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Bulgur balls in aubergine and tomato sauce and Ozlem’s Turkish Table news

Merhaba Dear All,

Ozlem’s Turkish Table book signing in Houston, USA

It has been a very special few months teaching Turkish cookery and signing copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book around the world. The photo above is taken during a special book signing event organised by my dear friend Hande in Houston, along with some great Turkish wine tasting.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book has been very popular for the festive season. Signed copies are still available at this link, if you’d like to give to a foodie or Turkish food lover.

The following photos are from my Turkish cookery class tour with the Central Market Cooking Schools in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in November. It has been so very special to return Central Market Cooking Schools with my cookery book and meet over 140 Turkish food lovers at our classes. My sincere thanks to everyone for their amazing interest and my special thanks to Pinar UK for their support for my cookery book and Turkish cuisine abroad.

A special moment of enjoying a glass of cay with dear my mother, Gulcin in Istanbul

My Turkish cuisine presentation for the H3A Society in Bodrum – Turkey

I was in Turkey end October and had a wonderful opportunity to present Turkish cuisine to the H3A Society in Bodrum, book signing, gave a southern Turkish cookery class with the Foodrum Culinary Park and a Supper Club with Cooking Classes Bodrum at the Karnas Vineyards. It’s been a busy but magical few days in Bodrum; many thanks to all joined us and supported the events. My very sincere thanks especially goes to dear Annie Onursan, owner of the wonderful Back to Bodrum Blog, for her help with the events and being a fantastic host – I really can’t wait to return to Bodrum. Turkey trip was also a precious time to visit my dear parents and a good catch up over a few glasses of Turkish cay and wonderful Turkish food.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table at Daily Sabah newspaper, October 2018

I was also honored to have this wonderful interview at the national newspaper in Turkey, Sabah Daily; talking about Turkish cuisine, my culinary journey, you can read the Sabah Daily article at this link.

Brooklands radio interview

We also had a delightful interview with the Brooklands Radio in the UK in November, talking about Turkish cuisine abroad, some festive recipe ideas, the diverse, multicultural Antakya cuisine (and what to do with the fascinating dried aubergines!). Here is the podcast link for our interview, if you’d like to listen.

Bulgur balls with aubergine/eggplant, tomato, dried mint saucePatlicanli Eksi Ai

Bulgur balls with aubergine/eggplant, tomato, dried mint sauce – Patlicanli Eksi Aṣi

I have been asked for this recipe for quite a while and thought it may be a lovely addition for a special, festive meal. It is from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table and it is a speciality from Antakya. Dried mint adds a fresh flavour and the pomegranate molasses complete the finishing touch in this southern Turkish delight. The meaty-like aubergines/eggplants melt in the mouth in this dish and complement the bulgur balls well.  You can omit the minced/ground beef for a vegetarian version. Hope you enjoy my recipe, Afiyet Olsun.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bulgur balls in aubergine & tomato sauce - Patlicanli Eksi Asi
This is a speciality from Antakya and I make it often for special occasions, using good quality can of tomatoes. Dried mint adds a fresh flavour and the tangy pomegranate molasses complete the finishing touch. The meaty-like aubergines/eggplants melt in the mouth in this dish and complement the bulgur balls well. Omit the minced/ground beef for a vegetarian version
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 medium aubergines/eggplants
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cans of 400g/14oz good quality plum tomatoes
  • 10ml/2 teaspoons red pepper paste, biber salcasi
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 750ml/1.3 pints water
  • 10ml/2 teaspoons dried mint
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the bulgur dough:
  • 110g/4oz fine bulgur, koftelik bulgur (if you can only get coarse bulgur, you can pulse it a few times in a food processor to make it fine)
  • 90ml/3fl oz warm water to wet the bulgur
  • 120ml/4fl oz warm water to knead the bulgur
  • 40g/1½oz coarse semolina
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons warm water for semolina
  • 60g/2oz extra lean (double grind) minced/ground beef
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon red pepper paste, biber salcasi
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5ml/1 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • Salt to taste
  1. First make the bulgur balls. Place the fine bulgur in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the red pepper paste, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes and mix them all well. Then pour the 90ml/3fl oz warm water all over it. Using your hands, give the mixture a good mix and let it absorb the water for 10 minutes. In the meantime, place the semolina in a separate bowl and stir in the 30ml/2 tablespoons warm water. Knead and turn the semolina mixture into a soft dough. Semolina is important here as it helps to bind the bulgur dough.
  2. Have the 120ml/4fl oz warm water bowl next to you and start kneading the bulgur mixture for about 5 minutes. Wet your hands continuously while kneading. Stir in the semolina dough and knead together for another 5 minutes. Add the meat and knead for 10 minutes, until you get a smooth dough.
  3. Have a bowl of cold water aside to shape the small round bulgur balls. Wet your hands and take a large cherry size bulgur dough into your palm and shape it like a small ball. Place the bulgur balls side-by-side on a tray and continue until you finish all the bulgur dough.
  4. Quarter the aubergines then slice each piece diagonally in 3cm/about 1in chunks. Lay them on a tray and season with salt. Leave for about 15 minutes. Drain the excess moisture by squeezing them with a paper towel.
  5. Place the plum tomatoes into a food processor and process until you achieve a coarse purée.
  6. In a deep, heavy pan, pour in the olive oil and stir in the aubergines/eggplants. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until they have a nice golden colour. Place the sautéed aubergines/eggplants on a wide plate over a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil. Stir in the garlic and the onions and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Pour in the puréed tomato, tomato paste, red pepper paste and the water to the pan. Stir in the aubergines/eggplants, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Combine well gently. Cover and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  8. Then carefully drop the bulgur balls into the pan and combine well. Cover and cook on a low heat for another 25 minutes.
  9. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, dried mint and red pepper flakes, combine well. Turn the heat off and serve warm with pide bread or crusty bread aside.

Upcoming Events

Ozlem’s Turkish Table – Turkish cuisine talk and book signing: LOOSE MUSE – London’s Premiere Women’s Writers Night  on December 12th  at  The Sun Pub, 21 Drury Lane (on the corner of Betterton Street), London WC2B 5RH – 8.00 p.m. – doors open from 7.30 pm.  £6.00/£5.00 concessions. I will be giving a talk on Turkish cuisine and sign my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table,  and serving Turkish delights to everyone. We would be delighted to have you with us.

Loose Muse features this month:

Ozlem Warren – author, Turkish culinary expert, and owner of the Turkish recipe blog and the cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Ozlem is passionate about her Turkish homeland’s delicious and vibrant cuisine, and has participated in many prestigious events including the London Book Fair, and this year’s International Edinburgh Book Festival to promote Turkish cuisine and culture.  She will be sharing with Loose Muse her debut book, ‘Ozlem’s Turkish Table’, a Turkish cook/recipe book with a difference…perfect for alternative Christmas fare.

Healthy Turkish Feast Supper Club, Friday January 18th,

Aromas Artisan Cafe, Weybridge

Our healthy Turkish feast at Aromas on Friday, January 18th

Please join us for a scrumptious healthy Turkish feast with Ozlem’s Turkish Table on Friday, January 18th evening at the lovely Aroma’s Artisan Café in Weybridge. Ozlem & Aromas Team will be preparing a feast of recipes from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, as below.

-Hearty Bulgur and Lentil Soup – Ezo Gelin Corbasi

-Courgette fritters with feta, dill, onions – Mucver

-Bulgur and potato patties with cumin and pomegranate molasses sauce – Bulgurlu, patatesli kofte

-Shepherd’s salad with sumac – Sumakli Coban Salatasi

-Baked aubergine kebab with yoghurt and spices marinated chicken – Patlicanli kebap (Vegetarian version available too, if given ahead of time notice)

– Semolina sponge cake with pomegranate seeds – Revani

– Turkish coffee

We are also very happy to support Elmbridge Rentstart charity with our supper club as a percentage of all proceeds will be donated to this wonderful local charity, which supports local people who are homeless and help them move on with their lives. This wonderful supper club may also be a lovely gift for a foodie for the holiday season too.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book will also be available on the night.

Participation is limited; if you’d like to join us, please kindly book your spot with at this Eventbrite link:

Look forward to welcoming you with Turkish hospitality!

One of Sian Irvine Photography’s wonderful still life shots for Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book

Wishing you all a wonderful festive season in good health, happiness, delicious Turkish food shared with family and friends. My sincere thanks for all your support and company, enjoying and sharing Turkish cuisine.

With my best wishes and Afiyet Olsun,


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6 Responses to Bulgur balls in aubergine and tomato sauce and Ozlem’s Turkish Table news

  1. February 16, 2019 at 2:50 pm #

    Harika işler çıkarıyorsunuz. Tebrikler

  2. Shushan March 1, 2019 at 6:36 am #


    My name is Shushan and I am Armenian from USA. All your recipes are wonderful. I have cooked a few dishes already and I am looking forwarded to making more from your recipes. Hopefully you come to Los Angeles for a cooking class.

    Thank you!

    • Ozlem Warren March 2, 2019 at 4:38 pm #

      Merhaba dear Shushan,

      Thank you so much for your kind note; we share a wonderful culinary heritage – I am delighted you are enjoying my recipes here, I hope they bring a special connection back to our roots and heritage. I would be absolutely delighted to come and teach in LA, fingers crossed : )

      Also wanted to let you know that Signed copies of my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table is available at this link, and it is delivered worldwide, promptly, if interested in – over 90 authentic recipes, personal stories and stunning photography-

      Many thanks,

  3. Shay March 15, 2021 at 12:28 am #

    Hi! I’m from Kansas, USA. Thank you for posting your Bulgur balls in aubergine and tomato sauce recipe. I have never seen or tasted this dish before, but it looked delicious so I made it today (no meat). I did not have pepper paste so I made my own, and I did not have pomegranate molasses, so I made some from pom juice. But the sauce tasted watered down – I expected it to be a stronger flavor. Are we really supposed to add 900 mL of water? I thought, well, maybe the balls soak up the water (but they didn’t). It seemed more like a soup than a sauce to me. And about the bulgar balls; since I have never eaten this dish, I didn’t know what the final texture should be. They stayed small and tight; did not get fluffy or loose. Even though they boiled for the required time (and even longer as I tried to evaporate some of the water out), the insides still had the noticeable grainy bulgar texture and when cut in half looked a little dry in the middle (though not crunchy – sort of al-dente). I wasn’t sure what to expect. Is that the way they were supposed to be? During the kneading of the dough, I kept my hands moist, but was I supposed to incorporate ALL the 120mL of hand-wetting water into the dough? I did not use up all the cold hand wetting water into the dough. Thank you so much for sharing the gift of your cooking heritage with us!

    • Ozlem Warren March 15, 2021 at 11:59 am #

      Merhaba Shay,

      Many thanks for your kind note and having a go at this very regional, southern Turkish recipe. Yes, it is almost like a soup, quite a saucy, watery meal. Having said that, I have revised the water amount to 750ml/1.3 pints to make it more suitable to western palette. The bulgur balls are quite tight but should soften in the sauce. Perhaps the home made pomegranate molasses might have loosen the sauce too, as it is quite a dense condiment tradtidionally. I will try to do a video for the recipe when I have time, to show the bulgur ball consistency etc – and you don’t incorporate the hand-wetting water to the meal, it is only for wetting hands, to help shape the balls. My sincere thanks for your note and having a go at my recipes, any questions, happy to help. Afiyet olsun, Ozlem


  1. Bulgur balls in aubergine and tomato sauce and Ozlem’s Turkish Table news | Recipe Heaven - May 14, 2019

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