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Tag Archives | chickpeas

Okra with chicken, vegetables and chickpeas in lemon & mint sauce & Tavuklu, nohutlu bamya

Bountiful Fruit and Vegetable Market in Istanbul

Turkish cuisine is based on using fresh ingredients; fruit and vegetables are bought daily and seasonality is the key. However, especially in Southern Turkey, we also like to dry vegetables like eggplant (aubergine), bell and pointy peppers and okra when they are fresh, to be used when they’re not in season. In villages, these vegetables are simply attached in a piece of string when fresh (we scoop out the middle part/flesh of aubergines and peppers first; they are wonderful when stuffed with aromatic rice and/or ground meat), and hang outside village homes or terraces, to dry at the summer sunshine. With all the moisture gone, the result is intensely flavored dried vegetables ready to use.

Whenever I go to the Spice Market in Istanbul, I always get dried okra, aubergine and peppers. They not only taste great, but they also make wonderful decoration and a great talking point at my cooking classes.

Dried vegetables and spices galore at the Spice Market, Istanbul

Recently, my good friend and brilliant blogger Peri posted a wonderful Okra and Potato Stir fry recipe, at her blog Peri’s Spice Ladle, flavoring the okra with fragrant Indian spices, and inspired me to use my dried okra. It is amazing to see the similarities between Turkish and Indian cuisine, especially the love of spices; Peri’s lovely recipes are worth checking out.

Dried eggplants, okra and peppers used a lot in southern Turkish cooking; see how tiny the baby okra is!

Dried eggplants, okra and peppers used a lot in southern Turkish cooking; see how tiny the baby okra is!

So here comes Southern Turkish style okra with chicken. In Southern Turkish cooking, we like to keep the okra as whole, give a little trim to the stalk. We use lemon juice to reduce the sliminess and flavor the okra with dried mint and red pepper flakes; I love the refreshing, tangy taste of the dish and the texture that comes with the chickpeas. For a vegetarian option, you can skip chicken; potatoes would really work well with this dish too.

 Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes               Cooking time: 35 minutes

225gr/ 1/2lb fresh okra or dried okra

250gr/9oz chicken breast, cut in bite size chunks

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes

400gr/14oz can of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

8fl oz/1 cup hot water

10ml/2 tsp dried mint

5ml/1 tsp red pepper flakes

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Plain rice to serve

Wedge of lemon to serve

To prepare the okra:

If you are using dried okra, simmer them in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, just soft enough to slip through the string. Drain the water and take out the string, set aside.

Simmer dried okra for a few minutes in boiling water

If you are using fresh okra, trim the stalks, then place the okra in a bowl. You can  treat them with the juice of lemon to retain color and reduce sliminess. As an alternative, you can also or sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar over okra and leave it to stand for about 1 hr, as  Ghille Basan, the prominent Turkish cookery author recommends.

Saute onion, garlic, chicken, add the chopped tomatoes

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the onion. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, until they begin to turn golden brown. Add the garlic and chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes to brown them. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and ground black pepper. Mix to combine thoroughly.

Add lemon juice and hot water over the okra

Sprinkle the okra over the chicken and pour the lemon juice and hot water on top. Stir, cover the pan and cook gently for 20 minutes, until the okra are tender but not soggy. Add the (rinsed) cooked chickpeas, combine well and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the dried mint and red pepper flakes. Taste and add more salt if needed.

 Bamya, etli ve nohutlu 038

Okra with chicken, chickpeas and vegetables; dried mint and red pepper flakes add a wonderful flavor

Serve hot with plain rice and extra wedge of lemon by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

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Warm Hummus with Red Pepper Flakes infused Olive oil

The humble but ever so tasty hummus is delicious, healthy and so easy to make. I wonder if you have ever tried hummus warm? In Turkey, especially in the South, hummus is served warm with red pepper flakes infused olive oil or with some sautéed pastirma (similar to pastrami; dried cured beef coated with spices) over the top. I’d very much encourage you to try hummus this way, as I feel you may be pleasantly surprised, and maybe converted to eat hummus warm as many of my friends have done.

Please adjust the hummus recipe according to your taste, as some like it garlicky, some with more tahini and others may prefer it more lemony. You can get tahini, the crushed sesame seeds in paste, in most supermarkets these days and Middle Eastern stores.  This warm hummus would make a wonderful appetizer to share with friends and family. It also complements any grilled meat or vegetable beautifully.

Pita bread is the perfect accompaniment.

Warm hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil; a delicious mezze

Warm hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil; a delicious mezze

Serves 4

Preparation time – 15 minutes (add 1 hour if used dried chickpeas and soaking overnight)

225gr/8oz dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight or for at least 6 hours or equivalent amount of precooked chickpeas in can

5ml /1 teaspoon salt – please adjust according to your taste-

60ml/4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

30ml/2 tablespoons water

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed – optional-

Juice of 1 lemon

1-2 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)

5ml/1 teaspoon (or a little more!) ground cumin

To serve:

30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Slices of pita bread to serve

 

If using dried chickpeas, drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a pan with plenty of cold water. Bring to boil and boil for a few minutes. Then lower the heat and partially cover the pan, Simmer the chickpeas for 1 hour, until they are soft and easy to mash.

Chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, water, e.v. olive oil, salt and cumin; all to blitz together

If precooked chickpeas are used, drain the juice and give them a little wash in a colander. Put the precooked (or cooked) chickpeas in a food processor and blitz them together with the extra virgin olive oil, water, lemon juice, garlic and tahini. If it appears thick and difficult to blend, add a little more olive oil or water. Season with salt and mix in the cumin. Process until you achieve a soft, smooth paste. Refrigerate until required.

 If you would like to have the hummus warm as in the Turkish way, just before serving, warm this mixture in a pan for a couple of minutes. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil gently and stir in the red pepper flakes. Combine for a minute or two and let the red pepper flakes infuse to the olive oil. Put the warm hummus in a plate and drizzle the red pepper flakes infused olive oil over the top. You may sprinkle some extra ground cumin over the top, if you like. Serve with pita bread.

 Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

A little note:

Lahana Sarma; Stuffed Cabbage Leaves with ground meat, rice, onion and spices

There are many ways to show someone how much you care, and producing something homemade (be it food or drink), is one of the sweetest ways, at least for me. These stuffed cabbage leaves, made by my mother in Istanbul, travelled across thousands of miles and reached us last weekend- thanks to my husband kindly brought them to us! Special memories and thoughts came in the shape of stuffed cabbage leaves, one of my favorite, and brought a precious glimpse of home and happy smiles! Maybe a cup of tea, some hummus or anything you fancy; a little food/drink to share may go a long way 🙂

 

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Zucchini (Courgettes) Stuffed with ground meat and chickpeas -Nohutlu Sih-el Mahsi



Zucchini (courgettes) stuffed with ground meat, onions and chickpeas; Kabakli Sih el mahsi

Zucchini (courgettes) stuffed with ground meat, onions and chickpeas; Kabakli, nohutlu Sih el mahsi

This is a wonderful dish from Antakya (Antioch), where my roots are from, and an exciting way to cook zucchini. Traditionally, the locals in Antakya would stuff the zucchini as a whole and they would lightly brown them before cooking with the sauce. I prefer cutting the zucchini in half and lengthways and baking them; healthy, delicious and pretty to have on the plate. You can prepare this dish ahead of time and the leftovers freeze beautifully. Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf with zucchini.

How wonderful to share the food with friends and family. Living abroad and changing locations often, cooking and sharing food have been my salvation and a wonderful way of meeting new folks, making new friends. I hope you enjoy the recipes with friends and family and give yourself and everyone the gift of good food 🙂

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

3 chunky zucchini/courgette
250gr/9oz ground (minced) lean beef or lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) chopped tomatoes
200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) cooked chickpeas, rinsed

30ml/2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi
30ml/2tablespoons olive oil
120ml/4fl oz/ 1/2 cup water
15ml/1tablespoon tomato paste
5ml/1teaspoon dried mint
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

To serve:
120ml/8fl oz plain yoghurt
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180F/350C/Gas 4

Cut the zucchini in half and then in lengthways. Using a dessert spoon, carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff (Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf).

Mix 1 tbsp. water with the pomegranate molasses and wash the inside of the courgettes with this mixture. Add the leftover of this delicious juice to filling mixture.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until light golden. Add the ground (minced) meat and sauté for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, left over pomegranate molasses sauce and the cooked chickpeas, mix well. Add the red pepper flakes and the dried mint, combine well. The filling is ready.

Place the zucchini in a greased baking tray. Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini quarters. Take care not to over fill them. Dilute the tomato paste with the water and pour on the tray. Cover and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. After this, uncover and bake for a further 10-15 minutes for a lightly browned finish.

In a bowl, mix the plain yoghurt and the garlic. Serve the stuffed zucchini hot, with the garlic yoghurt by the side. You can make a wonderful bulgur pilaf with zucchini using the flesh of the zucchini we scooped out; it complements this zucchini dish very nicely.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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