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Author Archive | Ozlem Warren

Turkish style roast chicken with rice and currants stuffing – Ic Pilavli Firin Tavuk

My dear belated dad Orhan, absolutely loved his roast chicken, Firin Tavuk, with our traditional rice with currants (kus uzumu) stuffing, Ic Pilav. I have recreated this special recipe recently, and we greatly enjoyed it with friends. I used Jamie Oliver’s roast chicken recipe as a base and adapted to my Turkish style roast with our additions.

Towards to end of the roasting, we traditionally glaze the chicken with a mixture of tomato paste, yoghurt and olive oil; this gives a lovely colour and taste to the chicken.  The rice that we use to stuff the chicken is partially cooked – you can prep this ahead of time.

I hope you enjoy my mother’s roast chicken recipe, firin tavuk, which would appear at special family meals as well as at New Year’s Eve on our table. If you wish, you can stuff your turkey with this fragrant rice this way too. Muhammara, my mother’s walnut and red pepper paste dip, as well as zingy Shepherd’s Salad always accompanied our roast, if you like to include at your festive table – both recipes are included at my cookery table, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, as well as the Ic Pilav, Herby rice with pine nuts, currants, with addition of lamb liver (just omit lamb liver for a vegetarian option). My baked beetroot salad with pomegranate molasses also makes a lovely accompaniment to this festive dish. If you live in the USA, Canada or Mexico, there is now lower shipping rates for hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table at this link.

My very best wishes to you all for the festive season, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Turkish style roast chicken with rice and currants stuffing – Ic Pilavli Firin Tavuk
 
My dear belated dad Orhan, absolutely loved his roast chicken, Firin Tavuk, with our traditional rice with currants (kus uzumu) stuffing, Ic Pilav. I have recreated this special recipe recently, and we greatly enjoyed it with friends. I used Jamie Oliver’s roast chicken recipe as a base and adapted to my Turkish style roast with our additions. Towards to end of the roasting, we traditionally glaze the chicken with a mixture of tomato paste, yoghurt and olive oil; this gives a lovely colour and taste to the chicken. The rice that we use to stuff the chicken is partially cooked – you can prep this ahead of time.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish style roast chicken
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • For the roast chicken:
  • 1.9kg/4lb 5oz free range chicken
  • 650g/1lb 6oz carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 60ml/4tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
  • For the 2nd stage chicken marinade:
  • 10ml/2tsp double concentrated tomato paste
  • 15ml/1tbsp whole milk yoghurt
  • 15ml/1tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the Rice pilaf with chestnuts, pine nuts and currants:
  • 170g/6oz cooked chestnuts, chopped into small bite size pieces
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15ml/1 tablespoon butter
  • 30ml/2 tablespoons currants
  • 45ml/3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 10ml/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (add a little more if you like cinnamon)
  • 350g/12oz long grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 750ml/1¼ pints hot water (500ml hot water for partial cooking first)
  • 1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Wedges of lemon to serve
  • For the roast potatoes:
  • 1.5kg/3lb 5oz Maris Piper potatoes
  • 45ml/3tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First prepare your fragrant rice. We will be partially cooking the rice to stuff into the chicken. Soak the currants in warm water for about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the butter and the olive oil in a heavy, medium size pan over a medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the currants, cinnamon and the rinsed rice, combine well for a minute. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Pour in the 500ml hot water and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for 7- 8 minutes or until all the liquid have been absorbed. Our partially cooked rice with currants is ready. You can make your partially cooked rice a day ahead of time and keep covered in the fridge.
  3. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking and bring to the room temperature. Preheat the fan oven to 200C/400F.
  4. Wash and coarsely chop the vegetables, there is no need to peel the carrots. Break the garlic bulb into cloves and leave them unpeeled. Spread the prepared vegetables on a large bowl, drizzle 30ml/2tbsp olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper and sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Rub and combine all with the vegetables. Leave this bowl aside – to be combined with the chicken later.
  5. Place the chicken on a large roasting tray. Drizzle the chicken with 30ml/2tbsp olive oil and season well with sea salt and ground black pepper and rub all round the bird.
  6. Place half of the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity. Then carefully spoon 270g/9oz of partially cooked rice inside the chicken’s cavity. Take care not to over stuff, so the rice won’t get mushy. Insert the other half of the lemon to close chicken’s cavity. Roast for 1 hour at preheated fan oven at 200C/400F.
  7. Now is the time to prepare your roast potatoes, if you plan to have them. Make sure to get them into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking. Peel the potatoes and quarter the large ones and cut the medium ones in half, so they are all roughly even size. Place them on a large pot, sprinkle over salt. Cover with hot water and par boil for 7 -8 minutes. Then drain in a colander and leave to steal dry for 2 -3 minutes.
  8. After 1 hour of roasting, take the chicken out of the oven and spread your prepared vegetables around the chicken to roast together another 30 minutes.
  9. Place the potatoes into a large tray, drizzle with 45ml/3tbsp olive oil and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Coat and combine well and roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, timing with the roast chicken.
  10. Now prepare your Turkish style marinade to coat the chicken, for the 2nd stage of marinade; in a small bowl, combine 2 tsp tomato paste, 1tbsp olive oil and 1tbsp whole milk yoghurt, season with sea salt and black pepper, combine well. After the 1 hour 30 minutes of chicken being roasted, take the chicken tray out and brush this marinade all over the chicken. Return the chicken tray back to the oven for a further 15 minutes of roasting; by the end of this period, the vegetables around the chicken should be nicely roasted and the marinate will give a lovely colour to the chicken, as well as taste. When the chicken is cooked (to check, cut into the chicken; if the juices run clear, then the chicken is fully cooked) take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 10 minutes or so. Cover the chicken and roasted vegetables with foil to keep warm.
  11. While the chicken is in the oven for the final stage, finish your partially cooked festive rice. On a medium to large pot, drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and stir in the pine nuts; stir and sauté for 2 minutes over medium heat - as they begin to turn golden, stir in the chopped chestnuts and partially cooked rice and combine well. Pour in the remaining 250ml / 9fl oz hot water over, season with salt and black pepper, combine well. Then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently 5-6 minutes or until all the liquid have been absorbed. Turn off the heat; cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and place the lid back on tightly. Leave to steam for 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and dill and combine gently.
  12. Place your festive Ic Pilav on a large serving plate, and your roast potatoes on another serving place. Serve your Turkish style roast, Firin Tavuk, with vegetables around. Muhammara, my mother’s walnut and red pepper paste dip, as well as zingy Shepherd Salad always accompanied our roast, if you like to include at your festive table too.
 

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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, aubergines 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 – 10 % 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 10 % 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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