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Ezme; Spread of Tomatoes, Onions, Peppers with Red Pepper Paste

Scrumptious spread of Ezme; makes a great appetizer and goes really well with grilled meat and vegetables.

Have you ever tried the delicious Turkish mezze, Ezme? This tomato based delicious appetizer has a wonderful mixture of sweet, spicy and acidic flavors and it is one of my favorite mezzes served in the kebab houses at home, a very memorable gastronomic experience.

Humble and fresh ingredients like tomatoes, onion, peppers transform to a magical taste with a touch of red pepper paste and extra virgin olive oil.

Ezme is a very typical Turkish mezze, served in kebab houses throughout Turkey. With a touch of hot red pepper paste and extra virgin olive oil, these simple but fresh ingredients like tomatoes, onion, herbs and good olive oil produce this surprisingly complex yet refreshing and a very more-ish mezze. You can make Ezme ahead of time, so it is very entertaining friendly too.

There are quite a few variations for Ezme; my favorite is the way it is done in the Southeast Turkey, where my roots are from.  Biber Salcasi,  Turkish red pepper paste is a major staple in the regions of Gaziantep  and Antakya and a little of this wonderful paste adds such a rich, complex flavor to the Ezme. You can also make red pepper paste at home with my recipe, easy and delicious. An important trick to Ezme is to rub the red pepper paste and tomato paste to the onions with your hands so that the paste infuses; these also soften the onions and make them more palatable.

 

You can serve Ezme over crackers or pita bread as an appetizer; it can also accompany kebabs, grilled meats and roasted vegetables beautifully too. Why not try Ayran, delicious Turkish traditional yoghurt drink to accompany this wonderful feast?

Turkish cuisine has a long and rich tradition of incorporating hot and cold mezes, regional, delicious dips and salads, variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free courses. They have all been included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table; Signed copies are now 25 % off and delivered worldwide including USA, at this link. We also have this lovely Ozlem’s Turkish Table apron on sale here, with the embroidery of my home town Antakya’s daphne leaves in the design.

 

Serves 4                                   Preparation time: 15 – 20 minutes

4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, halved and seeds removed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 small spicy pointy green peppers –(use less or more depending on how spicy you like)
15ml/1 tbsp red pepper paste (or a little less if you prefer less spicy) – If you can’t get red pepper paste, you can add a touch of spice with 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
15ml/1 tbsp tomato paste
Juice of half a lemon
Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
30ml/ 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the red pepper paste and tomato paste with the onions in a bowl. Knead and mix them well with your hands so that the paste infuses to the onions; this also softens the onions and make them more palatable.  If you can’t get red pepper paste, you can add a touch of spice with 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes and infuse them to the  onions with the tomato paste.

Ezme is ready to be enjoyed; though not traditional, I like to add a few walnuts over Ezme when serving, for extra texture and taste.

Stir in the tomatoes, peppers, parsley and mint, combine well. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over. Season with salt and ground pepper and give them all a good mix. Cover and keep in the fridge until serving. It would be best if you can let the Ezme sit for an hour or so before serving; this will help the flavors mingle & settle.

You can prepare Ezme ahead of time; it tastes even better the next day!

Ezme is delicious over flat bread, crackers, pitta bread. I like to add a few walnuts over when serving, love the added texture and taste it adds.

Though not traditional, I like to sprinkle a few walnuts around Ezme when serving; I love the added texture and taste walnuts brings to Ezme.

I hope you enjoy making your own Ezme, and that it brings happy memories of your visit to Turkey or inspires for a visit! : )

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

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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 now 25 % OFF at this link and delivered worldwide including the USA.

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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