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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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Baked Aubergine Kebab with Meatballs – Firinda Patlican Kebabi

Baked Aubergine Kebab with Meatballs – Firinda Patlican Kebabi

We greatly enjoy this delicious southern Turkish style Baked Aubergine Kebab with Meatballs – Firinda Patlican Kebabi, especially popular in Gaziantep region in Turkey.  We adore aubergine / eggplant/patlican in Turkey; one can safely say, it is our national vegetable, with over 200 recipes featuring aubergine in Turkish cuisine. Its meaty, melt in the mouth texture and naturally sweet flesh is simply fantastic here, cooked with meatballs, tomatoes and peppers. Please use long and slim variety of the purple aubergines, eggplants for this kebab.

I love the ease of this all in one bake dish. Please make sure to sprinkle salt over the aubergine slices and squeeze out their excess moisture with a paper towel. Then simply coat olive oil and seasoning over the aubergine slices. There is no need to sauté or fry the aubergine slices and the meatballs before baking. They bake all together very well, infusing their flavour to one another. You can prep this dish ahead of time and freeze leftovers successfully.

Baked Turkish meatballs casserole from Ozlem’s Turkish Table, image by Sian Irvine Food Photography

The meatballs in this recipe is based on my Turkish baked meatballs with vegetables, Firinda Sebzeli Kofte recipe, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, another version of this delicious all in one bake.

Signed hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table are available at this link;  I am delighted to share that there is now significantly reduced shipping rates of hardback Ozlem’s Turkish Table to the USA via GB Publishing, at this link too.

You can serve this dish with plain pilaf rice and cooling Cacik dip of cucumber and yoghurt aside.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Baked Aubergine Kebab with Meatballs – Firinda Patlican Kebabi
 
We greatly enjoy this delicious southern Turkish style Baked Aubergine Kebab with Meatballs – Firinda Patlican Kebabi, especially popular in Gaziantep region in Turkey. I love the ease of this all in one bake dish. Please make sure to sprinkle salt over the aubergine slices and squeeze out their excess moisture with a paper towel. Then simply coat olive oil and seasoning over the aubergine slices. There is no need to sauté or fry the aubergine slices and the meatballs before baking. They bake all together very well, infusing their flavour to one another. You can prep this dish ahead of time and freeze leftovers successfully.
Author:
Recipe type: Aubergine/eggplant and meatballs bake
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • For the kofte (meatballs):
  • 450g/1lb minced/ground lamb, beef or mixture
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 60g/2oz stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 small bunch finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish pul biber or red pepper flakes
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Small bowl of water for kneading kofte and getting your hands wet
  • And the rest:
  • 2 medium and long (or 3, if smaller) aubergines / eggplants
  • 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and sliced in chunky wedges
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 45ml / 3tbsp olive oil (to coat the aubergine slices)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the sauce:
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • 30ml/2tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil
  • 200ml/7fl oz warm water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F
  2. First prepare your meatball mixture. Discard the crusts of the bread, soak in the water and squeeze dry. Then crumble them into a large bowl. Add all the kofte, meatballs ingredients except the ground/minced meat and knead well. This will soften the onions and enable the spices to blend in the mixture evenly. Add the minced/ground meat and knead well again until the mixture resembles a soft dough. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Slice the aubergines/eggplants into about 1.5cm / 0.6in circles and spread over a large tray. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 10 minutes. Gently squeeze out their excess moisture with paper towel. Place them back on a clean large tray.
  4. Drizzle 45ml / 3tbsp olive oil over the aubergine/eggplant slices. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, gently rub the olive oil and seasoning over the aubergine/eggplant slices.
  5. Now, shape your meatballs. Have a bowl of cold water near you. With damp hands, take a piece the size of a large walnut and roll into a round meatball, as large as your aubergine/eggplant slices, and slightly flatten. Place them on large dish or a tray side by side.
  6. Have a round baking dish with 25cm/10in diameter near you (a 25cmx25cm square baking dish would work well too). Place a slice of aubergine upright and place a meatball alongside. Repeating this, place all the aubergine slices and meatballs side by side, quite tightly, so they can stay upright.
  7. Gently tuck in the coarsely sliced bell peppers around the aubergine slices and meatballs. Place the tomato slices around the middle part of your round baking dish, in between aubergine and meatball layers, or if you are using a square baking dish, in between layers.
  8. For the sauce; combine the finely chopped garlic, 200ml/7fl oz warm water, 2tbsp tomato paste and 2tbsp olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and ground black pepper and combine well.
  9. Pour the sauce over the prepared aubergine, meatballs and vegetables. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes.
  10. Then take the cover off, gently spoon the sauce in the baking dish over the aubergine and meatballs and bake further 20 – 25 minutes, until the meatballs and vegetables cooked and slightly charred.
  11. Drizzle the sauce from the baking the dish over the aubergine and meatballs again. Serve with plain pilaf rice and cooling Cacik dip of cucumber and yoghurt aside.
 

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