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Tag Archives | tencere yemekleri

Comforting (and gluten-free) Spinach with ground meat, onions & wholegrain basmati rice – Kiymali Ispanak

Comforting & delicious Spinach with ground meat, onions and wholegrain basmati rice - also gluten-free!

Comforting & delicious Spinach with ground meat, onions and wholegrain basmati rice – also gluten-free!

Kiymali Ispanak, Spinach with ground meat, onions and rice is one of my favorite comfort food that I turn to often. Spinach is a much loved vegetable in Turkey and often finds its way in boreks, savory pastries and also enjoyed with eggs. This dish, like other all-in-one pan dishes called “Tencere Yemekleri” in Turkish, is a popular one at home. Spinach, rice and ground meat are cooked together in the pan, with a generous tomato based sauce to dip your bread in. It is very easy to cook, delicious and you have a complete, healthy dish in a short time. This meal is also gluten-free if you use wholegrain basmati rice.

Scrumptious array of home cooked stews, stuffed vegetables, dolmas, koftes and more at traditional lokantas in Turkey

Scrumptious array of home cooked stews, stuffed vegetables, dolmas, koftes and more at traditional lokantas in Turkey

“Tencere Yemekleri” is also popular by the locals, enjoyed at  the traditional, local restaurants called “Esnaf Lokantasi”. Trays of mouthwatering precooked and gently heated bean stews, rice, vegetables cooked in olive oil, stuffed vegetables, spinach with onion and eggs and many more are displayed in a buffet style. This is slowly cooked “fast food”, Turkish style; all you need to do is to pick up your tray and point to the Chef, Asci, which dishes you would like to try. They are ever so inviting, healthy, delicious, great value and a wonderful way to sample some home style Turkish meals. We enjoyed this feast in Asik Restaurant in Didyma during our Culinary & Cultural Turkey tour this year; really a feast to all senses.

Kiymali Ispanak; Spinach with ground meat, onions and rice, a complete, healthy & delicious meal.

Kiymali Ispanak; Spinach with ground meat, onions and rice, a complete, healthy & delicious meal.

I hope you enjoy this favorite comfort food featuring spinach. I like to use all the stems and leaves of the spinach, once washed well. Plain or garlic yoghurt with crusty bread aside go really well with this spinach meal.

Bulgur and potato patties with spring onion; bulgurlu, patatesli kofte

Bulgur and potato patties with spring onion; bulgurlu, patatesli kofte

We also enjoy this potato and bulgur patties, bulgurlu & patatesli kofte, to go with this spinach dish; they are delicious to dip into wonderful sauce of the spinach meal.

Serves  4

750 gr/1lb 10oz fresh spinach, washed and coarsely chopped

2 medium onions, finely chopped

225gr/8oz/1 cup ground beef

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

90gr/3 ½ oz. / ½ cup wholegrain basmati rice, rinsed and drained

30ml/2 tbsp. tomato paste (or 1 tbsp. double concentrated tomato paste)

30ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil

750ml/ 1 ¼ pints/3 cups hot water

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Plain natural yoghurt to serve

Red pepper flakes to serve

Heat the olive oil in a heavy, deep pan. Stir in the onions and cook until golden. Add the ground beef and garlic, stir and cook for a few minutes, until the juice from the meat is evaporated. Add the rinsed rice, tomato paste and the hot water, stir well. Once the mixture starts to bubble, add the chopped spinach and season with salt and ground black pepper. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes.

Comforting & delicious Spinach with ground meat, onions and wholegrain basmati rice - also gluten-free!

Comforting Spinach with ground meat, onions and wholegrain basmati rice

You can serve this delicious spinach meal with a dollop of plain yoghurt over the top, sprinkled with red pepper flakes. Fresh, crusty bread aside is ideal to mop up the delicious juices.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes with Ground Meat and Rice – Dolma

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Stuffed peppers and tomatoes in ground meat, onion and aromatic rice; domates ve biber dolmasi – delicious and also gluten-free

Some of the food we eat has the ability to transport us to our childhood, have a special link to bond us with those precious memories. These stuffed peppers and tomatoes have such power on me; they are the delicious gateways to take me back home, right to my mother’s as well as my grandmother’s kitchen. Preparing the dolma is quite a grand ritual at home; cousins, sisters, whoever available, gather around a big table; filled with trays of vegetables and stuffing. Some prepare the vegetables, scooping the flesh out, some make the filling, and some do the stuffing. These all happen, of course, with constant flow of Turkish coffee and tea (cay) and catching up! We would then eagerly wait for the dolmas to be cooked; then me and my sister would eat the dolma with a dollop of plain yoghurt on top. We used to call them our “savory ice cream”; I am now trying this trick on my own children 🙂

A dollop of plain or garlicky yoghurt over the dolmas is delicious

A dollop of plain or garlicky yoghurt over the dolmas is delicious

We Turks love stuffing vegetables. The word dolma is used for the vegetables like aubergines, peppers, courgettes, tomatoes that can be stuffed. I like to save the scooped flesh of the tomatoes and use it in the sauce of the dolmas. Stuffed tomatoes are especially a staple of the summer season when tomatoes are abundant and at their peak. For a richer taste, you can also add red pepper paste, biber salcasi or tomato paste to the sauce.

This dish is made from wholegrain basmati rice and it is also gluten-free. Garlicky or plain yoghurt by the side complements the dolmas very well.  We made these dolmas at my recent Turkish cookery class; it was a highlight for the participants and they were surprised how easy the dolmas were. I hope you enjoy them and can have a go too.

Serves 6-8

Preparation time: 40 minutes                        Cooking time: 45 minutes

3 medium size bell peppers – or 5-6 small bell peppers

4 medium tomatoes

6-8 cloves of garlic, crushed

For the filling:

110gr/4oz/ 1/2 cup ground beef/lamb or ground turkey

115gr/4oz/generous 1/2 cup wholegrain basmati rice, rinsed

2 medium onion, grated

Bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

10ml/1tbsp olive oil

10ml/2 tsp dried mint

10ml / 2 tsp ground black pepper

Salt to taste

For the sauce:

The flesh of the scooped tomatoes, finely chopped

15 ml/1 tbsp. olive oil

15ml/1 tbsp. red pepper paste or tomato paste – optional-

 

Red pepper flakes to serve – optional-

Bowl of plain (natural yoghurt) or garlicky yoghurt to serve

 

Filling ingredients for the dolmas; dried mint and parsley add a delicious, refreshing flavour

Filling ingredients for the dolmas; dried mint and parsley add a delicious, refreshing flavour

Put the ground meat in a large bowl and stir in the rest of the filling ingredients. Season and knead, until all blended well. The filling is ready.

Scoop out the seeds of the peppers; save the flesh of the tomatoes

Scoop out the seeds of the peppers; save the caps of the peppers and tomatoes.

Now, let’s prepare the vegetables. Cut the stalk ends of the peppers and save them aside (we will need them to cap the stuffed peppers later). Scoop out the seeds of the peppers.

Save the flesh of the tomatoes to go at the sauce of the dolmas

Save the flesh of the tomatoes to go at the sauce of the dolmas, stuffed peppers and tomatoes.

Slice the tops of the tomatoes and save them aside. Using a spoon, scoop out the tomato flesh, chop them finely and reserve in a bowl. Take care not to pierce through the skin of the tomatoes.

Stuff the tomatoes and peppers with the filling until they are about ¾ full.

Stuff the tomatoes and peppers with the filling until they are about ¾ full.

Take a few spoonfuls of the filling and pack it into the vegetables, until they are about ¾ full. Take care not to overfill to the top, as the rice filling will need some space to expand. Place the stalk ends and tomato tops as lids.

Once cooked, pour a little of the dolmas’ delicious sauce over each stuffed pepper, tomato before serving.

Once cooked, pour a little of the dolmas’ delicious sauce over each stuffed pepper, tomato before serving.

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in to a heavy pan.  Place the stuffed vegetables upright, packed tightly, in the pan. For the sauce; combine the chopped tomato flesh with 1 tbsp. red pepper paste or tomato paste (if you are using, for a richer taste) and stir in to the pan. Then pour a couple of cups of water around the stuffed vegetables, until it covers just about the half of vegetables. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Stir in the cloves of garlic and cover. Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook gently for about 45 – 50 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the filling cooked.

Domates ve biber dolmasi; stuffed tomatoes and peppers; delicious & gluten-free

Domates ve biber dolmasi; stuffed tomatoes and peppers; delicious & gluten-free

Once cooked, I like to take their cap off and pour a little of the dolmas’ delicious sauce over each stuffed pepper and tomato before serving and put their cap back on. Serve hot with plain natural or garlic yoghurt by the side. You can also  sprinkle red pepper flakes over the dolmas if you like.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Etli Taze Fasulye – Green beans with ground meat and vegetables

 

Etli Taze fasulye; green beans cooked with onions, tomatoes, potatoes with ground meat; delicious, healthy and easy

Etli Taze fasulye; green beans cooked with onions, tomatoes, potatoes with ground meat; delicious, healthy and easy



I spotted some lovely runner beans in the market and made this very popular Turkish dish. I like to add potatoes too, though traditionally we wouldn’t. It is wholesome, healthy, delicious and very easy to make – and you get your 4 vegetables a day in one go! If you can’t find runner beans, you can use French beans too.

You can cook this dish ahead of time and gently reheat just before eating. It is a huge help and comfort not to worry about dinners during the week and this recipe certainly helps! You can serve with pilaff rice and Cacik dip, Cucumber and yoghurt dip with mint, for a complete meal.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

250 gr/9 oz ground (minced) lean beef
500 gr/1 1/4 lb runner beans (or French beans), trimmed and cut in 3-4 pieces
115 gr/4 oz small potatoes, halved and sliced
2 medium onions, finely sliced
400 gr/14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
30 ml/ 2 tablespoons olive oil
240 ml/ 8 lf oz water
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper/ paprika flakes to serve – optional-

Sauté the onions with the olive oil for a couple of minutes over medium heat and add the ground meat. Continue cooking for further couple of minutes. Add the potatoes, beans and tomatoes and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over medium to low heat for about 40 minutes (French beans may take shorter to cook). Cook for a further 5-10 minutes if needed. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to your liking.

Serve hot, sprinkled with red pepper/ paprika flakes if you would like, with some crusty bread or plain rice by the side.

Afiyet Olsun!

Note: I previously made the vegetarian version of this dish, “Runner beans cooked in olive oil”, Zeytinyagli taze fasulye, which is lovely for hot summers day.

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