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Tag Archives | pistachio

Comforting Sahlep Drink with Cinnamon and Pistachio Nuts

 

Sahlep drink with cinnamon and ground pistachios.

Sahlep drink with cinnamon and ground pistachios.

Sahlep is a deliciously comforting hot milky drink, very popular in Turkey during the winter months. The genuine sahlep flour is made from the tubers of the orchid genius Orchis, found in the province of Kahramanmaraş in the south of Turkey, as well as in the Black Sea provinces especially in Kastamonu. The pure sahlep powder is very expensive and as this very precious wild orchid is in decline, the exportation of the genuine sahlep has been banned. The sahlep powder also has a lot of health benefits such as  curing digestive problems and gum disease as well as increasing resistance against coughs and colds.

I love the comforting, delicious taste of Sahlep in winter months. It’s great if you can enjoy the genuine sahlep in Turkey (I love it at the wonderful Sutis Pastaneleri –patisserie- in Istanbul or at Yavuz Bey Kurukahveci in Kadikoy, Istanbul as dear fellow blogger Claudia from A Seasonal Cook in Turkey experienced). Even if you may not be able to get genuine article if you’re living abroad like I do, some of the good quality sahlep flavored sachets sold abroad is still quite satisfactory and for me provide a great a dose of home & comfort. You can get a good quality sahlep flavored powder in sachets at Turkish and Middle Eastern Markets (like the Turkish market in North Cheam, England), as well as at Turkish online stores like Best Turkish Food.

Turkish sahlep drink with cinnamon

Turkish sahlep drink with cinnamon

Sahlep also used to be a popular street food in Turkey, though I don’t see them around as much as I used to. Here is a video of a Sahlep street stall holder in Turkey, kindly shared by Jim Clayter.

Here comes an easy recipe for the delicious Sahlep drink; we like to serve with some ground cinnamon over the top traditionally. This time, I also added some ground pistachio nuts over before serving, it added a lovely texture & taste to my Sahlep.

I hope you enjoy the new, improved look of Ozlem’s Turkish Table; you can now view my blog fully on smart phones and tablets. I am also delighted to add a new recipe format, that I hope will allow you to print the recipes easily and that it would add to your enjoyment – Afiyet Olsun!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Comforting Sahlep Drink with Cinnamon and Pistachio Nuts
 
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish Drinks
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 16 fl. oz./ 2 cups of cold whole milk
  • 10ml/ 1 tbsp. Sahlep powder
  • Sugar to your taste
  • 5ml / 1 tsp. ground cinnamon for garnish
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp. ground pistachios for garnish – optional
Instructions
  1. Place the cold milk, sahlep powder and sugar in a small pan and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Stir continuously for 2-3 over gentle heat, until it starts to thicken.
  3. Turn the heat off and pour the hot drink into two cups.
  4. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon and crushed pistachios (if using) over the top and serve immediately.

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Turkish Quince Dessert; Ayva Tatlisi

Turkish Quince Dessert, Ayva Tatlisi

Turkish Quince Dessert, Ayva Tatlisi

Quince, ayva as in Turkish, is a seasonal fruit, best enjoyed from October to early January and it is plentiful in Turkey. It is a rare treat to get in England, so you can imagine my excitement seeing them at the Turkish Market in Cheam, in Southeast England. I got my quinces and my heart was set to make the much loved, delicious Turkish quince dessert, Ayva Tatlisi.

Delicious, ripe quinces at the Turkish market in Cheam, England - a delightful sight!

Delicious, ripe quinces at the Turkish market in Cheam, England – a delightful sight!

Quince comes from the same family as apples and pears, and has a deliciously fragrant, rosy smell. There are also many health benefits of quince; it is packed with fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Quince is delicious when it’s ripe and you can enjoy eating raw, though it can also be quite tough to tackle. The hard, tangy and pale quince becomes soft, fragrant in a beautiful dark rosy pink color when it is cooked; quite a transformation for this humble fruit. Quince dessert, Ayva Tatlisi, is very popular in Turkey enjoyed in winter time, and it is divine, when cooked properly. You may notice some of the quince desserts come up in very deep, almost artificial red color, and I am afraid that case some artificial coloring may have been added to achieve this, to save up on the cooking time.

One of the elements that give this quince dessert its gorgeous color and fragrant taste is the slow, gentle cooking. I cooked mine for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, and the transformation in the color and texture was amazing. Make sure to keep the seeds in the pan when you’re cooking the quinces; they help bringing out that gorgeous deep rosy pink/amber color. I also keep the peeled skin of quince in the pan; they all together bring a fragrant smell, beautiful color and thicken the syrup as the seeds contain pectin, a natural thickener.

Pouched quince dessert in syrup, cloves and cinnamon, Ayva Tatlisi

Pouched quince dessert in syrup, cloves and cinnamon, Ayva Tatlisi

I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious quince dessert, Ayva Tatlisi; it simply melts in the mouth. You can prepare ahead of time and it keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes                  Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes (or a little more, depending on the size of the quince)

2 medium size quinces

150gr/ ¾ cup sugar (or 20 – 30 gr more, if you prefer sweeter)

6 cloves

16oz./2 cups water

30ml/2 tbsp. juice of lemon

30ml/ 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Turkish thick cream, Kaymak, or clotted cream to serve

Crushed pistachio nuts or walnuts to serve

Wash and cut the quinces in half, from top to bottom. Scoop out the core and keep the seeds, save the seeds aside. Peel the skin of the quince halves and set them aside too. Rub the peeled quince halves with the lemon juice; that will help quince not to go dark in color.

Spread the sugar evenly over the quince halves

Spread the sugar evenly over the quince halves

Spread the peels of quince as a layer in a heavy pan, wide enough to have 4 quince halves in one layer. Place the quince halves on top, in a way that the hollow side faces upwards. Spread the sugar evenly over the halves and stir in the reserved quince seeds, cloves and the water.

The quinces will start turning to a rosy, darkish pink color and the syrup will start to thicken.

The quinces will start turning to a rosy, amber color and the syrup will thicken.

Bring the pan to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer gently for about 40 minutes. Check the quinces and flip the halves gently to the other side. The quinces will start turning to a rosy, darkish pink color and the syrup will start to thicken and caramelized. Stir in the ground cinnamon, cover and cook on low heat for another 40 minutes or until the fruit is cooked (you may need a little more or less cooking time depending on the size of the quince), turn the heat off. You will now get a richer dark rosy pink color and some caramelisation.

Leave the cooked quinces cool in the pan. The syrup will thicken even more and the color will go darker, thanks to the seeds acting as a natural thickener. Once cool, place the quince halves on a serving plate, with a dollop of clotted cream or even better, Turkish kaymak, the thick cream of the water buffalos over the top. You can sprinkle some crushed pistachio or walnuts over and serve.

Turkish Quince Dessert, Ayva Tatlisi

Turkish Quince Dessert, Ayva Tatlisi

This delicious quince dessert keeps well in the fridge for a good 3 days.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Class at the Istanbul Culinary Institute on 19th February; Registration Started!

Dried peppers, aubergine and okra; important features of Southern Turkish Cuisine

Dried peppers, aubergine and okra; important features of Southern Turkish Cuisine

My Turkish cookery class at the Istanbul Culinary Institute is now open for registration. Please contact Istanbul Culinary Institute for registration, if you’d like to join us. We will be talking about and showcasing the artful use of spices and prepare these delicious recipes, focusing on Southern Turkish cuisine. Participation is limited; hope to share a delicious Turkish bite together!

 

 

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Lamb Kebabs with Pistachios on Flat Breads in Cherry Sauce

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce - Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce – Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

The pistachio lamb kebabs I posted earlier has been a big hit and I have been experimenting a little more with these delicious treats. They are easy to recreate in your home, delicious and look impressive. Children love them as well as the adults, so they are great for entertaining. Having pistachio nuts in kebabs is a Southern Turkish specialty; I love the rich nutty flavor the pistachios add to the kebabs. They kebabs are wonderful when chargrilled in summer time, but equally delicious grilled or baked in the oven. With flat breads as the base and roasted vegetables by the side, this succulent kebab is a real crowd pleaser, and can make any day special.

The cherries in the tomato sauce add a lovely refreshing flavor to the pistachio kebabs.

The cherries in the tomato sauce add a lovely refreshing flavor to the pistachio kebabs.

This time, during my recent Turkish cookery class, I prepared the kebabs in cherry and tomato based sauce. Cooking meatballs in (especially) sour cherry sauce is a Gaziantep specialty. This way of incorporating meat & fruit dates back to the Ottoman, Persian and medieval Arab cookery. The sweet & sour combination of meat and visne (sour cherries) is just marvelous. You can get frozen cherries in most supermarkets when they are not in season. If you’d like a stronger cherry flavor, also try dried cherries, like dear Claire did after our cookery class. Apparently  it was a delicious hit. I greatly look forward to trying out this recipe again when sour cherries are in season, in June-July time.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 35 minutes               Cooking time: 60 minutes

For the kebabs:

500 gr/1 ¼ lb. / 2 ¼ cups ground lamb (or half and half with ground beef)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

60ml/4 tbsp pistachios, shelled

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

5ml/1 tsp red pepper or paprika flakes;

5ml/ 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

A bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil to help shape the kebabs

For the cherry & tomato sauce:

1 onion, finely chopped

400gr/14oz can of chopped Italian tomatoes

½ tbsp. red pepper paste

400gr/14oz frozen cherries, stones removed

15ml/1 tbsp olive oil

For the roasted vegetables: 3 colorful bell peppers, deseeded and cut in thick slices lengthways and a few chilli peppers deseeded, OR 10-12 sweet and chilli small, colorful peppers, cut in half lengthways and deseeded

4 medium tomatoes, halved and cut in chunky slices

1 medium onion, halved and cut in chunky slices

45ml/ 3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 large flat bread; pide, or 4 pitta bread, sliced lengthways

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F

Roasted vegetables ready to complement the kebabs - make sure to save the juices to drizzle over the flat bread.

Roasted vegetables ready to complement the kebabs – make sure to save the juices to drizzle over the flat bread.

First roast your vegetables. Place the onion, peppers and tomatoes in a baking tray. Drizzle the olive oil over, season with salt and pepper. Give them all a good mix to make sure all the vegetables are coated with the olive oil and the seasoning. Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, giving them a mix half way. I like to roast the vegetables rather than grilling, to save and enjoy all the wonderful juices of them over the flat bread.

Pistachios add a rich, nutty taste to the lamb kebabs.

Pistachios add a rich, nutty taste to the lamb kebabs.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the kebabs. First have a bowl of water, drizzled with olive oil ready aside, to knead and help shape the kebabs. Pulse the shelled pistachios in a food processor a few times, until it is grainy. Place the ground lamb in a bowl, stir in the pistachios, chopped onions, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and ground pepper, add the red pepper flakes. Wet your hands in the water & olive oil mixture and knead well to a smooth paste. Cover and rest for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are roasted in the oven.

Once the vegetables chargrilled, take the tray out of the oven, cover  and set aside (you may need to warm the vegetables before serving).

Wetting your hands with the water & olive oil mixture helps shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

Wetting your hands with the water & olive oil mixture helps shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

Now start shaping the kebabs. With the bowl of water & olive oil mixture by your side, take a handful of the meat mixture, and make it into a shape of a flat sausage. Good tip; wet your hands with the water & olive oil mixture; this will help shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

As soon as the kebabs are shaped, you can cook them under the grill/broiler for about 6 -8 minutes, turning over half way until they are golden and cooked through that side (this method especially great for summer.) Alternatively, you can lay the kebabs side by side in a greased tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until they are cooked and chargrilled.

Cherries in the tomato sauce bring a refreshing flavor and goes well with the pistachio kebabs.

Cherries in the tomato sauce bring a refreshing flavor and goes well with the pistachio kebabs.

While the kebabs are cooking, prepare the cherry & tomato sauce. In a heavy pan, sauté the onions in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper paste, chopped tomatoes and cherries to the pan and combine well. Season with salt and ground pepper and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickened.

While the sauce is simmering, place the sliced flat bread on a tray and put in the preheated oven (180 C/350 F) to warm up. Also at this stage place the roasted vegetables and kebabs back to the oven to keep warm.

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce - Fistikli, visne soslu kebap
Time to enjoy the feast; lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce – Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

How about serving the kebabs with this sautéed carrot &  garlic yoghurt dip? This refreshing and mild dip complements the rich flavors of the pistachio kebabs beautifully.

IMG_0126

Sauteed carrots in olive oil with garlic yoghurt

I hope these recipes inspire you all; Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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