Cookery Classes

I teach Turkish cooking classes in England,Turkey & USA, hope you can join us!,
Find Out More

Recipes    

Turkish cuisine provides healthy, hearty, delicious food for family and friends.
Find out more

Tag Archives | courgette

Baked Zucchini (courgette) halves with vegetables and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) -Nohutlu Kabak Dolmasi

I previously made the delicious stuffed zucchini halves with ground meat, vegetables and chickpeas or garbanzo beans, inspired by my home town, Antioch’s (Antakya) cuisine. I was asked for a vegetarian version of this dish during my Turkish cookery class past Saturday and there came this delicious dish. The meaty mushrooms, onions, peppers made a scrumptious filling and worked so well with chickpeas. With a touch of heat by the Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi & Turkish red pepper flakes and the refreshing dried mint, we had an at least equally delicious vegetarian stuffed zucchini that we all very much enjoyed.

Stuffed zucchini with onions, mushrooms, pepper and chickpeas, in tomato sauce

Stuffed zucchini with onions, mushrooms, pepper and chickpeas, in tomato sauce

I also used a little pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi, to add a delicious sweet & sour taste to the zucchini halves. Pomegranate molasses is used a lot especially in Southern Turkish cuisine in salad dressings like in this Gavurdagi Salad of tomatoes, onions and walnuts or in bulgur wheat salad, kisir; a little bit of it adds a great punch.

You can prepare this healthy dish ahead of time and the leftovers freeze beautifully. Please save the flesh of the zucchini or courgettes that you scooped out. They are delicious & wholesome cooked with onions, tomatoes & dried mint in this bulgur pilaf .

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 20 minutes                                                Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

3 chunky zucchini/courgette

200gr/7oz chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) chopped tomatoes

200gr/7oz (1/2 can of) cooked chickpeas, rinsed

15ml/1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi (optional)

30ml/2tablespoons olive oil

240ml/8fl oz./ 1cup water

15ml/1 tbsp. tomato paste

5 ml / 1 tsp. Turkish red pepper paste – optional-

10ml/2 tsp. dried mint

5ml/1 tsp. 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 180 C/350 F/Gas 4

carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff

Carefully scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity that is large enough to stuff

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 the filling (Please save the flesh of the zucchini that you scooped out. They are delicious cooked in bulgur pilaf). Mix 2 tbsp. water with the pomegranate molasses (if using) and wash the inside of the courgettes with this mixture; this adds a delicious sweet & sour taste to the zucchini.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) combined with vegetables make a delicious filling

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) combined with vegetables make a delicious filling

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until light golden. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and hot pepper paste (if using). Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and the cooked chickpeas, mix well. Add the red pepper flakes and the dried mint, combine well. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off; the filling is ready.

Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves.

Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves.

Grease a baking tray with 1 tbsp. olive oil and place the scooped zucchini. Take a spoonful of the filling and stuff the zucchini halves, taking 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 25-30 minutes. After this, uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes for a lightly brown finish.

While the zucchini halves are baking, prepare your garlic yoghurt. In a bowl, mix the plain yoghurt with the chopped garlic. Serve the stuffed zucchini hot, with the garlic yoghurt by the side. You can make this wonderful bulgur pilaf using the flesh of the zucchini we scooped out; they complement each very nicely and you get a complete meal.

Baked zucchini halves with vegetables & chickpeas; great with garlic yoghurt aside

Baked zucchini halves with vegetables & chickpeas; great with garlic yoghurt aside

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Istanbul is Calling!

Turkish tea, Cay, Simit and Istanbul's Bosphorus; a heavenly combination

Turkish tea, Cay, Simit and Istanbul’s Bosphorus; a heavenly combination

Indeed Istanbul is calling and I can hardly wait! I will be in Istanbul next week, the city that makes my heart beats fast, a feast to all senses. Greatly looking forward to seeing family, friends and feeling the beat of this fascinating city.

The very atmospheric Spice Market, Misir Carsisi, Istanbul - feast to all senses

The very atmospheric Spice Market, Misir Carsisi, Istanbul – feast to all senses

I also very much look forward to sharing delicious Turkish cuisine with food lovers at my Turkish cookery class on Wednesday, 19th February at the Istanbul Culinary Institute. I will be in touch soon with delicious memories from home!

With my best wishes, Selamlar,

Ozlem

Continue Reading

Zucchini (Courgette) Fritters with Feta and Dill – Kabak Mucveri

I have been looking at the previous recipes I posted and thought these zucchini fritters are really worth revisiting. The trick with them is to make sure you squeeze out any excess water from the zucchini, after grating. Hope you give them a go sometime and enjoy!

Zucchini are the most widely available squash in Turkey. They are very versatile, used in many dishes and their flowers are perfect for stuffing. This wonderful vegetarian fritters are fantastic accompanied by garlic infused yoghurt or a leafy salad and crusty bread. You can enjoy them as a meze/appetizer for supper or light lunch dish. The bite size versions would be a great party / finger food too. They are also wonderful served next day as a cold snack.

If you are after a lighter flavor, you can bake the spread in a greased baking dish (at 180 C / 350 F) for about 35-40 minutes, like my mother does. You can then cut in squares and serve.


Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

3 medium zucchini (courgette), grated
150 gr / 6 oz Turkish white cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 green (spring) onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
45 ml / 3 tablespoons all purpose (plain) white flour
Pinch of paprika or red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Canola oil (or sunflower oil) for shallow frying
Sprigs of dill for garnish

Garlic yoghurt to serve (optional)

Place the grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, crumble or grate the feta cheese.

Using a tea towel, squeeze out any excess water from the zucchini and put in a bowl.

Transfer the flour to a large bowl and beat in the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper and beat into a batter (Take care not to add salt if your cheese is salty). Mix well.

In a frying pan, heat enough oil to shallow fry. Using a tablespoon, drop the spoonfuls of batter mix into the hot oil. Fry over a medium heat on both sides until golden brown. Remove with a straining spoon and drain on absorbent kitchen paper towel.

This meze (appetizer) can be enjoyed warm or you can make it in advance, and serve as a cold meze. Garnish with sprigs of dill and accompany with garlic infused yoghurt.

For garlic infused yoghurt, crush a couple of garlic cloves with salt. Combine the plain yoghurt and garlic and beat until smooth. Add salt to taste.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Note: Squash is an effective diuretic and its potassium content benefits those with high blood pressure. Dill is known to aid digestion.

Continue Reading

Zucchini Casserole with Ground Meat and Vegetables -Etli Kabak

Delicious zucchini casserole with ground meat and vegetables, perfect for a mid week meal.

Delicious zucchini casserole with ground meat and vegetables, perfect for a mid week meal.

This is a lovely, comforting casserole that my mother used to cook for us almost weekly. It is very easy to make, delicious and healthy. I like to serve it with plain rice with a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.  I usually make it ahead of time during the day and give a gentle reheat before we eat – knowing the dinner is ready in between the school run is a good feeling! This dish also freezes well.

Serves 4 -6

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

450 gr/ 1 lb Courgette/Zucchini, cut length ways and sliced
250 gr / 9 oz ground lamb or beef
225 gr / 8 oz potatoes cut into bite size chunks
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
15 ml/ 1 tablespoon tomato puree
400 gr/ about 1 lb chopped tomatoes in tomato juice (1 can/tin)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 fl oz / 1 cup water
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoons paprika/ red pepper flakes

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan. Stir in the onions and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the ground meat and mix well. Add the potatoes and courgettes (zucchini), season with salt and pepper and cook for another minute. Add the tomato puree, the chopped tomatoes in can and the water, mixing well. Cover and cook in medium heat for about 30 minutes. Finally add the parsley and the red pepper flakes, giving a gentle stir and add more salt if needed.

Serve warm with plain rice and a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Continue Reading