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Turkish Bean Stew with Chicken; Tavuklu Kuru Fasulye and more

Pulse, beans and legumes  are very popular at home as wholesome meals and  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.


Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book, available to order at this link

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. I love beans and included many beans based salads, dips and mains at my Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, signed copies available to order at this link.

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,


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26 Responses to Turkish Bean Stew with Chicken; Tavuklu Kuru Fasulye and more

  1. joyce October 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    oh wow!!! i want to try all of these. now i have so many new recipes to make i am not sure where i will start! i am also going to make your mothers stuffed cabbage recipe. thanks so much!

    • Ozlem October 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      Dear Joyce,
      You are so welcome! Beans are very versatile, so many ways to enjoy them with seasonal, fresh produce, hope you enjoy them : )

  2. Alida October 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    You are absolutely right about beans. They are so healthy, nutricious and tasty. You always make wonderful dishes with lots of colours and they are ever so inviting!

    • Ozlem October 8, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      Ciao Alida, many thanks – always a pleasure to share 🙂

  3. Velva October 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    This dishes are beautiful. I can appreciate beans as I grew-up on them as well but in an American diet.

    Thanks so much for sharing.


    • Ozlem October 8, 2012 at 8:56 am #

      Many thanks Vera, I really enjoy this exchange of recipes and ideas, and I look forward to checking out your blog 🙂

  4. Peri's Spice Ladle October 8, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Yummy…yummy…yummy! Ozlem, so many of my favorites in this post. Love beans and you have some amazing ways to use them:) delicious…xxxPeri.

    • Ozlem October 8, 2012 at 8:56 am #

      Thank you Peri : ) I love how you spice up beans too!:)

  5. BacktoBodrum October 8, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    Kuru/pilav . The first dish I have the have if I’ve been away from Turkey for a while. My favourite,

    • Ozlem October 8, 2012 at 9:09 am #

      Pilav ustu kuru fasulye – my absolute favorite too; thanks for stopping:)

  6. Hollis October 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    I love your recipes and often cook for groups of 8-15 people. In September I cooked for a retreat and used four of your recipes which were super popular. I can’t wait to try the latest! Thanks so much!

    • Ozlem October 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      Hi Hollis, so glad to hear you have been enjoying the recipes, no better compliment:) it’s a pleasure to share them, hope you enjoy the bean recipes too!

  7. Saei October 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Hi Ozlem,
    Easy and delicious…I love it 🙂

    bir revani tarifi istersem,olur mu acaba? :”)


    Saei 🙂

    • Ozlem October 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Merhaba Saei,

      Glad you liked the bean dishes : ) As for revani, I haven’t put in blog yet, but this recipe looks good
      hope it helps, Selamlar,

      • Saei October 10, 2012 at 12:46 am #

        Mersi 🙂
        Kac yil once ogrendim TV dan yaptim cok guzel oldu 2 yil falan dir yapmiyorum,unutum…
        Yeni yapim bakim nasil olacak 🙂


        • Ozlem October 10, 2012 at 8:52 am #

          Eline saglik Saei, eminim cok guzel olacak,
          Ozlem 🙂

  8. LorrieB October 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Those all looked so wonderful, delisious and comforting! Thank you. I promise to try them!

    • Ozlem October 10, 2012 at 8:51 am #

      Very kind of you Lorrie, thank you 🙂 Hope you enjoy them:)

  9. Phil in the Kitchen October 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    This looks beautifully comforting food. I love the idea of the pickles and dip alongside it. I always seem to eat hummus cold but you’ve reminded me how good it can be when served warm. I used to eat it that way in a local restaurant many years ago and I don’t know why I’d forgotten that.

    • Ozlem October 14, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Lovely to hear from you Phil, I am glad you enjoyed the post. It is a huge tradition at home to have some pickles by the bean stews, the flavors work together so well. Do try the hummus warm; the taste transforms, and you taste the cumin and olive oil more, love it:)

  10. gayatri July 21, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    merhaba ozlem! i’ve just spent 10 days in your wonderful country and city istanbul. My favourite foods were had in lokantasis and i loved the simple chicken stew (whole leg) with carrots and large potato. You guys do marvellous things with aubergines also. Simply loved it and i look forward to recreating some of those dishes through your website. Teshecular! love from India.

    • Ozlem Warren July 21, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Merhaba Gayatri, lovely to get your note – so glad you had such a lovely time in Turkey – not suprised : ) – Food is always a highlight, and so very glad you’ll be recreating some of these recipes – do hope you enjoy the recipes, afiyet olsun! Ozlem

  11. Ilayda September 25, 2018 at 7:26 am #

    Özlem abla, bana cocuklugum geri verdigin icin sagol.
    Born and raised in Denmark I never really learned how to cook turkish recipes, and my mother never had the habit of inviting me into the kitchen.
    Thank you, you’ve helped me bring a big piece of home back to me

    • Ozlem Warren September 26, 2018 at 9:34 am #

      Merhaba sevgili Ilayda, cok tesekkur ederim degerli notun icin, benim icin cok degerli. I am over the moon if the recipes bring you a good dose of home; more than instructions, I really hoped to help bridge that special connection to our home. My best wishes to you, Afiyet Olsun and many thanks for your lovely words, Sevgilerimle, Ozlem xx

  12. Ozlem Warren February 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Many thanks for sharing my recipe!


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