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Tag Archives | Eggplant

Sizzling Chicken Kebab and Roasted Vegetables on pide (pitta) bread

Have you ever had the wonderful sizzling kebabs in Turkey? There is a kebab house at every corner at home, and the smells, sights are always very inviting. Family and friends gather around Ocakbasi, to witness and enjoy Asci (Chef) preparing and grilling succulent meats, vegetables, making pide (pitta) bread for hours; a ritual I love and miss very much. So I thought to recreate this wonderful dish at home- and you would be pleased to know that it is very easy to tackle. You can prepare most of the stages ahead of time, which makes the dish a great choice for entertaining. The kebab looks impressive, tastes wonderful and you can ensemble the final dish the day of your party – so the host gets to enjoy the company too! You can replace chicken with any other meat of your choice, or for a vegetarian option, mushrooms, eggplants, courgettes all work very well.

Chicken kebabs marinated in yoghurt, spices and olive oil; delicious with roasted vegetables on flat bread, pide, or pita bread

Chicken kebabs marinated in yoghurt, spices and olive oil; delicious with roasted vegetables on flat bread, pide, or pita bread

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

2 eggplants (aubergine)
6-8 small bell peppers (green, orange, yellow or red) or 3 big ones, cut in chunks
3-4 tablespoons olive oil for roasting the vegetables
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes – optional-
2 large naan breads or 4 small pitta breads cut into chunky stripes
225gr/8oz natural plain yoghurt
Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

For the tomato sauce:
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
30ml/2tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

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
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste and 10ml/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
OR
15ml / 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
Salt and freshly ground 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.

For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and onion and cook until they begin to color. Stir in the chopped tomotoes, mix well. Cook uncovered on medium to low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. You can prepare the tomato sauce a day in advance and keep in the fridge, covered.

On the day of your party, you can do the rest of the cooking. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in stripes like a zebra. Slice the eggplants lengthways, about ½ inch thick. Then cut each slice into three parts. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the marinated chicken breast. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will give a nice brown coloring to the meat and seal the juices to keep them moist. Season with salt and black pepper and turn the heat off.

On a baking tray, spread the eggplant slices and the colorful peppers. Drizzle the olive oil over them and season with salt and black pepper (you can also sprinkle red pepper flakes over them for extra heat). Coat all the pieces with olive oil and seasoning and roast in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until they are chargrilled around the edges.

At the same time of the vegetables roasting, place the chicken pieces and the marination sauce around them on a wide baking dish and roast for about 35 minutes, until they are chargrilled.

Just before serving, place the pitta or naan bread on a baking tray and warm them up for about 5-8 minutes. Take a wide serving dish and warm in the oven for a few minutes.

Now it is time to ensemble the kebab. Place the stripes of the warm pitta (or naan) bread on your serving dish as a flat base. Spoon the tomato sauce over the bread and spread. Arrange the chicken kebabs and the roasted vegetables over the tomato sauce. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve hot, with dollops of the remaining sauce and yoghurt by the side.

Sizzling chicken kebabs with roasted vegetables; delicious with garlic yoghurt by the side.

Sizzling chicken kebabs with roasted vegetables; delicious with garlic yoghurt by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem


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Karniyarik – Stuffed Eggplants (Aubergines) with ground lamb, tomatoes and onions

 

Karniyarik; Stuffed eggplants with ground meat, onion, tomatoes

Karniyarik; Stuffed eggplants with ground meat, onion, tomatoes





This impressive dish is a legacy of the Ottoman Palace kitchens and yet another of the imperial demands for ingenuity concerning the much loved eggplant, aubergine, you will find this dish wherever you go in Turkey! Though traditionally made with ground lamb, you may prepare it with ground beef or have a vegetarian version too. Simply replace the meat with your favorite vegetable (mushrooms, chickpeas work very well), sprinkle some grated cheese over the top and bake it, it turns out to be a delicious alternative.

We use a lot of onion and garlic in Turkish cooking. Both have very valuable health benefits; onions carry healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon. In addition, they can reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon. Another good reason to welcome them in our dishes!

You can cook this dish ahead of time and gently reheat in the oven. Karniyarik freezes very well, once cooked.

Serves 6
Preparation time – 45 minutes Cooking time – 55 minutes

3 dark purple eggplants (aubergines; small to medium variety if possible)
340 gr / 12 ounces ground (minced) lean lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400 gr /14 oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
240 ml / 1 cup water
1 bunch or 1/2 cup Italian (flat) parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 – 4 tablespoons canola oil or ground nut oil for shallow frying
6 thin slices of tomato and green bell peppers, seeded – for decorative topping
1 -2  teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F

Cut the eggplants in half lengthways leaving the stalk intact. In each half of eggplant, cut a deep split lengthways without cutting through to the skin on the opposite side and leaving 1/2″-13 mm- uncut at either end. Sprinkle salt over the flesh side of the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes. Salt will help the moisture come out of the eggplants.

In a little of the olive oil, sauté the onions until soft. Add the ground lamb and cook until all the moisture is absorbed. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, mix well. Continue cooking for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in most of the chopped parsley. Seasoning is important, so please check the seasoning of the mixture and add more salt or pepper if you would like.

Dry the eggplants with kitchen towel thoroughly. Lightly brown them evenly on both sides in the canola oil or gorundnut oil. With the split sides facing up, place them into a well-oiled ovenproof dish or a baking tray. Spoon the filling into the splits. On the top of each filled eggplant put a slice of tomato and a green bell pepper. Mix the water with a drizzle of olive oil. Pour this mixture on the baking tray. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until they are tender and the eggplants are nicely browned on top.

Serve hot with plain rice and a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.

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Eggplants with Lentils, cooked in Olive Oil; Patlicanli Mercimekli Mualla

 

Aubergine with green lentils, aubergine onions and peppers; Mercimekli Mualla- such a delicious treat

It is high time for an eggplant (aubergine) recipe, the king of vegetables at home. Eggplant lovers at home claim we have over 200 eggplant, patlican recipes, as we love this special vegetable so much. My name in our home is actually “Patlican” too – or Patli as short-. When my husband heard the name for the first time, he liked the sound of it so much that he decided to call me Patlican! No complaints.

We have a whole section in Turkish cuisine called “Vegetables cooked in Olive Oil”, Zeytinyaglilar, where we cook vegetables in olive oil and serve them either cold or at room temperature. Once cooked, it is important for the dish to cool down in its pan and rest, allowing all the flavors to blend. Usually served with a wedge of lemon, this style of cooking is very healthy, tasty and refreshing.

This traditional recipe, Patlicanli Mercimekli Mualla, is from Antakya, Southern part of Turkey, where my roots are from. The amazing flavors of green lentils, olive oil, eggplant and dried mint blend so well and take me back to Antakya immediately. This is a traditional recipe and I am especially happy to be able to pass it on to food lovers and the next generation, as it is not easy to find these traditional recipes in cookery books. It is a joy to trace these recipes over many phone calls to my mother, passionately exchange opinions on it and finally have a chance to share with you. I hope you enjoy this wonderful dish and pass it on.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes

180 gr / 1 cup green lentils
2 medium eggplants (aubergine)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red bell pepper, cut in half and thinly sliced
400 gr / 14 oz (a can of) chopped tomatoes in juice
50 ml/ about 2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup olive oil and
45 ml / 3 tablespoons of olive oil to saute eggplants
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried mint (spearmint)
240 ml/ 8 lf oz / 1 cup water

Crusty bread to serve

Put lentils in a pan of boiling water, stir and cover. Simmer in low heat for 15 minutes. Drain its water and set aside.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants in zebra stripes. Cut the eggplant in half lengthways and then cut each half into medium thick slices. Spread them on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for 15 minutes. With using paper towel, squeeze excess water out of eggplants.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and very lightly sauté the eggplant slices for a minute or two. This will help eggplants to soften up and start bringing out their lovely sweet flesh.

In a large bowl, combine the partially cooked lentils, onion, garlic, bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, salt, mint, olive oil and the sugar, mix well. Season with ground black pepper, check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.

In a wide heavy pan, place a layer of the eggplant slices. Spread the half of the vegetable mixture over the eggplants evenly. Place the remaining of the eggplant slices over the top and spread the remaining vegetable mixture over. Add the water, cover and cook in medium to low heat for about 40 minutes.

Once cooked, cover and cool the dish in the pan. Serve at room temperature with some crusty bread.

Tips and facts on Eggplant (Aubergine):

1) This wonderful vegetable (actually fruit, as it has seeds) has about 90 % water, which makes it low in fat and calories. You need to get rid of the sour juice of the eggplant before cooking. You can do that by salting the eggplant slices, and squeezing the sour juice out using a paper towel.

2) You can’t eat eggplants raw but once cooked, the flesh becomes meaty and sweet; which makes a great vegetarian option.

3) We Turks love eggplants; we grill it, broil it, bake in the oven, smoke it and even make lovely jams out of it! As nation’s favorite vegetable, it is believed we have over 200 recipes featuring the beloved eggplant, patlican.

4) When shopping for eggplants, look for bright dark purple color and a healthy green stem. It should feel heavy for its size. Try to get a small to medium size eggplants as they tend to have less seeds.

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