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Vegetable & Chickpea Soup with a Delicious Twist- Try sautéed Turkish spicy sausage, Sucuk on top! & Istanbul Calling in February!

Vegetables and chickpea soup with sauteed spicy Turkish cured beef sausage slices on top; a delicious twist.

I love a good, hearty soup in winter. With some crusty bread by the side, it can be a meal on its own for me.

Yoghurt soup with bulgur balls, Gaziantep's yuvalama, served at Kiva restaurant, Istanbul.

Soups, -“Corba” in Turkish-, form a very important part of Turkish diet; almost every dinner, especially in cooler months, start with soup in Turkish households. In rural Anatolia, it is also common for this Yayla Corbasi, yoghurt & rice soup with dried mint and red pepper flakes or Mercimek Corbasi, the hearty and delicious lentil soup to be eaten as breakfast, for a substantial meal, throughout the year. You see soup stalls in every town, village and city in Turkey.

Vegetables soup; sebze corbasi; chickpeas add a wonderful texture and taste, and also make the soup more substantial.

We have all been feeling a little under the weather last week and I made this simple, but delicious soup, using the vegetables I had in the fridge. Potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, celery all work wonders when brought together with a drizzle of olive oil, a good quality can of chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon. The chickpeas also add a wonderful texture and taste, as well as making the soup more substantial. Here again spices take special credit; 1-2 teaspoonful of red pepper flakes will add a lot of flavor naturally to the soup (and the research says red pepper flakes do help you to lose weight! 🙂

Sliced Turkish cured beef sausage, sucuk ; wonderful when sauteed in olive oil.

But I couldn’t stop there. Once in a while, I do crave our spicy Turkish sausage, Sucuk. Shaped like a horseshoe, Sucuk is a cured sausage made with lamb or beef, and flavored with garlic and spices; I love its spicy taste with cumin notes in it (and sucuk is one of the highlights of the Turkish Breakfast!). I decided to add some sautéed sliced Turkish sausage over my vegetable soup. This delicious addition made the soup even more exciting, with all my taste buds having one great feast! I hope you can get Turkish sausage, sucuk, if not, the Spanish chorizo sausage would work well in this soup too. This version is not a traditional Turkish soup; I have experimented using sauteed Turkish sausage here and delighted to see that it worked well.

Here is the recipe for the soup – you can enjoy the vegetarian version or have a go at the one with spicy sausages, sucuk. We had both versions depending on our mood and very much we enjoyed them.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes                        Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

2 medium potatoes, cut in small chunks

2 onions, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, cut in small chunks

4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 celery sticks, cut in small chunks

Juice of 1 lemon

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

400gr/14oz can of Italian chopped tomatoes

400gr/14oz can of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed

1.75lt/3pints/7 ½ cups water (or chicken stock, if you prefer)

Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

15ml/ 1tbsp red pepper flakes

For sautéed Sucuk, Turkish cured beef/lamb sausage:

75gr /3oz Turkish cured sausage, Sucuk, quartered and sliced

15 ml, 1 tbsp olive oil

Wedges of lemon to serve

Crusty bread to serve

Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pan and stir in the onion; sauté for a few minutes until they begin to color. Then add the rest of the vegetables, toss in and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, and combine well.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes and pour in the water (or stock) and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and partially cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Vegetable Soup with Chickpeas – Nohutlu Sebze Corbasi

Add the chopped parsley, (drained and rinsed) cooked chickpeas and the lemon juice, combine well. Check the seasoning and add more salt, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes according to your taste, turn the heat off. Your vegetable soup with chickpeas ready; serve hot with plenty crusty bread and a wedge of lemon by the side for extra zing.

Sauteed spicy Turkish sausage, Sucuk; adds a lot of flavor to the soup.

If you like to spice up your soup a little more and add a delicious twist, sauté the sliced sucuk, Turkish cured sausage, in a separate pan with a little olive oil for a few minutes. Once they start to change color and sizzle, they are ready.

Vegetable and chickpeas soup with sauteed Turkish cured sausage, sucuk.

Ladle the hot soup into individual serving bowls and stir in the sautéed Turkish sausages over the top. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon and crusty bread by the side.

Sucuklu Kuru Fasulye; delicious Turkish bean stew with spicy Turkish sausage.

More ideas using Sucuk? How about our traditional Bean Stew with Sausages – Sucuklu Kuru Fasulye?  – Such a delicious, wholesome meal; make sure you have plenty of crusty bread near you to mop up all the juices!

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Istanbul Calling! Ozlem’s Turkish Table Cookery Class at the Istanbul Culinary Institute on February 18th 2013 

I will be teaching at the Istanbul Culinary Institute on 18th February, 2013.

I am so very excited to be going back home, Istanbul; can’t wait to take in all the sights, smells and taste in mid-February! I will be returning to the wonderful Istanbul Culinary Institute to teach a Southern Turkish style cookery class on Monday, February 18th. If you are in Istanbul and would like to join us, please take a look at the class details here.

Look forward to many more cay, Turkish tea by the Bosphorus, Istanbul!

I can’t wait to go back to my homeland and look forward sharing what I will see and taste in Istanbul with you here – stay tuned! : )

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Chickpea Pilaf with Chicken and Vegetables; Turn Your Leftovers into a Complete, Delicious Meal

Chickpea pilaf spiced up with red pepper flakes, chicken and vegetables; healthy and delicious way to turn your leftovers to a complete meal.

Nohutlu pilav, Chickpea Pilaf is a popular street food in Turkey. Street stalls, selling this delicious and great value pilaf, appear at almost every corner in Istanbul and elsewhere; all you need to do is to get a tub of this delicious grub with a few pickles or tursu by the side and your lunch is ready to be enjoyed!

Traditional Nohutlu Pilav, Chickpea Pilav at a street stall in Izmir; photo credit Turkey's For Life.

Just as I was preparing my version of the chickpea pilaf, I enjoyed reading the wonderful blog Turkey For Life’s delicious adventure in Izmir, where they had the nohutlu pilav; please have a look,  a great read : )

The story of Nohutlu Pilaf goes back to the Ottoman Period. According to Ghillie Basan’s  The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking, Mahmut Pasha, the Grand Vizier of Mehmet the Conqueror, used to invite his Ministers to lunch every Friday, where he would serve a special mound of rice and chickpea pilaf at the end of the meal. As each minister dipped into the rice with his spoon, solid gold balls the same size as the chickpeas would be revealed, bringing good fortune to those who managed to one on their spoon.

A few red pepper flakes add a lot of flavor to the chickpeas, onions and chicken.

We do have more than our fair share of chickpeas in our house, as we eat hummus almost daily. This time I used the chickpeas in pilaf, to finish off the leftover vegetables and roast chicken we had recently. I love the original chickpea pilaf and its gorgeous buttery taste. At this version, I spiced the original nohutlu pilaf up a little. I sautéed the onions with our leftover chicken roast and Brussels sprouts with olive oil and red pepper flakes, then combined this with pilaf and chickpeas, which made a complete meal (A Japanese study has shown that adding spice & chilli to your meal reduces your appetite, another good reason to incorporate spices to your diet).

Chilli or red pepper flakes not only add a lot of flavor to your dishes, it also helps you to loose weight.

The pilaf was a delicious combination and we managed to finish all the leftovers; seeing the brussels sprouts especially disappearing at the children’s plate was a joy! You can any other vegetables of your choice here (peas work well too) and can also serve the vegetables by the side if you prefer that way. For a vegetarian option, simply omit the meat.

Chickpea pilaf with chicken and vegetables; a great makeover for your leftovers!

You can enjoy this delicious pilaf; Cacik – Cucumber & yoghurt with dried mint- or the refreshing Shepherd”s Salad would also complement well. Hope you enjoy this nohutlu pilav with a twist, Afiyet Olsun!

Serves 4-6

Preparation time:                20 minutes                            Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

100gr/4oz cooked left over chicken or your choice of meat, cut in stripes or small chunks

350gr/12oz long grain rice, rinsed and drained (you can use wholegrain basmati rice for gluten-free version)

100gr/4oz cooked chickpeas*, rinsed

100gr/4oz cooked (left over) peas or brussel sprouts, halved

2 medium onions, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon –optional-

15ml/1tbsp butter

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

750ml/1 ¼ pints/3 cups chicken stock or water

5-10ml/1-2 tsp Turkish red pepper flakes/ chilli flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

*If you like to use dried chickpeas, you need to soak them in plenty of cold water a night before. The next day, drain the chickpeas, put them in a pan and fill with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat, partially cover the pan. Simmer the chickpeas for about 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse well under cold running water.

Saute onions in olive oil and stir in the chicken and red pepper flakes,

Pour the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the onion and cook until it softens. Add the cooked chicken pieces and red pepper flakes, and combine well. Toss the cooked peas or brussels sprouts with the mixture and stir in the lemon juice (Being a lemon fan, I like the zing and the refreshing taste lemon juice brings to the dish. You can skip this if you prefer to). Season with salt and ground pepper. Cover and cook under low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn off the heat.

Chickpeas go well with onions, chicken and brussels sprouts.

In a separate pan, gently melt the butter. Add the rice and the stock or water. Season with salt and pepper, give a good stir and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Then turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean tea towel and put the lid tightly on top. This will help rice to steam and the tea towel will absorb any excess moisture.

Stir in the cooked pilaf rice to the chickpeas with chicken and vegetables mixture, combine them well.

I hope you enjoy it, Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

 

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