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Regional Signature Dishes; Mains, Sides and Desserts

Bulgur Wheat Pilaf with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Onions – Kabakli As


Kabakli as; bulgur pilaf with zucchini and dried mint, wholesome and delicious

Kabakli as; bulgur pilaf with zucchini and dried mint, wholesome and delicious

I am passionate about healthy, wholesome Turkish cuisine; over 90 authentic recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table – Signed hardback copies are available at this link and delivered worldwide promptly.

This very easy and tasty bulgur rice makes use of the flesh of the zucchini (courgettes) that was scooped out to make the stuffed zucchini. That way, not only you get to use every bit of zucchini, but also you get a very delicious and wholesome dish in no time. This is a meal by itself, served with some garlic yoghurt, dried mint and cucumbers, Cacik, if you like.

Good, wholesome food doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult, as this wonderful dish shows.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes (+10 min resting)

Flesh of 3 zucchini (courgettes)
1 onion, finely chopped
350gr/12oz bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
400gr/14oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes
600ml/1 pint/2 1/2 cup hot water
30ml/2 tablespoon olive oil
5ml/1 teaspoon dried mint
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and stir in the zucchini and the onions. Cook until the onions softened. Add the bulgur wheat, tossing it thoroughly. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and pour in the hot water. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine thoroughly. Bring to boil for a minute, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until all the liquid has been completely absorbed.

Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean dish towel and press the lid on top. Leave to steam for about 10 minutes. Stir in the dried mint and red pepper flakes then mix with a large spoon.

You can simply enjoy this dish with cucumber, garlic and yoghurt (Cacik) and with the stuffed zucchini with ground meat and chickpeas if you like.

Afiyet Olsun!

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Zucchini Stuffed with ground meat and chickpeas -Nohutlu Sih-el Mahsi



Zucchini (courgettes) stuffed with ground meat, onions and chickpeas; Kabakli Sih el mahsi

Zucchini (courgettes) stuffed with ground meat, onions and chickpeas; Kabakli, nohutlu Sih el mahsi

This is a wonderful dish from Antakya (Antioch), where my roots are from, and an exciting way to cook zucchini. It is also known as Sih-el Mahsi, originates from Syria and higlights the Arabic influence on Antakya cuisine. Traditionally, the locals in Antakya would stuff the zucchini as a whole and they would lightly brown them before cooking with the sauce. I prefer cutting the zucchini in half and lengthways and baking them; healthy, delicious and pretty to have on the plate. You can prepare this dish ahead of time and the leftovers freeze beautifully. Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf with zucchini.

I am passionate about healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine with a rich culinary heritage. My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, focuses on southern Turkish cuisine with authentic, regional recipes like this one, from my hometown Antakya. I hope to pass the legacy of this rich culinary heritage to the next generation with my book; Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is available at this link, for a limited period and delivered worldwide.

How wonderful to share the food with friends and family. Living abroad and changing locations often, cooking and sharing food have been my salvation and a wonderful way of meeting new folks, making new friends. I hope you enjoy the recipes with friends and family and give yourself and everyone the gift of good food.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

3 chunky zucchini/courgette
250gr/9oz ground (minced) lean beef or lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) chopped tomatoes
200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) cooked chickpeas, rinsed

30ml/2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi
30ml/2tablespoons olive oil
120ml/4fl oz/ 1/2 cup water
15ml/1tablespoon tomato paste
5ml/1teaspoon dried mint
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

To serve:
120ml/8fl oz plain yoghurt
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed with salt and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180F/350C/Gas 4

Cut the zucchini in half and then in lengthways. Using a dessert spoon, carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff (Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf).

Mix 1 tbsp. water with the pomegranate molasses and wash the inside of the courgettes with this mixture. Add the leftover of this delicious juice to filling mixture.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until light golden. Add the ground (minced) meat and sauté for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, left over pomegranate molasses sauce and the cooked chickpeas, mix well. Add the red pepper flakes and the dried mint, combine well. The filling is ready.

Place the zucchini in a greased baking tray. Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini quarters. Take care not to over fill them. Dilute the tomato paste with the water and pour on the tray. Cover and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. After this, uncover and bake for a further 10-15 minutes for a lightly browned finish.

In a bowl, mix the plain yoghurt and the garlic. Serve the stuffed zucchini hot, with the garlic yoghurt by the side. You can make a wonderful bulgur pilaf with zucchini using the flesh of the zucchini we scooped out; it complements this zucchini dish very nicely.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Walnut and Red Pepper Paste Dip, Muhammara or Cevizli Biber



This is one of my favorite mezes of all time; it is very easy to make and very, very more-ish, you just can’t stop eating them. It is one of my mother’s recipes from her historic hometown Antakya (Antioch) and whenever I make it, I feel like I am home.

Image from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, by Sian Irvine Photography

Meze feast from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book; image by Sian Irvine Photography

Tahini bread or pita bread would go really well with this delicious dip/spread. You can keep the dip covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Middle Eastern stores or specialty stores usually carry the red pepper paste. If you can’t find it, there is a recipe for red pepper paste, biber salcasi.

 

This delicious dip and over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Signed copies now 10 % Off at this link and delivered worldwide, including the US and Canada.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Serves 4-6

3-4 slices of white or wholemeal or gluten-free stale bread (about 70 gr)
1/3 yellow onion (or little less), chopped
45ml/3 tablespoons Turkish red pepper paste

1/2 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
225gr/8oz walnuts, shelled
10ml / 2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of Salt
60ml/4tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
15ml/1 tablespoon water

To serve:
15ml/1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pita bread, tahini bread or crackers

Ground the walnuts with the onion, cumin, salt and red pepper paste and tomato paste in the food processor. Soak the bread into water and squeeze the excess water. Crumble the bread and add to the mixture in the food processor. Add the olive oil and water and blend to make a smooth spread. If it appears to be too thick, add a little more olive oil.

Place the spread on a small salad plate or bowl. Pour the extra virgin olive oil all over and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serve the spread with pita bread, tahini bread or wide crackers.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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