This is such a satisfying, delicious and healthy salad. The cumin and red pepper flakes amazingly transform the humble Turkish white cheese (or if it’s not available, Greek feta cheese). In my hometown, Antakya (Antioch), this special crumbled dried white cheese mixed with cumin, red pepper flakes and oregano is called Kuru Cokelek (also known as Surk) and readily available. Well, I can’t get Kuru Cokelek at the moment, though pleased to say that the crumbled feta with these spices work just as good, highly recommended. If you are in Turkey, you can also make this salad with the creamy lor peynir; its mild taste goes well with this salad.
This easy salad is a wonderful treat for lunch or weekend brunch with some pita bread. My heartfelt thanks goes to my mother, who made this salad to us almost daily and injected us the love of food.
Turkish cuisine is packed with delicious, wholesome choices and based on seasonal produce; this delicious salad and over 90 authentic recipes are included in my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table – you can order at Amazon now or you can get a Signed copy here (distributed worldwide, including USA). Signed copies are also 20 % off at this link until end July 2019, delivered worldwide.
Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes
½ small yellow or red onion, finely diced
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
¼ of long cucumber or ½ small cucumber, finely diced
Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
110gr/40z Cokelek or lor peynir, as available in Turkey (or Greek feta cheese as an alternative),
5 ml/1 teaspoon ground cumin
5 ml/1 teaspoon red pepper (or paprika) flakes
5 ml/1 teaspoon dried oregano
30 ml/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 ml/1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Pita bread wedges to serve
In a bowl, mix the Turkish white cheese, lor peynir (or Greek feta cheese), onion, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes with your hands. This will soften the onion and infuse the spices to the feta and onion. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice, and mix well. Check the seasoning and add salt and black pepper to your taste.
Serve with pita bread wedges.
Makes my mouth water! I know this is delicious!
Merhaba April, thanks a lot – this is one of our favorite salads too!: )
How healthy and fresh this salad! As the summer approaches feta is one of the favorites cheese. I love the spices you have used.
Ciao Alida, thank you! It really is refreshing and the spices add a wonderful aroma for feta, glad you enjoyed it : )
I made this a couple of times with Bulgarian Feta (including as part of the Christmas day spread) and yeah it was pretty good, but a bit liquid.
But I was at the Gima Turkish supermarket this morning and I saw a 330g tray of Çökelek so I thought I’d splash-out and give it a try.
Gotta say: this salad definitely is amazing with the Çökelek cheese. Çökelek’s saltiness and dryness and and ability to crumble just seems to suit the cumin, cucumber and chilli perfectly.
Definitely worth getting Çökelek cheese if you can.
So true Been, cokelek is a perfect fit in this salad; a winning combination with cumin and red pepper flakes. If you use feta instead – like most of the folks living abroad may need to – please drain all the juice in the packaging, so it has a dry sort of consistency, than crumble the feta. So glad you enjoyed Cokelek Salatasi, afiyet olsun!
Did you say you currently live in the UK Ozlem?
I know it may sound like a big investment of your spare time; but if you look around London it’s highly likely that some shop somewhere would have it.
I few years ago I lived in London and knew a few Turks and as far as I’m aware they all used to find ingredients for Turkish cooking, albeit doing some lengthy expeditions in the weekend for the groceries.
There was as a couple of Greek grocery shops within a short walk that I know they all used to frequent, and there were plenty of little superette’s around (often run by arabs) where they’d buy a lot of things. I wouldn’t expect they got Çökelek cheese from those places though.
But I know for a fact that one or two of them would take some time out in the weekend to go to this place in Hackney/Dalston where they’d buy a lot of explicitly Turkish food.
You never know what you can find in London if you’ve got the time to invest in looking…
Many thanks for your note Been, indeed plenty of Turkish food markets in and around London, I count myself lucky. Nearest to me is in North Cheam, a heavenly market to visit that takes me back home! Worth the effort, you are right – look forward to checking Hackney / Dalston area, thank you for that and your kind note.
Merbaha Ozlem, ben Turk mutfagini cok seviyorum, tarifi icin cok tesekkur ederim. 😀 Hope I wrote something good. Love evrything about the turkish culture and cuisine….and It all started with the turkish drama series 🙂 greetings from Hirvatistan 😀
Merhaba Martina, many thanks for your kind note – Turkceniz harika, mesaj icin tesekkur ederim. Greetinngs back to Hirvatistan!:)
I bought Çökelek, but didn’t know what to do with it – found this recipe, amazing!
You are most welsome Corry, Afiyet olsun – a lovely fragrant salad from my hometown Antakya – it is at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table too
best wishes, Ozlem