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Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
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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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Chickpea Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes

Merhaba Dear All,

We have been enjoying this lovely Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes a lot. This is a delicious variation of the much loved Turkish bean salad, Fasulye Piyazi with some more veg added to it. Chickpea Salad, or Nohut Piyazi as we call it, is a popular street food in southern Turkey, especially in the regions of Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Adiyaman, where the dried chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are traditionally cooked in lamb stock.

We love chickpeas and they are fantastic paired with cumin (as in hummus), and with tangy sumac infused onions in this refreshing salad. I used precooked good quality chickpeas here, they make a delicious, nutritional salad in no time. If you like greens, by all means add more spinach or pepper here. It is a lovely, easy to make substantial salad for lunch, can be served as part of meze or a side to grilled vegetables, fish or meat. You can use cannellini or your other favourite cooked beans in this salad instead of chickpeas too.

Note: If you prefer to use the dried chickpeas, you need to soak them in cold water overnight. Then drain the chickpeas and put them in a pan with plenty of fresh water. Cook for about 60 minutes or until tender, adding salt toward the end of the cooking time. Drain and set aside in a bowl, to be used in this salad.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chickpea Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes
 
This is a delicious variation of the much loved Turkish beans salad, Fasulye Piyazi with some more veg added to it. We love chickpeas and they are fantastic paired with cumin (as in hummus), and with sumac infused onions in this refreshing, nutritious salad. If you like greens, by all means add more spinach or pepper here. It is a lovely, easy to make substantial salad for lunch, can be served as part of meze or a side to grilled vegetables, fish or meat. You can use cannellini or your other favourite cooked beans in this salad instead of chickpeas too.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegan, Healthy Salads
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 x 14oz can of precooked chickpea / garbanzo beans
  • 1tsp/5ml ground sumac (use more if you are a fan!)
  • 1tsp/5ml ground cumin
  • ½ medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 40g/1 ½ oz spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • For the dressing:
  • 30ml/2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ juice of lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of extra sumac to serve
  • Flatbread or pita bread to serve
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, rub a pinch of salt and ground sumac into the onion slices with your hands really well. This will soften the onions and make them more palatable, will also help infuse tangy sumac to the onion slices.
  2. Place the precooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans on a colander, drain its liquid and rinse over running water. Combine the chickpeas with the onions in the mixing bowl. Stir in the ground cumin and season with salt to your taste, mix well.
  3. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, peppers, spring onion and spinach into the bowl and combine well with the chickpeas and onion mixture.
  4. For the dressing; combine the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice in a small container. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste.
  5. Pour in the seasoning over the salad and combine well. Transfer the salad into a serving plate. Serve with an extra pinch of ground sumac sprinkled over, if you like, with plenty flat breads or pita bread by the side, to mop up the delicious juices.
  6. Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem

Kurban Bayrami – Eid In Istanbul

It’s been really special to be able to make it to Istanbul to see my dear mother, Gulcin, my sister and family, during the past Kurban Bayrami, Eid. I haven’t been able to see them for a long while; it was a precious time spend together. As with every Turkish gathering with family, it included feasts to share – Turkish breakfast, dinners, Turkish coffee and more. Here are a few photos for you – including a special photo above with my dear mum Gulcin and my lovely niece Defne.

Our Bayram Turkish breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. Traybake Borek, Filo Pastry with Spinach and cheese is everyone’s favourite, here’s my recipe and my youtube video links.

And scrumptious Bayram meals shared with family; I love how these special events bring us together. My cousin’s home made Baklava with walnuts were delicious, here’s my recipe and youtube vide on how to make baklava, it is easier than you think and so delicious.

Last but not least, my dear cousin Nihal hosted us for another family feast – her Tray bake Kebab, Antakya’s Tepsi Kebabi was so delicious. This is such an easy kebab to make at home, here’s my recipe if you like to give a go.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Booksigning in Bebek – Istanbul

I also managed to do a little book signing while in Istanbul, at the lovely Bebek district – thank you Emily for your kind interest for Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book!

A little reminder that  signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book are delivered worldwide, including US and Canada at this link – You can also see also kindle, ebook etc options here (Delighted to share that kindle version of Ozlem’s Turkish table is No.3 in Canada for Turkish cooking, thank you!). You can see all options here via GBPublishing.

My best wishes and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Chickpea Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes

Merhaba Dear All,

It’s has been very hot recently and we have been enjoying this lovely Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes a lot. This is a delicious variation of the much loved Turkish bean salad, Fasulye Piyazi with some more veg added to it. We love chickpeas and they are fantastic paired with cumin (as in hummus), and with sumac infused onions in this refreshing, nutritious salad. If you like greens, by all means add more spinach or pepper here. It is a lovely, easy to make substantial salad for lunch, can be served as part of meze or a side to grilled vegetables, fish or meat. You can use cannellini or your other favourite cooked beans in this salad instead of chickpeas too.

Note: If you prefer to use the dried chickpeas, you need to soak them in cold water overnight. Then drain the chickpeas and put them in a pan with plenty of fresh water. Cook for about 60 minutes or until tender, adding salt toward the end of the cooking time. Drain and set aside in a bowl, to be used in this salad.

Chickpea Salad with sumac onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes
 
This is a delicious variation of the much loved Turkish beans salad, Fasulye Piyazi with some more veg added to it. We love chickpeas and they are fantastic paired with cumin (as in hummus), and with sumac infused onions in this refreshing, nutritious salad. If you like greens, by all means add more spinach or pepper here. It is a lovely, easy to make substantial salad for lunch, can be served as part of meze or a side to grilled vegetables, fish or meat. You can use cannellini or your other favourite cooked beans in this salad instead of chickpeas too.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegan, Healthy Salads
Cuisine: Turkish cuisine
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 x 14oz can of precooked chickpea / garbanzo beans
  • 1tsp/5ml ground sumac (use more if you are a fan!)
  • 1tsp/5ml ground cumin
  • ½ medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 40g/1 ½ oz spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • For the dressing:
  • 30ml/2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ juice of lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of extra sumac to serve
  • Flatbread or pita bread to serve
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, rub a pinch of salt and ground sumac into the onion slices with your hands really well. This will soften the onions and make them more palatable, will also help infuse tangy sumac to the onion slices.
  2. Place the precooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans on a colander, drain its liquid and rinse over running water. Combine the chickpeas with the onions in the mixing bowl. Stir in the ground cumin and season with salt to your taste, mix well.
  3. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, peppers, spring onion and spinach into the bowl and combine well with the chickpeas and onion mixture.
  4. For the dressing; combine the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice in a small container. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to your taste.
  5. Pour in the seasoning over the salad and combine well. Transfer the salad into a serving plate. Serve with an extra pinch of ground sumac sprinkled over, if you like, with plenty flat breads or pita bread by the side, to mop up the delicious juices.
  6. Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem

Turkish Vegetarian Feast Supper Club and Pide Workshop at Aromas Café, Weybridge – Surrey

 on Friday, August 28th evening from 7.30pm

Peynirli pide, Turkish flat breads with cheese, spinach and pepper topping is at our Turkish cookery course

We are absolutely delighted to re-start our workshops and supper clubs at the Aromas Café, Weybridge and we can’t wait to welcome you back!

Please join us at our Turkish Vegetarian Feast Supper Club and Pide Workshop at Aromas Café, Weybridge, on Friday, August 28th evening from 7.30 pm.  We will serve you some scrumptious healthy Turkish and Mediterranean vegetarian dishes as below and moreover, you will get to make a vegetarian Pide, Oval Turkish flatbreads with vegetarian toppings at our workshop with Ozlem’s instructions and you will take your pide back home. We believe healthy food can also be very delicious and we will show you how. We hope the workshop inspires you and bring delicious Mediterrenean and Turkish flavours to your table.

We will serve the below vegetarian and Ozlem will give you tips on how to make them:

Hummus with red pepper flakes infused olive oil

Spicy bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses – Kisir

Smoked aubergine salad with garlicky youghurt and dried mint

Our slice of Pide to enjoy as part of your dinner

Baked dried apricots with walnuts, served with vanilla ice cream

Pide  with vegetarian fillings workshop during the night!:

And during the night, at our workshop, you will also get to make Pide with a variety of fillings to choose as below (please tell us which filling you would like to use upon booking, so that we can get it ready for you) – you will get to take your Pide back home:

Filling options – please tell us which filling you’d like to use:

1) sauteed courgette, peppers, olives

3) spinach, peppers and feta cheese

4) grated mozarellla and tomato

Cost per person: 55 GBP (includes the hands on workshop, Ozlem’s tuition, all ingredients, the vegetarian courses to enjoy during the night, a glass of bubbly, tea or coffee)

Participation is limited so please book your spot soon at this link soon! This workshop can also make a lovely present for a foodie too. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is also available during the event.

We look forward to welcoming you at Aromas on August 28th at our delicious event.

Kurban Bayrami – Eid In Istanbul

It’s been really special to be able to make it to Istanbul to see my dear mother, Gulcin, my sister and family, during the past Kurban Bayrami, Eid. I haven’t been able to see them for a long while; it was a precious time spend together. As with every Turkish gathering with family, it included feasts to share – Turkish breakfast, dinners, Turkish coffee and more. Here are a few photos for you – including a special photo above with my dear mum Gulcin and my lovely niece Defne.

Our Bayram Turkish breakfast, my favourite meal of the day. Traybake Borek, Filo Pastry with Spinach and cheese is everyone’s favourite, here’s my recipe and my youtube video links.

And scrumptious Bayram meals shared with family; I love how these special events bring us together. My cousin’s home made Baklava with walnuts were delicious, here’s my recipe and youtube vide on how to make baklava, it is easier than you think and so delicious.

Last but not least, my dear cousin Nihal hosted us for another family feast – her Tray bake Kebab, Antakya’s Tepsi Kebabi was so delicious. This is such an easy kebab to make at home, here’s my recipe if you like to give a go.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Booksigning in Bebek – Istanbul

I also managed to do a little book signing while in Istanbul, at the lovely Bebek district – thank you Emily for your kind interest for Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book!

A little reminder that  signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book are delivered worldwide, including US and Canada at this link – You can also see also kindle, ebook etc options here (Delighted to share that kindle version of Ozlem’s Turkish table is No.3 in Canada for Turkish cooking, thank you!). You can see all options here via GBPublishing.

My best wishes and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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