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Tag Archives | kofte

A Special, Flying Visit to Istanbul

 

Simit, Turkish sesame coated bread rings; a warm welcome home

Simit, Turkish sesame coated bread rings; a warm welcome home

We had a flying visit to Istanbul last weekend; packed with family and friends to see, my niece’s beautiful wedding and delicious Turkish food to savor; every minute of it was special. And what better greeting than of seeing Simit, Turkish sesame coated bread rings upon arrival, a very warm welcome that I couldn’t resist.

My dear sister Oznur and fellow blogger Senior Dogs Abroad timely informed me that the Yenikapi Metro train line is now connected to the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. It’s indeed joyful news; we took the metro train line from the airport all the way to 4th Levent – a seamless, smooth journey just over 1 hour and great value. I highly recommend using the Metro train line from Ataturk Airport to all the way to Taksim and beyond.

Kofteci Huseyin – Beyoglu, Istanbul:

Kofteci Huseyin, Beyoglu - Istanbul

Kofteci Huseyin, Beyoglu – Istanbul

Turkish meatballs, koftes served with piyaz, Turkish bean salad at Kofteci Huseyin

Turkish meatballs, koftes served with piyaz, Turkish bean salad at Kofteci Huseyin

Just before I departed for Istanbul, I got a note from a reader, Chris, asking if I can visit Kofteci Huseyin in BeyogluIstanbul (address: Sehit Muhtar Mah. Kurabiye Sok, Akgun Is Hani, 14/A – Beyoglu – Istanbul). Apparently he had one of the best koftes, Turkish meatballs there and the tomato based sauce served with the meatballs there was just amazing. Well, I had a packed schedule but now was so curious about Kofteci Huseyin that I had to make it and so glad I did. Tucked behind Beyoglu, Kofteci Huseyin is a tiny lokanta, serving the very best Turkish meatballs with fasulye piyazi, Turkish bean salad with onions, since 1958. You are greeted with a warm smile and your koftes are made to order in front of you and served with freshly baked somun ekmek, Turkish bread with piyaz. You can tell they are passionate about their kofte; sourcing out their meat from local butchers, prepared lovingly. Kofteci Huseyin says “They ask me why I don’t serve soup or desserts; making kofte is what I do best and that’s our specialty. Every day we make kofte out of 40 kg of minced (ground beef), onion and bread crumbs and once the meat is finished, our job is finished for the day too, around 4 pm. They ask me why I don’t serve in the evenings; well, there are friends and family to see, time to pause, until the next kofte tomorrow”. I liked his way of thinking.

Kofte, served with piyaz and somun ekmek, Turkish loaf bread

Kofte, served with piyaz and somun ekmek, Turkish loaf bread

Chris especially wanted to know how they make the delicious tomato based sauce served next to the Turkish meatballs, koftes there. It’s a secret recipe apparently, though they revealed there’s crushed tomatoes and Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber in it. I have a feeling there’s also a touch of Biber Salcasi, Turkish hot pepper paste in the sauce, adding a spicy peppery flavor. Kofteci Huseyin is a delightful, small kofteci if you happen to be at Beyoglu area and I am grateful that Chris asked me to investigate. If you’d like to make kofte at home, here is my kofte, Turkish meatballs recipe 101.

Sahi Istanbul:

Meeting up with friends at Sahi Istanbul.

Meeting up with friends, Cicekten and Revan at Sahi Istanbul.

Have you discovered the beautiful Sahi Istanbul in Karakoy?  Founded by ex-colleague and dear friend Cicekten, Sahi Istanbul is home from home for me, offering the best of authentic , genuine Turkish design (as its name refers to), with traditional and contemporary objects, sourced from Turkish artisans all around Turkey. I love the beautiful hand decorated ceramics, locally sourced textiles and the authentic Turkish delights I long to taste there, whenever I am home. It was a delightful to stop by at Sahi Istanbul meeting with friends and Cicekten showered us with the best possible Turkish hospitality.

Irresistable baklava, the real thing from Gaziantep

Irresistable baklava, the real thing from Gaziantep.

 

Cay, boreks, pastries and home made Turkish Delights at Sahi Istanbul

Cay, boreks, pastries and home made Turkish Delights at Sahi Istanbul

Homemade Turkish delights (which you can have a go at making them at Sahi Istanbul – Karakoy); scrumptious boreks, pastries and the original baklava sourced from Gaziantep; we washed them all down with endless glasses of Turkish tea, cay and chats. Please pay a visit to Sahi Istanbul if you can, you won’t be disappointed. Sahi Istanbul’s website in English will also be available shortly.

Locally sourced, authentic Turkish textile, ceramics and many more at Sahi Istanbul

Locally sourced, authentic Turkish textile, ceramics, books and many more at Sahi Istanbul

Hand made Turkish olive oil soap

Hand made Turkish olive oil soap

Sahi Istanbul also very generously gave away their authentic Turkish bracelets and Turkish homemade soaps for my Turkish cookery classes at the Central Market Cooking Schools in the US in February 2014. Special gifts to showcase Turkish crafts and hospitality, I am very grateful to their generosity.

A Delightful Meet up over Turkish Breakfast:

Kahvalti Bahane, Sohbet Sahane; Breakfast is the excuse for a wonderful get together

Kahvalti Bahane, Sohbet Sahane; Breakfast is the excuse for a wonderful get together with Senior Dogs

No visit to Turkey is complete without a leisurely Turkish breakfast with friends and family, my favorite meal of the day. Just before our departure, we managed to sit at our local café by the Bosphorus with my parents, my sister and family and dear friends and fellow bloggers Senior Dogs Abroad.  Senior Dogs live in Istanbul and blogs about life in Turkey (as well as world affairs) and I have been meaning to introduce them to my parents. My parents were delighted and so impressed with their Turkish and even more that they will be traveling to Eastern Turkey shortly. We lived in Elazig at the southeast of Turkey over 8 years when I was a child and my parents were eager to give as many tips as to where to visit- we all look forward to their adventures up there, not to be missed! As always, it was a delightful few hours spent together with family and friends.

Turkish breakfast with a glass of cay; personal favorite.

Turkish breakfast with a glass of cay; personal favorite.

Menemen; Turkish style scrambled eggs with tomatoes and peppers.

Menemen; Turkish style scrambled eggs with tomatoes and peppers.

Menemen, Turkish style scrambled eggs with tomatoes and peppers  is a favorite with us; delicious for a leisurely brunch or a light supper, it is so easy to make it at home too; here’s my recipe if you’d like to give it a go.

Overlooking Sea of Marmara from Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Overlooking Sea of Marmara from Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Boats and the Bosphorus Bridge, Istanbul

Boats and the Bosphorus Bridge, Istanbul

Time to say farewell and hope to see you soon, Istanbul; a special city that calls for us often.

Afiyet Olsun ve Yine Gorusmek Dilegiyle,

Ozlem

Peri’s Spice Ladle’s e-book, Spice Up Your Celebration is out now!!

spiceupyourcelebration3D-680x1079I really am delighted to see that dear friend and fellow blogger Peri’s Spice Ladle’s ebook, Spice Up Your Celebration; Indian Inspired recipes for Occasions, Holidays and Entertaining is out now! We have been enjoying Peri’s delicious and easy to follow Indian recipes for a long time and she really made me appreciate a variety of spices to incorporate our dishes through her wonderful, Indian inspired delicious recipes. This gem of a book is a great source to make and enjoy delicious Indian cuisine in the comfort of your home; it’s a keeper in our home and I hope you enjoy it too. You can view the details of the Spice Up Your Celebration ebook through here. Enjoy!

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Turkish Meatballs, Kofte 101 and Grated Carrots, Red Cabbage Salad

Homemade Turkish meatballs; a childhood favorite; delicious with grated carrot & red cabbage salad aside.

Homemade Turkish meatballs; a childhood favorite; delicious with grated carrot & red cabbage salad aside.

These homemade Turkish meatballs are one of my childhood favorites; my mother would always keep some in the freezer ready to cook instantly and the delicious aroma greets you as soon as you are home. For me there is nothing quite like homemade meatballs, our koftes.

Historic Sultanahmet Koftecisi; they have been making delicious koftes for  almost 100 years.

Historic Sultanahmet Koftecisi; they have been making delicious koftes for almost 100 years.

We Turks love our koftes, Turkish meatballs. Almost every region in Turkey has their own specialty of these meatballs. One of my favorite type is the Sultanahmet Koftesi prepared by the historic Sultanahmet Koftecisi; served with fasulye piyazi, delicious beans salad with red onions and sumac aside; they have been making these delicious Koftes in Sultanahmet, Istanbul for almost 100 years.

Izmir kofte; Turkish meatballs with potato, peppers and tomatoes; simply delicious.

Izmir kofte; Turkish meatballs with potato, peppers and tomatoes; simply delicious.

How about the melt-in-the-mouth Izmir Kofte? Here the Turkish style meatballs are cooked with tomatoes, peppers and onions in a delicious tomato based sauce. A delicious, complete meal you can prepare ahead of time.

Back to our Turkish meatballs 101; here are some important tips on kofte making that my mother taught us; it is simple, delicious and a winner with children, as well as adults. I follow the delicious Turkish blog, Kulaktan Dolma Tarifler by Semsa Denizsel and loved her tips on making proper kofte too. Reading her post put a smile on my face, as my mothers’ voice echoed once again on kofte making 🙂 Semsa is also the owner of the wonderful Kantin Café in Istanbul and serves delicious home style Turkish food with fresh, seasonal produce, worth a visit. Now comes some important tips on homemade Turkish meatballs:

  • I like to have half & half mixture of ground beef and ground lamb in my meatballs; you need at least about 25% of the meat content as ground lamb for that delicious, melt-in-the-mouth meatball taste.
  • Our koftes have quite a generous grated onion in it, as well as parsley, stale bread, 1 egg and salt & ground black pepper seasoning. My mother includes a generous amount of stale bread crumbs in the mixture and that makes koftes taste wonderful and moist.
  • Mix the ingredients (except the meat) first; that softens the onions and the mixture blends with the meat better.
  • Make sure to rest the shaped meatballs in the fridge for about 30 minutes or more before cooking, that helps the meatballs and flavors to settle.
  • If you are a kofte, meatballs fan like we are, make a double batch and freeze half of the shaped but uncooked meatballs in the fridge. You can layer these meatballs in a container and put cling film between each layer, so that they don’t stick together. Just make sure to remove the cling film before cooking.
  •  A great tip from Semsa; cook one meatball on the pan or grill first to check the seasoning. If they need more salt or pepper, add some to the rest of the meatballs. Good seasoning is essential.
Kofte, homemade Turkish meatballs, a favorite for the children and adults.

Kofte, homemade Turkish meatballs, a favorite for the children and adults.

 

Homemade Turkish Meatballs, Kofte; A Childhood Favorite: 

Serves 4 – 6

225gr/ 8oz ground beef

225gr/8oz ground lamb

1 medium or 2 small onions, grated

3 slices of stale bread (of your choice), crusts removed

1 egg

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Light olive oil for shallow frying

 

Kofte ingredients; first mix all except the meat well.

Kofte ingredients; first mix all except the meat well.

 Soak the stale bread slices in a small bowl of water then squeeze them dry. In a large bowl, combine all the kofte, meatball ingredients except the meat and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogeneously. Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 – 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste. Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well. Cover this mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Place the meatballs in a tray ready cook side by side.

Place the meatballs in a tray ready cook side by side.

After 30 minutes or just before cooking them, have a bowl of water next to you and start shaping the meatballs. First wet your hands and take a small tangerine size of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Slightly flatten each ball with the heel of your hand. Place the meatballs in a tray ready cook side by side and continue until all the meat mixture is shaped into meatballs.

Sizzling, delicious koftes, Turkish meatballs.

Sizzling, delicious koftes, Turkish meatballs.

Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide, heavy (preferably non-stick) pan and place the meatballs, 4 -5 of them at a time. Cook for about 6 -8 minutes (3- 4 minutes each side), until cooked and browned on all sides. Alternatively, you can grill them until brown both sides. Remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Home made kofte, Turkish meatballs, ready to enjoy!

Home made kofte, Turkish meatballs, ready to enjoy!

Serve the meatballs hot with this refreshing grated carrots and red cabbage salad by the side. Cacik dip of diced cucumber in yoghurt with dried mint would go also really well with these delicious meatballs.

 Grated Carrots and Red Cabbage Salad – Havuc ve Kirmizi Lahana Salatasi

This crunchy, vibrant salad is popular served in lokantas as well as kebab houses in Turkey and accompanies grilled meat, fish and vegetables deliciously. It is simple to make and the refreshing lemon juice and the sharp balsamic vinegar dressing pair greatly with the carrots and the red cabbage.

Vibrant, refreshing grated carrot and red cabbage salad with sliced cucumbers.

Vibrant, refreshing grated carrot and red cabbage salad with sliced cucumbers.

Serves 4 – 6

1 small red cabbage

2 medium carrots, grated

1 small or ½ medium size cucumber, halved and sliced

30 ml/ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

45 ml. / 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove the tough outer leaves and the middle hard part of the red cabbage. Halve the cabbage and slice thinly. Place the sliced cabbage in a bowl and stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt and the pepper; using your hands to knead well to soften them up. If you have time, cover and keep this marinated cabbage in the fridge for a few hours before serving, for all the flavors to blend in. This salad keeps in the fridge for a good couple of days and it will taste even better the next day!

Place the grated carrots in a bowl and drizzle 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and the lemon juice over. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Place the dressed carrots and the cabbage side by side on a serving dish. Add the sliced cucumbers and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the cabbage and cucumbers. Serve the salad with your meatballs or grilled fish or vegetables.

 Havuc ve kirmizi lahana salatasi; grated carrots and red cabbage pair well with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice dressing.

Havuc ve kirmizi lahana salatasi; grated carrots and red cabbage pair well with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice dressing.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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