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Tag Archives | mezze

Kayseri Style Layers of Flat Breads with Gound Meat and Vegetable, Yaglama

One of my readers wrote recently; she visited Kayseri, in Central Anatolia and greatly enjoyed this local specialty called Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; Layers of flat bread with a scrumptious ground meat and vegetable topping between each layer. She wanted to recreate this regional specialty at home and asked the recipe from me. And I am so glad she did.

Kayseri Style Layers of Flat Breads with Ground Meat and Vegetables Topping; Kayseri Usulu Yaglama

Kayseri Style Layers of Flat Breads with Ground Meat and Vegetable Topping; Kayseri Usulu Yaglama

Kayseri is truly a foodies’ heaven, nestled in Central Anatolia. Kayseri is the home of the famous manti, Turkish ravioli (tiny stuffed pastry with meat filling), Turkish cured beef, Pastrami, Pastirma, spicy Turkish cured sausage, Sucuk and many more. I have been in touch with the Turkish Culinary Historian Ms. Nevin Halici recently; Nevin Hanim says, “Yaglama is as important as Manti (Turkish ravioli) in Kayseri Cuisine”.  Kayseri also has a rich historic heritage dating back to c. 3000 BCE. I was in Kayseri a few years ago during one of my Culinary tours; the city is a mesmerizing historical settlement and the local cuisine is heavenly, so worth the trip. Kayseri also makes a great stop en route to the fascinating Cappadocia .

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Turkish flat breads form a very important part of the culinary history.

Kayseri Usulu Yaglama makes use of the flat breads that had been a part of Turkish cuisine since the 6th century. Turkish Nomads had been making flat breads while they were in Central Asia; they made their way to today’s Turkey through the centuries and haven’t stopped making these flatbreads since then! When I was a child, our neighbor (originally from Kayseri) used to make this dish and would kindly share with us (sharing food between neighbors is still a very much alive tradition at home, which I love). My mother then learned how to make it from her neighbor and we greatly enjoyed this dish during my childhood.

Layers of deliciousness; Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; layers of flat bread with ground meat sauce

Layers of deliciousness; Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; layers of flat bread with ground meat sauce

This lovely dish consists of layering the flat breads, Sebit, as they are called in Kayseri, with the filling of cooked ground meat, onions and tomatoes between each layer.  Once stacked on top of another, it is cut in four pieces and served with garlic yoghurt. It makes a wonderful party food to share with friends and family. My children absolutely loved it and they helped making the flat breads; a great way to get the children interested in food preparation and also passing on traditions and recipes.  My son said’ “It is a bit like stacked lahmacun, though it is lighter and there are more of them!” True, it looks a bit like lahmacun, though the filling and the base flat breads are cooked separately.

Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; layers of flat bread with delicious ground meat sauce, great for sharing!

Kayseri Usulu Yaglama; layers of flat bread with delicious ground meat sauce, great for sharing!

The original recipe calls for the Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi; this paste will add a lot of flavor to the sauce if you prefer to add. You can make it yourself with my recipe or Middle Eastern stores or Turkish online stores like Tulumba  or Best Turkish Food carry it. This is a great dish to enjoy for the whole family and friends;  it takes a bit of time but worth every effort. You can also use these flat breads to enjoy delicious mezzes like this Walnut and red pepper paste dip.

Serves 4 -6 generously (makes 11 flatbreads of about 23cm/9” each)

For the dough:

460 gr/1 lb./4 cups plain flour

7gr/2tsp. dry yeast

3 tbsp./45 ml olive oil

2 tsp./10 ml sea salt

300ml/10 fl oz. warm water

For the meat & vegetables sauce:

500gr/1lb 2 oz. ground beef

30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 medium tomato, finely chopped

15 ml/ 1 tbsp. concentrated tomato puree

10 ml/ 2 tsp. Turkish hot pepper paste (optional)

300 ml/12 fl. Oz/ 1 ½ cup water

Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Plain or garlic yoghurt to serve

Leave the dough to rest and rise for 45 minutes.

Leave the dough to rest and rise for 45 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and yeast and mix well. Stir in the olive oil and warm water and knead into a soft dough by hand (if it’s sticky, you may need a little extra flour to shape the dough). My mother says, “the dough needs to be of ear lop softness” – kulak memesi kivaminda olacak – As  expected, we also have a saying for the consistency of the dough in Turkish 🙂 Cover the dough with a dish cloth and leave to rest and rise at a warm spot for 45 minutes or until it doubles the size.

Ground meat and vegetables filling for the yaglama; make sure there is generous liquid in it.

Ground meat and vegetables filling for the yaglama; make sure there is generous liquid in it.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Stir in the onions and garlic, cook until soft for a few minutes. Add the ground beef and cook for 2-3 minutes, mixing well. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato and red pepper paste (if using) and combine well. Add the water and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover, turn the heat to medium to low and cook for about 30 minutes. Once all is cooked, stir in the chopped parsley, give them all a good mix and turn the heat off (at this stage you can also check the seasoning to your taste). The filling needs to  have quite  a bit of liquid to cover the flat breads so add a little more water if needed.

). On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a thin, round circles of about 23cm -9” in diameter.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a thin, round circles of about 23cm -9” in diameter.

Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 11 pieces and roll into 11 small balls (each about a size of a small tangerine). On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a thin, round circles of about 23cm -9” in diameter. Dust each of these circles with flour so they don’t stick together and keep them covered with a damp towel so that they won’t dry out.

Cook the flat breads on a wide non-stick pan or griddle.

Cook the flat breads on a wide non-stick pan or griddle.

Cook the flat breads on a wide non-stick pan or griddle, flipping over them as they begin to go brown and buckle. Pile them on a plate.

spread a thin layer of the ground meat Spread a thin layer of sauce over the flat bread and place and place another flat bread on top.

Spread a thin layer of the ground meat sauce over the flat bread and place and place another flat bread on top.

Now it is time to assemble the dish. Place a flat bread on a wide, circle serving dish and spread a thin layer of the ground meat sauce over. Then place another flat bread on top and spread the sauce again; continue this layering until all the flat breads are finished with the remaining of the sauce spread at top.

Cut the Yaglama all the way through into 4 equal pieces and enjoy!

Cut the Yaglama all the way through into 4 equal pieces and enjoy!

Cut the Yaglama all the way through into 4 equal pieces, and serve immediately. A few spoonfuls of garlic yoghurt goes very well with this dish. (For garlic yoghurt; simply crush and finely chop a clove of garlic into a cup of plain yoghurt and season with salt to your taste).

Delicious, melt-in-the-mouth Yaglama, Kayseri Style.

Delicious, melt-in-the-mouth Yaglama, Kayseri Style.

 Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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Broad beans dip with dill and red peppers; Kirmizi Biberli Fava

Bountiful, seasonal produce at the Farmer's Market, Pazar, in Istanbul; of one my favorite places to visit as soon as I am at home.

Bountiful, seasonal produce at the Farmers’ Market, Pazar, in Istanbul; of one my favorite places to visit as soon as I am at home.

I love this time of the year when all the fresh produce is at its best. Farmers’ Markets or Pazar, as we call it in Turkish, are packed with ripe juicy tomatoes (why not enjoy tomatoes in this Gavurdagi Salad of ripe tomatoes, walnuts with pomegranate molasses dressing), slim gorgeous aubergines /eggplants (try Imam Bayildi, eggplants cooked in olive oil with vegetables; a delicious and refreshing vegetarian course you can prepare ahead of time), watermelon, peppers and many more. Turkish cuisine is based on using fresh, seasonal produce and seeing these is a paradise on a plate for me.

Fresh broad beans; I love their earthy, delicious flavour

Fresh broad beans; I love their earthy, delicious flavour

 I was delighted to find fresh broad beans or fava beans in my local farmers market a few weeks ago. Fresh broad beans are available from late spring until about end of August. Broad beans were a staple food in ancient times and they are common in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines today. They are very high in protein and fiber and naturally low in fat and cholesterol. I love their unique, earthy flavor, especially in this popular mezze in Turkey; Fava, Pureed broad beans with dill, lemon juice and olive oil. Traditionally, we use dried broad beans for this puree; this time I used fresh broad beans and it worked really well.

Broad beans puree with dill and sauteed peppers in olive oil; a delicious dip

Broad beans puree with dill and sauteed peppers in olive oil; a scrumptious dip

I especially loved the bright sweetness of the fresh broad beans in this appetizer. Blended with dill, olive oil and lemon juice, it turned out to be a delicious, earthy dip. It has a consistency of a thick hummus and is delightful on toasted bread or crackers. I served this dip with sautéed strips of red peppers in red pepper flakes (pul biber) infused olive oil; the sweetness of the peppers and the touch of spice from the red pepper flakes worked so well with the earthy flavor of the broad beans. As you can prepare ahead of time, it makes a lovely entertaining dish. This broad beans puree keeps very well in the fridge for a good few days.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, available to order at this link

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and offers a wide range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices, very healthy and delicious too. I aimed to showcase our healthy Turkish cuisine with over 90 delicious, authentic dishes at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland; Signed copies available to order at this link, if you’d like. Regular copies are also available on Amazon now at this link.

Serves 2 – 4

200 gr/ 7 oz./1  ¾   cups fresh broad beans, shelled (or a generous 1 cup dried broad beans)

1 small potato, cut in chunky cubes

1 small onion, roughly chopped

30 ml/ 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill

5ml/ 1 tsp. brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml/ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To serve:

1 small red bell (or pointy) pepper, deseeded and cut into thin stripes

30ml/2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill

30ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil

5ml/1 tsp. Turkish red pepper flakes (pul biber)

fresh broad beans, onions and potatoes work well in this delicious dip

Fresh broad beans, onions and potatoes work well in this delicious dip

If you are using dried broad beans, place the beans in a bowl of water and soak overnight or for at least 4-6 for six hours. Drain beans and then cook them in boiling water with the potatoes and onions. Simmer for about 40-45 minutes, until tender. Once cooked, drain the water and set aside to cool.

If you are using fresh broad beans, blanch the shelled beans in boiling water for about a minute, then grasp them by the furrowed ends and slip them out of their skins.

In a small saucepan, add these broad beans, potatoes and onions, cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pulse the cooked beans and vegetables with dill in a food processor to form a purée consistency.

Pulse the cooked beans and vegetables with dill in a food processor to form a purée consistency.

Pulse the cooked beans and vegetables with dill in a food processor to form a purée consistency. Remove from the food processor into a bowl and stir in olive oil, sugar and lemon juice. Season with salt and ground black pepper to your taste.

Broad beans and vegetables puree; chill and set in the fridge.

Broad beans and vegetables puree; chill and set in the fridge.

Just before serving, gentlyheat the olive oil in a pan and stir in the Turkish red pepper flakes. Add the stripes of red bell peppers, combine and cook for a few minutes. The red pepper flakes will infuse to the olive oil and turn into a lovely red color. Stir in the fresh dill and turn the heat off.

Once the broad beans puree is set in the fridge, unmold, turn the puree over on a serving dish. Drizzle the sautéed peppers and the olive oil over and around the pureed broad beans dip. You can enjoy this delicious dip with toasted bread or crackers aside.

Broad beans puree with dill and sauteed peppers in olive oil; a delicious dip

Broad beans puree with dill and sauteed peppers in olive oil; a delicious dip, great for entertaining.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Tips for buying fresh fava (broad beans):

  • When purchasing fresh fava beans (or broad beans), look for bright green pods that are free of yellow patches. Large beans are starchy and firm, while smaller ones are sweeter and tenderer.
  • If you are buying shelled beans, make sure they are tender and have a smooth surface.
  • To store shelled fava beans, spread them out in a single layer and cover them loosely with plastic wrap for up to three days.

 

 

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Samphire (Sea Beans, Deniz Borulcesi) with Salmon, tomatoes and Olives

Succulent Samphire is in season at the moment, and it pairs with fish, boiled egg, broad beans beautifully

Succulent Samphire, deniz borulcesi or sea beans, as it is called in the US, is in season at the moment, and it pairs with fish, boiled egg, broad beans beautifully

Have you ever tried Samphire, or as we call in Turkey, deniz borulcesi? Samphire is in season at the moment and I was delighted to find this delicious sea vegetable at my local market, what a treat. Marsh Samphire, deniz borulcesi, is a succulent plant of the salicornia species, not a seaweed and it is a popular mezze ingredient in the Aegean & Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Samphire is also a fashionable sea vegetable in the UK at the moment; it has a short season (July to August) so make the most of it if you can. A reader kindly also informed me that samphire is called sea bean in the West Coast, US – and that makes perfect sense-. It pairs any grilled fish beautifully and samphire’s crisp texture and naturally salty, succulent taste is the taste of summer at the Aegean for me. Just one bite and I feel the sea breeze, the turquoise Aegean calling for me straight away..

Samphire’s crisp texture and naturally salty, delicious taste is the taste of summer at the Aegean for me.

Samphire’s crisp texture and naturally salty, delicious taste is the taste of summer at the Aegean for me.

Once described as the poor man’s asparagus, the mash samphire is not only delicious but very nutritious too. It is rich in vitamins A, B2, B15, C,D, amino acids and more. Some supermarkets, like Waitrose in England also carry samphire next to the fish counter, so worth checking out. Samphire is also delicious especially with egg, broad beans, for a vegetarian option.

Samphire paired deliciously with baked salmon, cherry tomatoes, anchovies and olives.

Samphire paired deliciously with baked salmon, cherry tomatoes, anchovies and olives.

I prepared the samphire, deniz borulcesi, in a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, like it is prepared in Turkey for a mezze spread; this dressing complemented the samphire beautifully next to our baked salmon with cherry tomatoes, olives and anchovies. Avoid using salt, as there is plenty natural salt here through anchovies and the samphire or sea beans. A very easy and delicious recipe, l hope you enjoy it too.

I am passionate about my homeland’s delicious, healthy Turkish cuisine, packed with seasonal produce and wholesome ingredients and recipes like this one. My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, includes over 90 authentic Turkish recipes, with stunning photography and my personal stories, if you’d like to get a signed copy, you can order at this link, it is delivered worldwide, promptly.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Serves  4

Preparation time: 15 minutes                                    Cooking time: 30 minutes

4 salmon fillets

16-18 cherry tomatoes, halved

30ml/2 tablespoons olives, pitted and halved

3 small fillets of anchovies in olive oil (from the tin); drained

30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil

Ground black pepper to taste

 Wedges of lemon to serve

For samphire (or sea beans or deniz borulcesi) & the dressing:

350g/12 oz. fresh samphire (deniz börülcesi)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped

30ml/ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

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

 

Spread the cherry tomatoes, olives and the anchovy fillets over and around the salmon fillets.

Spread the cherry tomatoes, olives and the anchovy fillets over and around the salmon fillets.

 Grease the baking tray with the olive oil and place the salmon fillets on it. Spread the cherry tomatoes, olives and the anchovy fillets over and around the salmon fillets. Season with ground black pepper. Place the tray in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes (please refer to cooking instructions at the packaging as cooking time may vary with the size  or type of the fish), until the fish is cooked and the tomatoes starting to turn crisp at the edges.

Samphire with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice

While the salmon is in the oven, prepare the samphire. Trim to remove the tough woody parts of the lower stalks and give it a light wash to remove any grit.  Steam the samphire over a pan of boiling water for a few minutes. Cool the samphire in iced water and set aside in a serving bowl.

Samphire is delicious with a simple dressing of olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.

Samphire is delicious with a simple dressing of olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.

 Combine the olive oil, chopped garlic and the lemon juice in a bowl and drizzle this sauce over the samphire or deniz borulcesi, mix well.

Samphire in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic with the baked salmon; delicious combination.

Samphire in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic with the baked salmon; delicious combination.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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