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Pickled Cucumbers and Pickled Beetroot, Carrot and Turnip – Turşu

We Turks have a long passion and love for pickles, turşu, dating back to the Ottoman period. Known also as Torshi, derived from Persian torsh ‘sour’, pickled vegetables are much loved in the Middle East and Balkans, as well as in Turkey.

There are over 100 different varieties of turşu at home, and we have special Turşu shops, selling only pickles. From aubergine to cucumbers, tomato to peppers, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, onions, we love pickling vegetables. In southern Turkey, the juice of pickled turnip, şalgam suyu, is also a popular street drink; I love the sour, tangy taste of pickled turnip juice. We enjoy pickles as part of meze spread, add to our salads, with our savoury pastries,  grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. I adore turşu  aside to Bulgur and lentil pilaf with caramalised onions – Mercimekli As or Mujaddara, as well as with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir.

Pickling is an ancient food preservation technique; research suggests that pickled vegetables contain beneficial bacteria, that support our gut health and over all wellbeing too.

Tips: Use glass jars for pickling and sterilize before using. Only use rock salt and make sure your vegetables are firm (for cucumbers, smaller varieties are better). Use one type of vegetable in the jar or group them with similar texture, such as peppers, cucumbers and beetroots/carrots/turnips in separate jars, as their fermentation timing differs, for instance pickled cucumbers get ready earlier than the pickled beets.

I recently enjoyed my turşu with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir, hummus and some borek aside, it was a delicious lunch.  Kisir, variety of boreks, hummus recipes are at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. You can get a hardback copy at this link – now 20 % off – There are now reduced rates of delivery to the US, Canada and Mexico at this link too.

Ideal temperature to keep the pickled jars is about 17-20C, at a dark place. Pickled cucumbers get ready in 3 weeks, pickled beetroots, turnips and carrots in 4 weeks. Please do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar. Once the pickles are ready and jar is opened, keep your pickles, turşu in the fridge. It stays fresh for 2-3 months, when stored in the fridge, in a tightly sealed glass jar.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Pickled Cucumbers and Pickled Beetroot, Carrot and Turnip - Turşu
 
We Turks have a long passion and love for pickles, turşu, dating back to the Ottoman period. There are over 100 different varieties of turşu at home, and we have special Turşu shops, selling only pickles. From aubergine to cucumbers, tomato to peppers, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, onions, we love pickling vegetables. In southern Turkey, the juice of pickled turnip, şalgam suyu, is also a popular street drink; I love the sour, tangy taste of pickled turnip juice. We enjoy pickles as part of meze spread, add to our salads, with our savoury pastries, grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. I adore turşu aside to Bulgur and lentil pilaf with caramalised onions – Mercimekli As or Mujaddara, as well as with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses.
Author:
Recipe type: Pickles, Tursu
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Ingredients
  • For pickling cucumbers:
  • 850ml/30fl oz glass sterilized jar with a tight seal
  • 485g/1lb 1oz firm, small cucumbers, washed, dried and coarsely sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Small bunch of parsley, washed and pat dried
  • 15ml/1tbsp rock salt
  • 50ml/2fl oz distilled malt vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 340ml/12oz drinking water
  • For pickling beetroot, turnip and carrots:
  • 850ml/30fl oz glass sterilized jar with a tight seal
  • 230g/8oz beetroot, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 140g/5oz turnip, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 110g/4oz carrots, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Small bunch of parsley, washed and pat dried
  • 15ml/1tbsp rock salt
  • 50ml/2fl oz distilled malt vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 340ml/12oz drinking water
Instructions
  1. First sterilize your glass jars. Wash your jars and the lids in hot soapy water, but do not dry them. Instead, leave them to stand upside down on a roasting tray, while they're still wet. Pop the tray of clean, wet jars and lids (removing all the plastic parts), in to a preheated oven at 160ºC for about 15 minutes. Then let them cool down.
  2. Place half of the garlic cloves at the bottom of the jar. Then add the coarsely sliced cucumbers, topped by the remaining garlic cloves. Gently pat down and pack them tight and evenly.
  3. If you are pickling beets, carrots and turnips, follow the same procedure. Place half of the garlic cloves at the bottom of a separate jar. Then add the coarsely sliced beets carrots and turnips, topped by the remaining garlic cloves. Gently pat down and pack them tight and evenly.
  4. Combine the 340ml drinking water, 50ml distilled malt vinegar and 1 tbsp rock salt in a jug. Stir and dissolve the salt completely. Pour the mixture into the pickled cucumber jar, making sure the liquid covers the top of the vegetables. Place the parsley on top, close tightly and seal. Gently shake the jar to make sure the liquid reaches all corners and distributed evenly. Store in a cool, dark place, for 3 weeks, in the case of pickled cucumbers. Do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar.
  5. For pickling beetroots, turnip and carrots in a separate glass jar, follow the same procedure and prepare the same pickling solution with 340ml drinking water, 50ml distilled malt vinegar and 1 tbsp rock salt, combined and fully dissolved. Pour the mixture into the pickled beets, carrots and turnip jar, making sure the liquid covers the top of the vegetables. Place the parsley on top, close tightly and seal. Gently shake the jar to make sure the liquid reaches all corners and distributed evenly. Store in a cool, dark place, for 4 weeks, in the case of pickled beets, carrots and turnips. Do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar.
  6. Once pickles, tursu ready, open the jar and enjoy your turşu, pickles, as part of mezze, with salads, with savoury pastries, grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. Once the jar is opened, keep your pickles, turşu in the fridge, covered. It stays fresh for 2-3 months, when stored in the fridge, in a tightly sealed glass jar.
 

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Cheat Manti, Kiymali Makarna – Pasta with Turkish ragout sauce, garlicky yoghurt and Pul biber olive oil

I absolutely love manti, Turkish dumplings with fillings. When I am short of time though, I make this “Cheat Manti”, Kiymali Makarna, using shell shaped conchiglie pasta, over a delicious Turkish style ragout sauce, topped with garlicky yoghurt and pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil – a lovely meal my mother used to make for us for busy weekday dinners. And it certainly delivers that satisfying manti taste – the garlicky yoghurt and pul biber oil take the dish to the next level and brings comforting manti vibes, in almost no time.

You can make your meaty ragout sauce ahead of time. I try to sneak in as much vegetables as possible in the sauce; diced carrots, peppers, mushrooms all work well. The meat sauce is roughly based on my topping recipe for the Stuffed aubergines/eggplants, Karniyarik, from my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, which is cooked further and reduced. For a vegetarian topping, why not using my Baked Vegetables with chickpeas, Firinda Sebzeli Turlu recipe? Great way to finish leftovers too. Please take the yoghurt out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour before you ensemble the dish.

If you also like to make manti, I have two delicious recipes. This is my Traditional manti with minced/ground meat filling; here is also my Vegetarian manti recipe with crushed chickpeas and caramalised onions. They are both so delicious and satisfying and well worth your effort.

My family absolutely love this Cheat Manti, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  You can serve Shepherd salad with sumac onions as a side, if you like.

Cheat Manti, Kiymali Makarna - Pasta with Turkish ragout sauce, garlicky yoghurt and Pul biber olive oil
 
I absolutely love manti, Turkish dumplings with fillings. When I am short of time though, I make this “Cheat Manti”, using shell shaped conchiglie pasta, over a delicious Turkish style ragout sauce, Kiymali Makarna, topped with garlicky yoghurt and pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil – a lovely meal my mother used to make for us for busy weekday dinners. And it certainly delivers that satisfying manti taste – the garlicky yoghurt and pul biber oil take the dish to the next level and brings comforting manti vibes, in almost no time. You can make your meaty ragout sauce ahead of time. I try to sneak in as much vegetables as possible in the sauce; diced carrots, peppers, mushrooms all work well. The meat sauce is roughly based on my topping recipe for the Stuffed aubergines/eggplants, Karniyarik, from my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, which is cooked further and reduced. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 500g/1lb 2oz shell (conchiglie) pasta or your choice of pasta
  • 450g/1lb minced/ground beef (or lamb)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 200g/7oz (can of) chopped tomato
  • 15ml/1tbsp tomato paste
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
  • 240ml/8fl oz water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the garlicky yoghurt:
  • 400g/14oz plain yoghurt (I like to use whole milk yoghurt)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • Salt to your taste
  • For the pul biber/red pepper flakes infused olive oil:
  • 10ml/2tsp (or more!) Turkish pul biber, red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Please take the yoghurt out of the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour before you ensemble the dish. For the garlicky yoghurt, combine the yoghurt with chopped garlic in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt to your taste, combine well and set aside.
  2. Pour 2tbsp olive oil on a wide heavy pan and stir in the onions and carrots. Stir and sauté for 2-3 minutes, over medium to high heat.
  3. Stir in the ground (minced) meat, garlic and chopped peppers, combine well. Sauté for 4-5 minutes over medium to high heat, stirring continuously.
  4. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and 240ml water, combine well. Season with salt and ground black pepper and cook over medium heat for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will reduce at the end of this period; check the seasoning and add more salt or ground black pepper if needed. Stir in the chopped parsley and combine well, turn the heat off.
  5. Towards the last 10 minutes of the meat sauce to get ready, pour in the hot water to a medium sized pan and stir in your pasta (I like to use shell shaped conchiglie pasta, which reminds me the manti shape). Cook your pasta, al dente, as per the cooking instructions in the package (conchiglie pasta cooks al dente in 10 minutes). Drain the water and drizzle a little olive oil over and combine, so the pasta doesn’t stick.
  6. In a small sauté pan, drizzle 2tbsp olive oil and stir in the pul biber or red pepper flakes. Stir and gently infuse the pul biber to the olive oil, over medium to low heat, for 1 -2 minutes, turn the heat off.
  7. You are now ready to ensemble your cheat manti feast; using a serving spoon, place the pasta on a plate. Spread the 3 – 4 tablespoonfuls of the meaty sauce over the pasta and scatter a few small dollops of garlicky yoghurt over the sauce. Drizzle pul biber infused olive oil over the garlicky yoghurt. Serve immediately.
  8. Afiyet Olsun.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book – 20 % Off, delivered worldwide

Holiday and gift giving season is upon us. Hardback signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, as well as this beautiful apron, are available to order at this link, and delivered worldwide, including the US. Signed copies are 20 % off via GB Publishing, and we are told they make very special gifts.

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Baked vegetables with chickpeas – Firinda Sebzeli, Nohutlu Turlu

Baked vegetables with chickpeas – Firinda Sebzeli, Nohutlu Turlu

I love the abundance of seasonal vegetables we get in Turkey. This is a wonderful vegetarian dish, celebrating the seasonal bounty at home. Turlu is traditionally cooked over stove top, as a stew, though I prefer to bake the dish in the oven here, as I love the additional dept of flavours you get with baking the vegetables. Having chickpeas in these casseroles are a typical Turkish fare; its earthy flavour goes well here and makes it a delicious and substantial all in one dish. In winter months, you can use root vegetables like beetroots, potato, as well as leeks etc. in this wholesome dish. It also tastes better next day and freezes well. Great for back to school and weekday meals.

You can serve as this turlu with crusty bread or rice pilaf. I also love to top this wholesome casserole over the smoked eggplant béchamel sauce, as a vegetarian topping for the Turkish classic, Hunkar Begendi – Sultan’s Delight.

Aubergines, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, Mercimekli Mualla, from my  cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Image credit: Sian Irvine Photography

Turkish cuisine offers wholesome, delicious vegetarian and vegan choices, such as this Aubergine, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, Mercimekli Mualla, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Signed copies are now 25 % off and delivered worldwide, including the US and Canada at this link.

Baked vegetables with chickpeas – Firinda Sebzeli, Nohutlu Turlu
 
This is a wonderful vegetarian dish, celebrating the seasonal bounty at home. Turlu is traditionally cooked over stove top, as a stew, though I prefer to bake the dish in the oven here, as I love the additional dept of flavours you get with baking the vegetables. Having chickpeas in these casseroles are a typical Turkish fare; its earthy flavour goes well here and makes it a delicious and substantial all in one dish. In winter months, you can use root vegetables like beetroots, potato, as well as leeks etc. in this wholesome dish. It also tastes better next day and freezes well. Great for back to school and weekday meals. You can serve as this turlu with crusty bread or rice pilaf. I also love to top this wholesome casserole over the smoked eggplant béchamel sauce, as a vegetarian topping for the Turkish classic, Hunkar Begendi – Sultan’s Delight.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian and Vegan
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 medium aubergines/eggplants, cut in lengthways and sliced in chunks
  • 3 medium courgettes/zucchini, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large or 2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced in wedges
  • 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut in chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 400g/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g/14oz can of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 15ml/1tbsp dried oregano
  • 10ml/2tsp Turkish pul biber or red pepper flakes
  • 10ml/2tsp ground cumin
  • 60ml/4tbsp olive oil
  • 15ml/1tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
  • 285ml/10fl oz hot water
  • Handful of chopped flat leaf parsley to decorate
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F
  2. Spread the eggplant/aubergine chunks on a wide tray, sprinkle salt over and leave aside for about 10 minutes. Using a paper towel, squeeze the excess water out of the aubergines/eggplants.
  3. Toss all the vegetables with olive oil, oregano, pul biber/red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper, on a large baking tray. Please do that with your (clean) hands and make sure all the spices and olive oil coat the vegetables; this really helps to infuse all the spices and olive oil to the vegetables to enhance their flavour. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes, turning them around the midway. By the end of this roasting, the vegetables will start to get charred along the edges and softened. Transfer the roasted vegetables over a large baking dish.
  4. Combine the 285ml/10fl oz hot water with tomato paste and mix well. Stir in the can of chopped tomatoes, rinsed chickpeas, cumin; season with salt and pepper and combine well. Pungent cumin goes well with earthy chickpeas.
  5. Pour this mixture over the roasted vegetables in the baking dish and gently combine well. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to your taste.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for another 20 – 25 minutes, until all vegetables cooked, browned at edges and the sauce thickened. Sprinkle chopped parsley over, ready to serve.
  7. Serve with crusty bread or rice pilaf aside (sharp feta cheese is great crumbled over too, as an option). I also love this wholesome casserole over the smoked eggplant béchamel sauce, as a vegetarian topping for the Turkish classic, Hunkar Begendi – Sultan’s Delight.
  8. Afiyet Olsun.
 

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