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Baked Prawns with Vegetables and Cheese – Karides Guvec

Baked prawns with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic - Karides Guvec

Baked prawns with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, garlic – Karides Guvec

Have you ever tried the baked prawns with tomato, mushroom, peppers, onions and garlic – Karides Guvec, in Turkey? This popular all-in-one pot dish is served in fish restaurants in Turkey as a starter hot mezze and simply irresistible. Raki, Turkish spirit, is a popular and traditional drink to accompany Karides Guvec and seafood in Turkey.

Karides guvec is traditionally cooked in earthenware pot, though ramekin dish works well too.

Karides guvec is traditionally cooked in earthenware pot, though ramekin dish works well too.

Traditionally, prawns are cooked here with plenty of vegetables in a one big earthenware pot (or in smaller individual ones), called guvec, which delivers a wonderful flavor. But no worries if you don’t have one; a ramekin dish or a glass baking dish also works very well too. The marriage of baked tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers and garlic in olive oil with prawns is heavenly; all you need is some crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices and a green salad a side. You can serve this easy baked prawns as a starter or as a main course with some plain rice aside; great for sharing with friends and family.

Karides Guvec- baked prawns with vegetables; a delicious appetizer to share with family and friends.

Karides Guvec- baked prawns with vegetables; a delicious appetizer to share with family and friends.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes                           Cooking time: 30 minutes

225gr/ 8oz fresh raw king prawns, shelled, cleaned and pat dried

225gr/ 8oz chestnut or white mushrooms, wiped cleaned, halved and sliced

1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 green bell pepper (or 2 sivri biber, pointy pepper, if you can get), seeded, quartered and thinly sliced

2 bay leaves (optional)

400gr/14 oz. good quality 1 can of chopped tomatoes

120gr/4 oz. grated cheddar (kasar) or mozzarella, if you prefer a milder taste

3 tbsp./45ml olive oil

2 fl oz./ ¼ cup water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

10 ml/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, Turkish pul biber or chili flakes

Handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Slices of fresh, crusty bread or Turkish flat breads, pide to serve

Shepherd Salad of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, Coban Salata to serve

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F

Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, peppers and mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, season with salt (mushrooms especially require generous seasoning) black pepper and red pepper flakes, pul biber. Stir and cook over medium heat for another 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaves and ¼ cups water, combine well. Simmer over medium to low heat for about 10 minutes, until you get a nice chunky sauce. Check the seasoning of your sauce and add more salt or spices to your taste.

You can bake prawns with  the vegetable sauce in a one big pot or in individual dishes.

You can bake prawns with the vegetable sauce in a one big pot or in individual dishes.

Stir in the fresh, raw prawns to the sauce and mix well. Spoon this mixture into individual or a one big earthenware pot or ramekin dish or any baking dish you have. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through and the cheese is nicely golden brown on top.

Garnish with chopped parsley over the top and serve hot with slices of crusty bread or Turkish flat breads, pide by the side. Refreshing Shepherd’s Salad of sliced onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, Coban Salata, complements this dish beautifully.

 Karides Guvec; Baked prawns with vegetables and cheese, ready to enjoy!

Karides Guvec; Baked prawns with vegetables and cheese, ready to enjoy!

 

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Beans in many delicious ways; Turkish Bean Stew with Chicken, Onion, Peppers and Tomatoes – Etli Kuru Fasulye & More

Dried pulses like chickpeas, beans and lentils are a big part of Turkish cuisine and we eat these staples almost daily; they are delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare. Beans, which were established in the early history of Anatolia, are wholesome and nutritious. They are a great source of source of protein, vitamin B1 and dietary fiber.

Warm hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil is such a delicious treat.

Pulse dishes  are very popular at home as mezzes – such as this  Warm hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive  oil made from chickpeas, tahini, cumin and extra virgin olive oil. Have you ever had hummus served warm? That’s the way we enjoy hummus especially in southern Turkey, warming the hummus brings out the wonderful flavors of tahini, cumin and olive oil, and it is just delicious.

This bean salad with tomatoes, olives, red onion slices and olives is wonderful for lunch or a side dish for grilled meat.

How about this delicious and substantial Turkish bean salad with eggs, olives, onions, and tomatoes; Fasulye Piyazi, for lunch ? We like to serve this salad along with grilled meatballs at home, such a delicious, healthy treat.

Kuru Fasulye; one of the most traditional Turkish dishes, wholesome and so delicious.

This week, I wanted to share our delicious traditional bean stew, Kuru Fasulye.  This bean stew  is very popular at Turkish homes as well as in our traditional restaurants, lokantas. Traditional lokantas in Turkey are also called Esnaf Lokantasi; as the workers used to come to these restaurants for their lunch break- is a wonderful concept.

Fehmi Lokantasi in Kadikoy; delicious, precooked meals all lined up - so many choices!

Have ever been to the vibrant and ever so colorful Kadikoy district in Istanbul? The market is wonderful with the fresh produce and friendly lokantas around.  This is Fehmi Lokantasi in Kadikoy, with mouthwatering displays of ready to eat stews, rice, vegetables cooked in olive oil and many more.

Delicious displays of casseroles, fresh beans cooked in olive oil and many more at Fehmi Lokantasi.

Trays of precooked – and gently heated – stews, rice, vegetables cooked in olive oil, stuffed vegetables and many more – are displayed in a buffet style in traditional lokantas. This is slowly cooked “fast food”; 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, I usually end up having small portions of a few to share!-.

Good news is, you can recreate many of these stews and casseroles at home too. I  love this bean stew with chicken and vegetables, as it is so easy, delicious and nutritious. If you are using dried beans, you need to soak them overnight. But if you don’t have time for this, please have a go and use the precooked haricot beans instead. They still work great and you will be preparing a wholesome, delicious meal in no time.

Turkish Bean stew with spicy sausages, sucuklu kuru fasulye

This bean stew is also wonderful when cooked with Turkish spicy sausage, sucuk. You can use any spicy sausage you like or for a vegetarian option, simply omit the meat.

Turkish Bean Stew with Chicken, Onion, Peppers in Tomato Sauce – Tavuklu Kuru Fasulye

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes                           Cooking time: 35 minutes (add 30 minutes cooking time if dried beans are used)

2 cups / 340 gr Cannellini dried white beans or

14oz/1 can of pre-cooked cannellini (or haricot) beans, rinsed

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 green (pointy) or bell pepper, finely chopped

Handful of parsley, coarsely chopped

15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil

8oz / 225 gr chicken breast (or your choice of meat), cut in small chunks

14oz/ 400 gr can of chopped tomatoes

300ml/ 1 ¼ cups water

1/2 tablespoon red pepper paste (optional)

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Precooked dried beans are perfectly fine to use in the stew; and you will still be making a wholesome meal.

If you are using dried beans, soak them in plenty of water overnight. Next day, drain the water and boil the dried beans in fresh water for about 30 minutes, partially covered, until they are tender but not mushy. Drain the water and set the cooked beans aside.

If you are using precooked white beans, simply drain the juice and rinse the beans under cold water. Set them aside.

In a heavy pan, sauté the onion with the olive oil until soft. Add the meat and sauté for another minute or so. Stir in the green peppers, chopped tomatoes and the red pepper paste (if using) and mix well. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Then stir in the cooked beans and the water, mixing gently so that the beans won’t break. Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook in medium heat for. about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and combine well.

Delicious Kuru Fasulye; wonderful with plain rice by the side.

Serve hot with plain rice by the side. You can cook this stew ahead of time, even a day in advance. It freezes very well too. Traditionally; some locals also like to have a quarter of sliced raw onion by the side. A few pickles – tursu, as we say in Turkish- as well as Cacik dip –of yoghurt, cucumbers and dried mint– complements this bean stew well.

Cacik dip of plain yoghurt, cucumbers and dried mint complements the bean stew well.

Have you ever tried Esnaf Lokantasi – open buffet style traditional Turkish restaurants – in Turkey? What is your favorite slowly cooked “fast food” there? If you haven’t tried this yet, I hope you have a go; healthy, nutritious and so delicious treats will be waiting for you – and please enjoy the sites along the journey 🙂

Kiz Kulesi, Maiden Tower, Istanbul. Try traveling by ferries - vapur - in Istanbul to enjoy wonderful sites like this.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Bulgur Wheat Salad with Red Onion and Vegetables – Kirmizi Soganli Kisir


This is a lighter version of the spicy Kisir, bulgur wheat salad I posted earlier. The use of red onions and lemon and olive oil dressing make the salad wonderfully refreshing. And it is a bowl of health, packed with fiber and vitamins, thanks to the vegetables and bulgur. It can be rolled into balls and served nestling in crunchy lettuce leaves. This dish is perfect for buffets or as part of a barbecue spread.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 25 minutes

175gr/ 6oz/1cup bulgur
8fl oz/ 1cup hot water
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste
5ml/1 teaspoon paprika flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
60ml/4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
3 spring/ green onions, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
Handful of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves to serve

Mix the bulgur wheat, salt, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, and onion and knead thoroughly. Pour the hot water over this mixture and stir, then leave to stand for about 15 minutes. It should absorb all the water by the end of this period. The bulgur should be of a dry consistency.

Add the lemon juice with the extra virgin olive oil and knead well again. Stir in tomatoes, spring/green onion and the parsley and combine thoroughly. Please check the seasoning and add more salt or spices to your taste.

Serve as a salad in a bowl garnished with lettuce leaves. Alternatively, take spoonfuls of the mixture and with wet hands roll into balls the size of walnuts. Refrigerate until required. This dish can be prepared a couple of days in advance and can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. As a matter of fact, it tastes even better a day or two later it’s made!

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Note: Bulgur wheat unlike cracked wheat, is a grain made from the cooked wheat berries which have the bran removed, and are then dried and pounded. There are two varieties generally available, fine and coarse. Because it is precooked, it only requires a minimal amount of cooking to reconstitute itself.

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