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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Book

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, aubergine, tomatoes – Firikli Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

I love freekeh’s nutty, smoky flavor – it used to feature at lot at my grandmother’s table in Antakya; she would combine freekeh with seasonal vegetables, meat or sometimes just with bulgur and fresh butter, which always tasted heavenly.

This dish is popular in southern Turkish cuisine, using the season’s bountiful tomatoes and aubergines / eggplant or patlican. The meaty aubergines and juicy tomatoes are a great match here with the wholegrains – a fantastic, all in one pot plant based dish. Locals in southern Turkey use the glorious, ripe tomatoes in this dish; I opted to use a good quality chopped can tomatoes as living abroad, it is not always easy to get ripe, sun kissed tomatoes. I did however use some sliced fresh tomatoes – as ripe as I could find- to decorate the top of this lovely dish, and it added extra freshness and flavour.

Some backround information on freekeh. Firik, (as in Turkish) or Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh)  or farik is a cereal  food made from green drum wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production.  Firik is a popular and ancient grain used Middle Eastern & Southern Turkish cuisine and also popular in Levantine, Egyptian, Arabian Peninsula and North African cuisine. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn and not the seeds. It is the high moisture content of the seeds that prevents them from burning. The now roasted wheat undergoes further thrashing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. It is this thrashing or rubbing process of the grains that gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed.” The seeds are now cracked into smaller pieces so they look like a green bulgur.

This delicious, ancient grain freekeh is a similar food made from barley and it is also mentioned in the Bible. Freekeh is also considered as a superfood, as in the category of the healthy grains such as quinoa and farro. Freekeh has at least four times as much fiber  as some other comparable grains, consisting mostly of insoluble fiber. It also has a low glycemic index so is suitable for managing diabetes. You can get freekeh in Middle Eastern or specialty food stores abroad, though it is widely available in Turkey. Bulgur is now widely available in supermarkets, so great to see. If you like to use a gluten-free option, you can replace bulgur with quinoa.

This is a bountiful dish and can easily feed 6 people or more. It also tastes great the next day and freezes well, so perfect for family meals or entertaining too. I also made another version of this Bulgur pilaf with aubergines, at my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table (page 213), adding small chunks of meat there, if you fancy that version too. If you prefer not to use freekeh, you can omit and replace it with more bulgur here if you like. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is available at this link here and delivered worldwide, including the USA and Canada. You can also see ebook and other options here.

I hope you enjoy this delicious plant based recipe, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, aubergine, tomatoes – Firikli Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi
 
This dish is popular in southern Turkish cuisine, using the season’s bountiful tomatoes and aubergines / eggplant or patlican. The meaty aubergines and juicy tomatoes are a great match here with the wholegrains - a fantastic, all in one pot plant based dish. Locals in southern Turkey use the glorious, ripe tomatoes in this dish; I opted to use a good quality chopped can tomatoes as living abroad, it is not always easy to get ripe, sun kissed tomatoes. I did however use some sliced fresh tomatoes – as ripe as I could find- to decorate the top of this lovely dish, and it added extra freshness and flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian, Vegan
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 350g/12oz coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained
  • 110g/4oz freekeh, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium aubergines, quartered and sliced in 1cm chunks
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste, biber salcasi
  • 15ml/1tbsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 400g/14oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 60ml/ 2fl oz olive oil – for baking the aubergines –
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil – for cooking-
  • 900ml / 1.6 pints hot water
  • 5ml/1tsp Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped – to decorate
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
  2. First prepare the eggplants (aubergines). Cut the aubergine in quarters and then slice into 1cm with pieces. Layer the aubergine pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, dry the aubergines with kitchen or paper towel thoroughly.
  3. Spread the aubergine slices in a baking tray and pour in the 60ml/2floz olive oil over them. Using your hands, make sure that all aubergine slices have a nice coating of the olive oil. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes in the preheated oven at 200C / 400F. Aubergines will start to get crispy around the edges, a nice color and soften up (you can alternatively sauté your aubergines on a pan with olive oil, though I find the baking easier and healthier).
  4. Heat the 2tbsp/30ml olive oil in a heavy, wide pan and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes, until soft and they begin to color. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, red pepper paste, can of chopped tomatoes, Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber and combine well.
  5. Toss the sautéed aubergines to the pan and gently combine.
  6. Now stir in the rinsed bulgur and freekeh to the pan and mix well. Pour in the hot water and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, combine well. Reduce the heat to low for simmering.
  7. Place the tomato slices over the top, cover and cook for 30 minutes, until the liquid is evaporated and the grains are cooked (add a little more hot water if needed). Check the seasoning and add more salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. Turn the heat off. I like to rest the dish and settle the flavours for 10 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve with refreshing Shepherd’s Salad, Coban Salatasi and/or Cacik dip with cucumber and yoghurt aside.

Hands On Turkish Cookery Classes and events with Ozlem Warren in Fethiye and Kalkan, Turkey!

October 20th and 21st, 2020

I am so delighted to be returning to Fethiye – Turkey, for a series of Hands on Turkish cookery classes and events and do hope you can make one of these, if you are nearby Fethiye.

Hands on Turkish cookery class on Tuesday, October 20th, 9.30am – 1pm at Yakamoz Hotel – Fethiye

Baklava; image from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, by Sian Irvine Photography

Please join us for a scrumptious hands on Turkish cookery class (including how to make home made baklava!) on Tuesday, October 20th, 9.30am – 1pm at Yakamoz Hotel – Fethiye,  where we will cook a delicious menu from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book together and then sit down and enjoy our creations at the Yakamoz Hotel’s beautiful grounds. Participation is limited, please visit my Cookery Classes page for all the details and registration.

If you like to join us at this fun and friendly hands on cookery class, please call Mehmet Yakamoz at +90 533 336 76 10 or email at yakamozone@hotmail.com to reserve your spot, participation is limited.

Turkish Style Lunch and Ozlem’s cookery demo and talk at Yakamoz Hotel, Fethiye 

Tuesday, October 20th; 1.30pm – 4pm

Potato and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Please join us for a scrumptions Turkish style lunch at Yakamoz Hotel, on Tuesday, October 20th; 1.30pm – 4pm. Ozlem Warren, author of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book will be with us too, to give a talk on Turkish cuisine and demonstrate how to make Potato and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses and will sign her cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, if anyone would like to get a copy.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table book signing at Fethiye!

If you like to join us at this exciting event,  please call Mehmet Yakamoz at +90 533 336 76 10 or email at yakamozone@hotmail.com to reserve your spot, participation is limited. Please visit my Cookery Classes page for more information.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Hands on Classes at Guru’s Place Cookery School, Kalkan – 

Wednesday, October 21st, 9.45am – 2pm

“Ozlem Warren, International cookery teacher and the author of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, is delighted to be visiting Guru’s Place Cookery School in Kalkan, on Wednesday, October 21st, 9.45am – 2pm, to co-teach hands-on cookery classes, with Huseyin Kayir, owner of the Guru’s Place Cookery School, Kalkan. We will cook together delicious Turkish recipes from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book and then we will all sit down and enjoy our cooking, with a glass of wine. If you’d like to join the class, please kindly book your place and get in touch with Guru’s Place Cookery School at gurusplace@hotmail.com or call +905363311016. Participation is limited. Please visit my Cookery Classes page for full details of the class.

Baked zucchini with feta, spring onions and dill, Firinda Mucver

Do hope to be able to enjoy Turkish cuisine together with you in Fethiye in October, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Lockdown Cooking Ideas from Ozlem’s Turkish Table (Signed copies now 30 % Off)

Merhaba dear all,

Semolina sponge cake in syrup; Revani

I hope this note finds you all well. We have been doing lots of home cooking and baking with the children and preparing food for the homeless and folks in self isolation, during the lockdown. There is a great comfort in home cooking, especially wholesome Turkish cooking – not only takes your mind off things, but a great activity to do with kids at home in between home schooling. If you are on social media, I do live videos at my Ozlem’s Turkish Table instagram and facebook pages too. Here is my Revani, Semolina sponge cake recipe we baked with my daughter, as well my Revani you tube video here.

Flexibility is the key especially at challenging times like this, so by all means experiment with the ingredients you have and substitute when needed; I try to give options at my recipes and at my you tube videos, like at my Baked Meatballs and vegetables casserole video here (courgettes, runner beans, peas all would work here as an option)

Signed hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, now 30 % OFF

I got this lovely note from Claire, she says “My Christmas present from my brother and Turkish sister-in-law was your fabulous cook book. It turns out that my local corner shop is stocked full of Turkish food, so I’ve been having a great time trying out your recipes! There’s generally something in the book for anything in my veg box (other than parsnips!), and it’s all turned out delicious. Now that I’ve got the pastry, I might brave trying kunefe this weekend, if I can get the right cheese. Thank you for keeping me so well-fed in lockdown”Thank you dear Claire and all folks who kindly sent notes on how much they have been enjoying the recipes, especially during the lockdown period. I am very happy to hear recipes enjoyed and bring some joy and comfort.

 

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table now 30 % OFF via my publisher GBPublishing at this link and it is delivered promptly worldwide, including US and Canada. We hope this would help with delicous wholesome Turkish home cooking during lockdown. It can also be a lovely gift to a foodie, with Mother’s Day approaching.

Lockdown Cooking and Happy Ramadan – Ramadan Mubarak – wholesome, easy meal ideas

Spicy bulgur and lentil soup, Ezo Gelin Corbasi

Happy Ramadan, Ramadan Mubarak, Hayirli Ramazanlar to all observing. Turkish food offers plenty healthy, convenient choices at this special time in Muslim calendar. Our iftar meals would traditionally start with a wholesome soup, such as this Spicy bulgur and lentil soup, Ezo Gelin Corbasi – one of our favourites; make a big batch as it freezes very well.

Vegetarian Pide, from Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Many of my readers have been doing a lot of baking especially during the lockdown and this Vegetarian Pide, Turkish oval flat breads with cheese and vegetables, have been very popular – easier than you think! Here’s my recipe link; you can use any veg you have at home that needs using. You can bake the pide ahead of time and give a gentle reheat before you eat. Once it is cooked, it freezes well too, as a whole or in slices, wrapped in foil.

Turkish bean salad with sumac onions, olive and eggs – Fasulye Piyazi

We have been eating a lot of cupboard staples such as tinned chickpeas and beans; they are a great source of protein, healthy and convenient. You can flavour beans beautifully as in this Turkish bean salad with sumac onions, olive and eggs – tangy sumac adds a lot of flavour to the onions. It makes a wonderful lunch or can be a part of Ramadan iftar meals with grills aside too; you can substitute beans with chickpeas in this salad too. Here’s also my You Tube video link for this delicious Turkish bean salad.

Baked aubergine kebab with chicken – Patlicanli Kebap

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

How about this yoghurt and spices marinated Baked aubegine kebab with chicken, Patlicanli Kebap? An impressive dish to serve, easy to make too. Aubergines here are double baked, which intensify its flavour; you can marinate the chicken ahead of time – leftovers freeze very well too.

Green (runner) beans cooked in olive oil – Taze Fasulye

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and we love vegetables. This green beans cooked in olive oil with onions, garlic, tomatoes, Taze Fasulye, is a national favourite. Also gluten-free and vegan, it is best to prepare ahead of time and let the flavours develop, it tastes even better the next day. French beans, dwarf beans would all be good for substutition – a delicious, healthy choice for Ramadan too.

Istanbul; we will meet again..

Glorious Hagia Sophia, Istanbul – hope to see you again soon

I have meant to fly to Istanbul end April, to see my mother, family and also run my Turkish cookery classes and  events in Fethiye and Kalkan. With the current pandemic, it was not meant to be. I am hopeful that we will meet again and see our loved ones soon, fingers crossed. Until then, we will keep on bringing a bit of home with our food and reconnect with family, friends and share our food virtually. We baked this Turkish bread rings with sesame seeds, Simit, our popular street food with the children the other day. It certainly brought a huge dose of home and smiles; here is my recipe link, I do hope you enjoy it too.

Stay well, keep cooking, afiyet olsun,

Ozlem

 

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Ozlem’s Turkish Table on YouTube and Gourmand Best of the World Award!

Merhaba Dear All,

Gourmand Best in the World winners just announced! We are delighted to let you know that Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book got the Gourmand Best in the World award for Food Heritage category – Turkey! There were participants over 100 countries for the award and Ozlem’s Turkish Table got this award for Turkey, along with other wonderful books from Japan, Sweden and Germany in Food Heritage category – many congratulations to all! My sincere thanks goes to GB Publishing  team,  Pinar Foods UK and everyone involved making this special book to celebrate Southern Turkish culinary heritage. And to all of you dear readers for your kindness and continued support, cok tesekkur ederim, many thanks.

This has been such uplifting news and warmed our hearts, at this challenging times. Please remember there are plenty wholesome, easy, delicious recipes at my blog here as well as at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table  to inspire you; please stay well, stay home and look after one another. Signed hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table are NOW 30 % OFF  at this link and delivered worldwide including the US. You can also see ebook and other options at this link too. We hope this helps enjoying delicious, healthy Turkish recipes during lockdown, it can also make a lovely gift to a foodie and for Mother’s Day too.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table on YouTube! 

In the hope to inspire you with healthy, wholesome cooking with easy Turkish recipes, I have started my Ozlem’s Turkish Table You Tube channel   My 13 year old daughter, home schooling, has been helping with the videos at her spare time. There are plenty of tips for ease of cooking with ingredients we can get hold of, substitution and easy to follow steps at my videos, I do hope it helps and inspires at this challenging times and bring you a bit of warmth, joy and comfort. Please Subscribe here for my you tube videos, if you like to join us.

Here is the links of of my you tube videos I have prepared so far:

Welcome and Hoş Geldiniz! My first video here I am talking and spices, pulses and wholesome Turkish meal ideas.

Baked cauliflower with peppers, onion, cheese, Firinda Karnabahar Mucveri you tube video here

Baked cauliflower with red onions, feta and dill, from ozlem’s Turkish Table; image by Sian Irvine Photography

At this you tube video, I am preparing this healthy, easy vegetarian dish that you can prep ahead of time, featuring cauliflower – great for weekday meals too – a lot of tips for substitution and pairing in the video at this link, I hope you enjoy it, Afiyet Olsun.

Aubergines, lentils, peppers cooked in olive oil – Mercimekli Mualla you tube video here

Aubergines, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, Mercimekli Mualla, from my  cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland

This wholesome, delicious dish is from my hometown Antakya Turkey. It is vegan , gluten free and so easy to make; lots of ideas for substitution (e.g. making with courgette instead of aubergines) and ahead of time cooking in my video at this link. I hope you enjoy it, Afiyet olsun, Ozlem

Ozlem’s Turkish Table book signing at Yakamoz Hotel in 2019

I have longed to come back home in April but it was not meant to be. The current Covid-19 crisis dictates us all stay at home; so we are all at home, doing our best, supporting one another in the best way we can. This means, I can no longer do my cookery classes and events in Fethiye and Kalkan – Turkey, as we planned previously for early May. However, we will be rescheduling events and classes in Fethiye and Kalkan for later in the year, most likely in October time. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will get organised and get going and let you know. I can not wait to come back home, and I am sure so many of you feel the same way. Until then, we must stay home and keep home cooking, going. We may not be able to visit our home land, see our loved ones physically at the moment, but we can connect with that special land, our loved ones, our memories with the food we make; Turkish cuisine has that power for us. And with a huge bonus of being healthy too.

So please stay safe, stay home, enjoy cooking. I am always here if you have any questions and would love to help.

Stay well, Afiyet Olsun, 

Ozlem 

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