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Baba ghanoush or Abagannuc; burnt eggplant salad with lemon, olive oil

Baba ghanoush; Abagannuc; burnt eggplant, tomatoes and peppers in garlic, olive oil and pomegranate molasses

Baba ghanoush or Abagannuc; burnt eggplant, tomatoes and peppers in garlic, olive oil and pomegranate molasses

This delicious salad or dip, Abagannuc or Baba ghanoush, is very popular in Antakya and Southern Turkish cuisine and one of our family favorites. It has many variations throughout the Middle East, where tahini maybe added or plain yoghurt and what to include or not include may invite heated debates! No matter how the finishing touch will be, the essence of this salad remains the same; the aubergines are traditionally cooked over open fire or over the burner to get the smoky flavor. The skin of aubergines and peppers burn and their flesh becomes soft, sweet and tender.

Kozmatik from home; a steel base with holes on it, a genius idea to cook/char grill the vegetables without much of a mess!

Kozmatik from home; a steel base with holes on it, a genius idea to cook/char grill the vegetables without much of a mess!

In Turkey, a very simple gadget called “Kozmatik” is used to cook the aubergines over the burner. It has a steel base with holes on it, a genius idea to cook the vegetables without much of a mess!

Leave the peeled eggplant fleshin the colander to drain its bitter juices.

Leave the peeled eggplant fleshin the colander to drain its bitter juices.

You can cook the aubergines a day ahead of time; just add ½ juice of lemon after mashing and combine well, that will help to retain its color. Cover and keep in the fridge until you make the salad. I also added a drizzle of pomegranate molasses as a dressing in this version; the smoky flavor of aubergines and peppers worked really well with pomegranate molasses. When in season, pomegranate seeds would also be lovely over this salad.

Abagannuc or baba ghanoush goes very well as part of a mezze spread or with any grills. I also love this dip on crackers or toasted bread with a nice sharp cheese or feta cheese aside.

Abagannuc or baba ghannoush, a delicious smoky eggplant salad with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.

Abagannuc or baba ghannoush, a delicious smoky eggplant salad with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.

I hope you enjoy our version of Abagannuc or baba ghannoush, packed with flavor.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baba ghanoush-Abagannuc; burnt eggplant salad with garlic, olive oil
 
Abagannuc or baba ghanoush is a popular mezze or salad in southern Turkish cuisine, where eggplants are char grilled to get a delicious, smoky flavor. It has different versions throughout the Middle East. We'd like to add a little pomegranate molasses in our version for a tangy, sweet flavor. This salad / dip goes very well as part of a mezze spread or with any grills. I also love this dip on crackers or toasted bread with a nice sharp cheese or feta cheese aside.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish Mezzes, Salads
Cuisine: Regional Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 medium aubergines / eggplants
  • 1 pointy red pepper or bell pepper
  • 3 small, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed with salt and finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 30ml/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • A drizzle (about 10ml/2 tsp) pomegranate molasses to decorate (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to serve
Instructions
  1. Line the base of your burners with a foil to protect, keeping only the burners exposed.
  2. Place the eggplants or aubergines and pepper directly over the burner on medium heat and roast for about 15 - 20 minutes, turning occasionally. (You can roast the tomatoes on a barbeque or on the oven at 200 C for about 20-25 minutes, as it can get quite messy over the burner.)
  3. If you prefer not to have the smoky flavor, you can also score the aubergines with a knife in few places and bake on a baking tray for 50 – 60 minutes. In this case, turn them around every 20 minutes or so that they would cook evenly. Pepper would need about 35-40 minutes to cook in the oven and chargrill.
  4. If you are cooking over the burner, use metal tongs to turn the aubergines and pepper around so that all sides would cook evenly and the skin is nicely chargrilled. Cook until the skin is burnt and the flesh is soft.
  5. Remove the cooked aubergines, tomatoes and the pepper to a colander to allow them to cool. Once cool, peel and discard their burnt skin and leave them in the colander to drain aubergine’s bitter juices. I like to gently squeeze the aubergine flesh to drain as much water as possible.
  6. Chop the flesh of the aubergine, pepper and tomatoes coarsely and mash them with a fork.
  7. Place the flesh in a bowl and stir in the chopped garlic, lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil, combine well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  8. When serving, drizzle with pomegranate molasses over (if you prefer to) and give a gentle mix; its tangy flavor works really well with the smoked aubergine and peppers.
 

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Chicken Soup with Vegetables in lemon & egg sauce – Terbiyeli, Sebzeli Tavuk Corbasi

Chicken and vegetables soup in lemon & egg sauce; Terbiyeli Sebzeli Tavuk Corbasi

Chicken and vegetables soup in lemon & egg sauce; Terbiyeli Sebzeli Tavuk Corbasi

Cold winter days call for a warming meal; this delicious chicken and vegetables soup is ideal to turn  the left over bits of vegetables and cooked meat (you can meat omit for a vegetarian option) into a hearty, delicious soup. With nice crusty bread aside, this chunky soup makes a complete meal for us (and just the thing if you have a cold). Soups, Corba as we call in Turkish, have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with a soup. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter.

There is a special technique used in this soup; lemon juice is beaten with egg yolks to thicken the sauce and add a delicious sort of tangy flavor. This method is called “terbiyeli” in Turkish cuisine and it requires a staged tempering of the egg sauce into the hot liquid, so that the soup won’t curdle.

I have used parsnips, celery, carrots, red onion here; you can also use potatoes, regular onion or any other vegetables you like and needs finishing. I hope you enjoy this delicious, nutritious, warming soup.

Healthy, delicious chicken soup with vegetables in lemon & egg sauce

Healthy, delicious chicken soup with vegetables in lemon & egg sauce

Serves 4 – 6

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes                                     Cooking time: 30 minutes

225 gr/8 oz./1 cup cooked (left over) chicken meat, cut in small chunks (you can omit this for a vegetarian option)

75gr/3oz/scant ½ cup long grain rice (plain or basmati, if you prefer), rinsed

1 large red onion, quartered and chopped

3 celery stick, trimmed and coarsely chopped

3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped

3 parsnips, peeled and cut in small chunks

Handful of fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley

30 ml/2 tbsp. olive oil

2 lt/ 3 ½ pints/8 cups hot chicken stock (or vegetarian stock, or water)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lemon & egg sauce:

2 egg yolks, beaten

Juice of 1 lemon

To serve:

Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle when serving (optional)

Turkish red pepper flakes (pul biber) or chili flakes and a wedge of lemon to serve

Crusty bread to serve

Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pan and stir in the onion, sauté for a few minutes. When the onion begins to color slightly, toss in the celery, carrot and parsnip. Stir and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the rinsed rice, giving a good stir. Pour in the hot stock or water and the cooked chicken pieces (if you are using), combine well. Season with salt and freshly grounded black pepper to your taste. Cover and cook over medium to low heat for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked though still have a bite to them.

 Gently pour in a ladle of the hot soup to the egg mixture and blend well.

Gently pour in a ladle of the hot soup to the egg mixture and blend well.

Afterwards, in a small bowl, thoroughly blend the egg yolks with the lemon juice. Gently pour in a ladle of the hot soup to the egg mixture for tempering and blend well. Then slowly pour this egg mixture into the simmering pan; stir constantly so that the eggs don’t curdle. Add the chopped parsley and cook the soup very gently on low heat for 3-5 minutes. Do not allow the soup to boil, or it may curdle. Check the seasoning and turn the heat off.

Warming chicken and vegetables soup in lemon & egg sauce.

Warming chicken and vegetables soup in lemon & egg sauce.

Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over and sprinkle red pepper flakes, pul biber over, if you like. Serve hot with some crusty bread and a wedge of lemon aside.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

Ozlem’s Turkish Table at the Turkish Chefs of the World, “Dunyanin Turk Sefleri” TV program aired on TRT Turk  TV Channel

Click to view on YouTube.

I was delighted to take part in Dunyanin Turk Sefleri, “Turkish Chefs of the World” TV program on TRT Turk TV Channel.

I was delighted to be involved in the Turkish Chefs of the World, “Dunyanin Turk Sefleri” TV program aired on Turkish National TV, TRT Turk channel (aired over 70 countries) a few weeks ago. The program was shot in major gastronomic centers like New York, Berlin, Tokyo, Vienna, Paris and London, exploring world cuisines and the presence of Turkish cuisine around the world. I was involved in their London program; the presenter and Milliyet food author Mr. Sureyya Uzmez and I talked about the vibrant London food scene and the growing presence of Turkish cuisine abroad. I delightfully mentioned the increasing global interest for the healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine and my admiration for your enthusiasm, dear readers, to learn and tackle many aspects of Turkish cuisine, from baklava to Simit, karniyarik to Turkish Delight and more. The interview is in Turkish but I thought you may still enjoy viewing, here is the YouTube link for the program (my part starts as of 2.30 minutes onwards). Hope you enjoy it!

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Ancient, Wholesome; Bulgur Pilaf with Freekeh, Eggplant and Meat

Firik or Freekeh is a super food and an ancient grain; I absolutely love its delicious, nutty taste, similar to pearl barley. Freekeh used to feature a lot at my grandmother’s table in Antakya, ancient Antioch, when I was a child. Cooked with bulgur and fresh butter, it always tasted so heavenly and the mesmerizing smells always greeted us. Freekeh is a real treat by itself and pairs with bulgur, vegetables, chickpeas and meat beautifully.

Ancient firik or freekeh; a delicious and healthy grain, pairs with bulgur and vegetables so well.

Ancient firik or freekeh; a delicious and healthy grain, pairs with bulgur and vegetables so well.

Firik, (as in Turkish) or Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh)  or farik is a cereal  food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production.  Firik is a popular and ancient grain used Middle Eastern & Southern Turkish cuisine and also popular in Levantine, Egyptian, Arabian Peninsula and North African cuisine. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn and not the seeds. It is the high moisture content of the seeds that prevents them from burning. The now roasted wheat undergoes further thrashing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. It is this thrashing or rubbing process of the grains that gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed.” The seeds are now cracked into smaller pieces so they look like a green bulgur.

Antakya - Antioch's ancient Long Market - Uzun Carsi, with abundance of grains, spices and more

Antakya – Antioch’s ancient Long Market – Uzun Carsi, with abundance of grains, spices and more

This delicious, ancient grain freekeh is a similar food made from barley and it is also mentioned in the Bible. Freekeh is also considered as a superfood, as in the category of the healthy grains such as quinoa and farro. Freekeh has at least four times as much fiber  as some other comparable grains, consisting mostly of insoluble fiber. It also has a low glycemic index so is suitable for managing diabetes. You can get freekeh in Middle Eastern or specialty food stores abroad, though it is widely available in Turkey. Bulgur is now widely available in supermarkets, so great to see.

Freekeh with bulgur, eggplants and meat - Firikli Bulgur Pilavi; a delicious & healthy meal.

Freekeh with bulgur, eggplants and meat – Firikli Bulgur Pilavi; a delicious & healthy meal.

I cooked my firik, freekeh here with bulgur, onions, eggplants (aubergine) and chunks of meat. The delicious nutty texture of the grains worked so well with the vegetables. Addition of any meat of your choice is lovely though just with the grains and vegetables itself, this meal would be a delicious vegetarian feast. Chickpeas would go well in this dish too. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi, gives a wonderful, rich flavor to this dish; you can make your own red pepper paste too, here is my recipe  if you like to make your own. You can also add some heat and flavor with the Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber.

Serves 6

Preparation time: 25 minutes                  Cooking time: 30 -35 minutes

350gr/12oz/2 cups coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained

225gr/8oz/ generous 1 cup firik or freekeh, rinsed and drained

1 large eggplant (aubergine), diced

2 medium onions, finely diced

450gr/ 1 lb. small chunks of beef, chicken or lamb (optional)

15 ml/ 1 tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste (biber salcasi)

15 ml/1 tbsp. tomato puree

60ml/2 fl. oz./ ¼ cup olive oil

2 pints/ 5 cups hot water

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

Red pepper flakes, pul biber to serve

Cacik dip of diced cucumbers, plain yoghurt and dried mint  to serve

Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for 15 minutes (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant).

Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant).

First prepare the eggplants (aubergines). Peel the eggplants lengthways in stripes using a vegetable peeler or a small sharp knife. Cut the eggplant in quarters and then slice into bite size pieces. Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for 15 minutes (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant). After 15 minutes, dry the eggplants with kitchen or paper towel thoroughly.

Heat the 2 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onions until soft and they begin to color. Add the pieces of meat, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Toss in the diced eggplants and the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil. Stir and sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until they start to color and soften. Then stir in the red pepper paste and tomato paste and combine well with the vegetables and the meat. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, eggplants and meat; firikli bulgur pilavi

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, eggplants and meat; firikli bulgur pilavi

 Now add the bulgur and freekeh to the pan and mix well. Pour in the hot water, stir and bring it to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer on low to medium heat for about 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and place the lid on firmly. Rest the pilaf for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint; delicious and refreshing

Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint; delicious and refreshing

Serve the bulgur and frekeeh pilaf hot with Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber sprinkled over, if you like. Refreshing Cacik Dip of diced cucumbers and dried mint with yoghurt complements this bulgur & freekeh pilaf very well.

Ancient St Peter's Church, Antakya, Antioch where early Christians congregated.

Ancient St Peter’s Church, Antakya, Antioch where early Christians congregated.

I hope you enjoy this delicious, ancient food, packed with goodness; Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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