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Tag Archives | Shepherd’s Salad

Chickpea Pilaf with Chicken and Vegetables; Turn Your Leftovers into a Complete, Delicious Meal

Chickpea pilaf spiced up with red pepper flakes, chicken and vegetables; healthy and delicious way to turn your leftovers to a complete meal.

Nohutlu pilav, Chickpea Pilaf is a popular street food in Turkey. Street stalls, selling this delicious and great value pilaf, appear at almost every corner in Istanbul and elsewhere; all you need to do is to get a tub of this delicious grub with a few pickles or tursu by the side and your lunch is ready to be enjoyed!

Traditional Nohutlu Pilav, Chickpea Pilav at a street stall in Izmir; photo credit Turkey's For Life.

Just as I was preparing my version of the chickpea pilaf, I enjoyed reading the wonderful blog Turkey For Life’s delicious adventure in Izmir, where they had the nohutlu pilav; please have a look,  a great read : )

The story of Nohutlu Pilaf goes back to the Ottoman Period. According to Ghillie Basan’s  The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking, Mahmut Pasha, the Grand Vizier of Mehmet the Conqueror, used to invite his Ministers to lunch every Friday, where he would serve a special mound of rice and chickpea pilaf at the end of the meal. As each minister dipped into the rice with his spoon, solid gold balls the same size as the chickpeas would be revealed, bringing good fortune to those who managed to one on their spoon.

A few red pepper flakes add a lot of flavor to the chickpeas, onions and chicken.

We do have more than our fair share of chickpeas in our house, as we eat hummus almost daily. This time I used the chickpeas in pilaf, to finish off the leftover vegetables and roast chicken we had recently. I love the original chickpea pilaf and its gorgeous buttery taste. At this version, I spiced the original nohutlu pilaf up a little. I sautéed the onions with our leftover chicken roast and Brussels sprouts with olive oil and red pepper flakes, then combined this with pilaf and chickpeas, which made a complete meal (A Japanese study has shown that adding spice & chilli to your meal reduces your appetite, another good reason to incorporate spices to your diet).

Chilli or red pepper flakes not only add a lot of flavor to your dishes, it also helps you to loose weight.

The pilaf was a delicious combination and we managed to finish all the leftovers; seeing the brussels sprouts especially disappearing at the children’s plate was a joy! You can any other vegetables of your choice here (peas work well too) and can also serve the vegetables by the side if you prefer that way. For a vegetarian option, simply omit the meat.

Chickpea pilaf with chicken and vegetables; a great makeover for your leftovers!

You can enjoy this delicious pilaf; Cacik – Cucumber & yoghurt with dried mint- or the refreshing Shepherd”s Salad would also complement well. Hope you enjoy this nohutlu pilav with a twist, Afiyet Olsun!

Serves 4-6

Preparation time:                20 minutes                            Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

100gr/4oz cooked left over chicken or your choice of meat, cut in stripes or small chunks

350gr/12oz long grain rice, rinsed and drained (you can use wholegrain basmati rice for gluten-free version)

100gr/4oz cooked chickpeas*, rinsed

100gr/4oz cooked (left over) peas or brussel sprouts, halved

2 medium onions, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon –optional-

15ml/1tbsp butter

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

750ml/1 ¼ pints/3 cups chicken stock or water

5-10ml/1-2 tsp Turkish red pepper flakes/ chilli flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

*If you like to use dried chickpeas, you need to soak them in plenty of cold water a night before. The next day, drain the chickpeas, put them in a pan and fill with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat, partially cover the pan. Simmer the chickpeas for about 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse well under cold running water.

Saute onions in olive oil and stir in the chicken and red pepper flakes,

Pour the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the onion and cook until it softens. Add the cooked chicken pieces and red pepper flakes, and combine well. Toss the cooked peas or brussels sprouts with the mixture and stir in the lemon juice (Being a lemon fan, I like the zing and the refreshing taste lemon juice brings to the dish. You can skip this if you prefer to). Season with salt and ground pepper. Cover and cook under low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat.

Chickpeas go well with onions, chicken and brussels sprouts.

In a separate pan, gently melt the butter. Add the rice and the stock or water. Season with salt and pepper, give a good stir and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Then turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean tea towel and put the lid tightly on top. This will help rice to steam and the tea towel will absorb any excess moisture.

Stir in the cooked pilaf rice to the chickpeas with chicken and vegetables mixture, combine them well.

I hope you enjoy it, Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

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Medley of Mushrooms with Garlic and Roasted Peppers, in Olive Oil – Healthy Food can also be Wonderfully Delicious

"Wonderful time spent with great company. I have learnt lots, loved all the food & already planned to introduce some of these dishes over Christmas to my nearest & dearest. Thank you for a great Saturday."

Warm greetings to you all; or Merhaba, as we say in Turkish. We had a wonderful, fun packed Healthy Eating and Living Event last Saturday, with inspirational talks on healthy living -many thanks to Leonie from EatWright for her wonderful presentation and Turkish cookery demonstrations –many thanks to Eser too for her delicious gluten-free treats. Please check out my Turkish Cooking Classes Page  for more information and photos on this fun packed, delicious event.

 

Leonie’s wonderful fresh produce went down so well with the warm hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil.

We talked about making the right choices for healthy eating and living. Healthy food can also be wonderfully delicious; there is no need to sacrifice the taste. Seasonal fresh produce, grains, beans, fish, olive oil are not only very good for us but they are also packed with flavor.

 

Fragrant spices; a natural, delicious way to add flavor to any dish.

 How about spices? You can add such wonderful flavors in a natural, healthy way, through spices and herbs. For instance, it is the fragrant cumin that makes hummus, taste like hummus. Here is a short video of my hummus demonstration at our healthy event – first try; look forward to adding more videos in the future- my special thanks to Zeynep! –Hummus demonstration, by Ozlem’s Turkish Table

The simple yet utterly delicious Shepherd's Salad, Coban Salata complements any grilled meat and vegetables so well.

A sprinkle of dried mint would totally transform the taste of Cacik – cucumber& yoghurt dip or a handful of fresh parsley gives a lovely, refreshing flavor to this Shepherds Salad, Coban Salata. Talking about spices, please check out the inspirational Spice Trip program on Channel More4 in the UK; a great watch to understand the mysterious and wonderful world of spices.

Medley of sauteed mushrooms and roasted peppers in olive oil; healthy, delicious and easy.

This medley of mushrooms with roasted peppers has been a big hit at our class last Saturday. You can use a variety of mushrooms; portobello, chestnut, oyster or shitake mushrooms, all work very well. Garlic and mushrooms are made for each other and the meaty texture of mushrooms work so well with the juicy, roasted peppers. A squeeze of lemon over them with sprinkles of parsley; your healthy, delicious vegetarian treat is ready to be enjoyed- Afiyet Olsun!

Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi. One of the main staples in Southern Turkish Kitchen, including mine!:)

l flavored the roasted peppers with red pepper paste, biber salcasi; a spoonful this paste adds such a wonderful, rich flavor to any dish. You can get red pepper paste in Middle Eastern stores and Tulumba.com. How about having a go to make your own red pepper paste?  You can also use red pepper flakes instead for flavoring.

I hope all these ideas may inspire you to make good choices for healthy eating; after all, we are what we eat. How do you add flavor to your dishes? Please share with us; your ideas and comments are always very welcome.

Medley of Mushrooms with Garlic and Roasted Peppers, in Olive Oil

This delicious vegetarian course complements any grilled meat, fish or baked potatoes well as a main course. You can also serve it as a starter with some crusty bread by the side.

 Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes                                    Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

350gr/12oz Portobello or chestnut mushrooms, gently cleaned with a damp cloth and sliced

350gr/12oz oyster or shitake mushrooms, gently cleaned with a damp cloth (please tear into pieces)

Green, red and yellow bell (or pointy) peppers – one each-, deseeded, cut in half and sliced lengthwise

4-6 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped

60ml/4 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 juice of lemon (or a little more if you like the tangy taste)

Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

½ tbsp. red pepper paste or 1 ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F

Coat the peppers with the olive oil and the seasoning and bake in the preheated oven until they start getting charred.

Place the sliced peppers in a baking tray and pour 2 tbsp olive oil over them. Season with salt and ground black pepper and coat the peppers with the olive oil and the seasoning. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until they are getting charred.

Juicy, meaty mushrooms and garlic go so well together.

While the peppers are baking in the oven, cook the mushrooms. Heat the remaining olive oil in a shallow pan and add the mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cook a further 3-4 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley, give a good mix and turn the heat off.

A little Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi, add a lot of flavor to the vegetables.

Once the peppers are baked, add the red pepper paste to them (or the red pepper flakes) and combine well.  Stir in the cooked mushrooms to the peppers and gently mix them well. Serve hot, with sprigs of parsley over the vegetables.

 Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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Let's celebrate healthy living with delicious Turkish food and great tips for healthy living!

Seasonal, colorful fruit and vegetables; a very important part of the Turkish Cuisine

Turkish cuisine is healthy, delicious and most Turkish recipes are so easy to prepare. We use seasonal produce, and spice up, flavor our dishes using spices, olive oil, nuts and other natural ingredients.

Aromatic, fragrant spices are at the heart of Turkish cuisine to flavor our dishes

I am delighted to inform you that we have a fabulous Healthy Living and Eating Event coming up on Nov 24th Saturday, from 11am to 1.30pm. It gives me a great pleasure to partner up with Leonie Wright from Eat Wright and Eser Kilcioglu from the Pretty Little Bakery. We would like to show you that you can create easy, delicious meals – wonderful for the upcoming festive season too- that are also healthy and good for you. In addition to my Turkish cookery demonstration and Eser’s demonstration of wonderful gluten-free treats, you will be enjoying a very valuable, informative talk on Healthy Eating Tips by Leonie from Eat Wright.  Needless to say, there will be abundance of delicious food and friendly, feel good atmosphere, all through the event! If you are in the area and would like to join us, please check the details of this wonderful event at Cooking Classes or Contact me.
One of the dishes I will be demonstrating at this wonderful event is the Carcassian chicken in walnuts, whole grain bread and garlic infused olive oil sauce; A very delicious and healthy way to enjoy chicken, you can’t believe there is no cream or mayonnaise in the sauce, yet still very tasty!

Circassian Chicken, Cerkez Tavugu is a delicious and healthy garlicky, red pepper flakes and olive oil infused sauce - simply irresistable

The story of the Circassian Chicken says; during the Ottoman reign, the Sultans took a particular liking to women of Circassian origin and many were captured to serve in the harems as concubines and wives. These fair beauties delighted the Sultans and with them came this dish. Originally the dish was made with fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, used liberally in Circassian cuisine. However the Palace chefs decided to create their own tamer version. This is a great option for a light lunch, served with a green salad and toasted bread or steamed vegetables. The left overs of wonderful dish also makes a great sandwich filler!

You can also spice up your left over chicken roast with the Circassian chicken’s walnut & olive oil sauce. No cream, no mayonnaise; but just a tasty, healthy dressing of garlic, few slices of wholegrain bread, olive oil and red pepper flakes, you can create a delicious chicken dish. How about serving this dish with the refreshing Shepherd’s Salad, Coban Salata? 

I hope these delicious and healthy dishes inspire you; as always, I would greatly appreciate if you can let me know how your experience turned out.

Best wishes for a healthy, enjoyable eating & living for us all,

Ozlem

 

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