointy (or bell) peppers, coarsely sliced
1 onion, coarsely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
5m/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes (or chili flakes)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
8fl oz/1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F

Sunflower or canola oil for shallow frying of eggplants

In order to make the meatballs, combine all the items in a large bowl and knead with your hands until all combined well. Grease a baking tray with a little olive oil (or sunflower oil). Take a walnut size of the meatball mixture and roll like an oval shape, carry on with making the meatballs until all the mixture is finished, and place them on the greased tray. Bake the meatballs for about 15-20 minutes, until they are partially cooked and firm enough to be wrapped with the eggplant slices.


Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplants lengthways, about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel. Then shallow fry them in the canola oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

On a board, put an eggplant slice and place one meatball the middle and roll like a cigar. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant slices. Place the eggplant&meatball; roll seamide down, in a baking tray.

Place the sliced potatoes, onions and peppers amongst the eggplant rolls in the tray. Add the canned tomatoes and water, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the red pepper flakes. Bake the dish in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Please check towards the end if more water is needed and add some to the baking tray.

Serve the eggplant &meatball; rolls and the vegetables hot with plain rice by the side. Cucumber, garlic and yoghurt (Cacik, under Mezes and Appetizers in this blog) meze also would complement this delicious dish well.

Afiyet Olsun!

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Tender chunks of chicken breast wrapped in eggplant (aubergine) slices -Patlıcanlı İslim kebabı





Tender pieces of chicken wrapped in eggplant slices; Islim Kebabi; a special treat.

Tender pieces of chicken wrapped in eggplant slices; Islim Kebabi; a special treat.

This elegant Ottoman dish is a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth experience of soft eggplant slices, tender chicken pieces and a sturdy tomato sauce, featuring Turks’ beloved eggplant (aubergine), patlican. Traditionally chunks of lamb or beef are used, and I made this version with chicken breast. Marinating the chicken as below really makes the meat tenderer and add a lot of flavor.

Wrapping the chicken in strips of lightly fried eggplant may take a little time to prepare but it is absolutely worth it and the result is impressive and very tasty. You can also bake this dish a day in advance and keep in the fridge, which makes it a great entertaining feast. Any leftovers can also be kept in the freezer.

For us Turks, cooking for family and friends have been an important way of showing that we care for them, and I do think, this is one of the nicest ways of showing your affection. The pleasure of having friends and family gathered around the table sharing your food and savoring the moment, is for me one of life’s greatest pleasures. This special dish I am sure would fit the bill perfectly and I do hope it would bring you all a lot of pleasure.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes (+20 minutes for the eggplants)

3 long aubergine/eggplants (dark purple Holland eggplants)
Canola oil for shallow frying
1 medium tomato, halved and sliced
1 green bell pepper, halved and sliced lengthways
30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil to saute the chicken breasts

For marinating the chicken:
385gr/13 1/2oz chicken breast, cut in small chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
30ml/2 tablespoon natural plain yoghurt
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
10ml/2 teaspoon tomato paste
5-10ml/1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsley chopped
Left over green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste
8fl oz/1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F

First marinate the chicken. In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the marination ingredients listed above and mix well. Cover and keep in the fridge at least for 30 minutes. This marination adds a wonderful flavor to the chicken and make the chicken breast tenderer. You can also prepare this marination a day in advance and keep in the fridge, covered.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) length ways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplants length ways, about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel. Then shallow fry them in the canola oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the marinated chicken breast. Sauté for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and black pepper and take out the meat to cool off.

On a board or a plate, place one eggplant slice horizontally and the other slice vertically on top of each other and place the meat mixture in the middle. Fold over the slices to wrap the meat mixture and place eggplant package seamside down, in a greased baking tray. Lay a small slice of tomato on top and then the green pepper and fasten the structure with a cocktail stick. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant slices. (If an eggplant slice is not long enough to do the duo wrap, you can place chicken pieces in the middle of one slice and roll like a cigar.)

Place the sliced carrots, onions and left over green peppers amongst the eggplant packages in the tray. Mix the tomato paste with water, season with salt and pepper. Pour this sauce around the eggplant packages and bake them in the oven for about 35 minutes. Please check towards the end if more water is needed and add some to the baking tray.

Serve the eggplant packages and the vegetables hot with plain rice by the side. Cucumber, garlic and yoghurt dip, Cacik, also would complement this delicious dish well.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Sautéed Aubergine (Eggplant), Courgette (Zucchini) and Peppers with Tomato Sauce-Saksuka

Patlicanli, kabakli saksuka; fried eggplants and zucchini in tomato and red pepper paste sauce

Patlicanli, kabakli saksuka; fried eggplants, peppers and zucchini in tomato and red pepper paste sauce

This is one of the most popular mezes, appetizers at home, featuring our beloved eggplant (aubergine). It is delicious and easy to make. Garlicky yoghurt accompanies this dish really well. I like to add a little Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi to it; it really adds a wonderful flavor. If you like to make your own red pepper paste, here is my recipe.

One of the joys in life for me is to cook and eat with friends and family. The life evolves around kitchen, children come and go and you get to cook with those dear to you, simply wonderful. We made and enjoyed this dish with friends this week; in Turkish we say “the food tastes better when shared” and it sure did.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

1 large aubergine (eggplant)
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 red bell pepper
2-3 chili peppers (as hot as you wish), kept whole or sliced in half
Sunflower oil for shallow frying
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes

10ml/2tsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi (optional)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
15ml/1tablespoon olive oil
Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Garlicky yoghurt sauce:
200ml/7fl oz thick and creamy natural plain yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400F (if you prefer to roast the vegetables)

Using a vegetable peeler, partially peel the aubergine in stripes. Cut the aubergine in half length ways and then cut each half into thick slices. Sprinkle salt over the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes. Salt will help the moisture come out of the eggplants. Dry the eggplants with kitchen towel thoroughly (otherwise the excess water will cause the hot oil to spatter everywhere).

Cut the courgette in half lengthways and then cut it width ways into thick slices. Deseed the red bell pepper and cut it into bite size pieces. You can leave the chili peppers as a whole or cut in half if they are too big.

Heat enough oil in a wide pan. Sauté the vegetables in batches until they are golden brown. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Lightly season with salt and ground black pepper.  Alternatively, if you prefer to roast the vegetables, you can spread the sliced vegetables on a roasting tray and coat them with olive oil (about 2-3 tbsp) and season with salt and black pepper. You can then roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes until they start to turn golden brown.

On a separate pan, sauté the garlic for a minute or so with the olive oil. Add the canned tomatoes and the hot pepper paste (if you are using) and mix well. Stir in the red pepper flakes and the parsley. Add salt and pepper to your taste. The tomato sauce is ready.

For the yoghurt sauce, beat the yoghurt with the garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pile the hot vegetables on to a serving dish and spoon the tomato sauce over the top. Serve the yoghurt sauce by the side, accompanied by chunks of fresh bread to mop up the tasty sauce.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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