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Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, aubergine, tomatoes – Firikli Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi

I love freekeh’s nutty, smoky flavor – it used to feature at lot at my grandmother’s table in Antakya; she would combine freekeh with seasonal vegetables, meat or sometimes just with bulgur and fresh butter, which always tasted heavenly.

This dish is popular in southern Turkish cuisine, using the season’s bountiful tomatoes and aubergines / eggplant or patlican. The meaty aubergines and juicy tomatoes are a great match here with the wholegrains – a fantastic, all in one pot plant based dish. Locals in southern Turkey use the glorious, ripe tomatoes in this dish; I opted to use a good quality chopped can tomatoes as living abroad, it is not always easy to get ripe, sun kissed tomatoes. I did however use some sliced fresh tomatoes – as ripe as I could find- to decorate the top of this lovely dish, and it added extra freshness and flavour.

Some backround information on freekeh. Firik, (as in Turkish) or Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh)  or farik is a cereal  food made from green drum wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production.  Firik is a popular and ancient grain used Middle Eastern & Southern Turkish cuisine and also popular in Levantine, Egyptian, Arabian Peninsula and North African cuisine. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn and not the seeds. It is the high moisture content of the seeds that prevents them from burning. The now roasted wheat undergoes further thrashing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. It is this thrashing or rubbing process of the grains that gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed.” The seeds are now cracked into smaller pieces so they look like a green bulgur.

This delicious, ancient grain freekeh is a similar food made from barley and it is also mentioned in the Bible. Freekeh is also considered as a superfood, as in the category of the healthy grains such as quinoa and farro. Freekeh has at least four times as much fiber  as some other comparable grains, consisting mostly of insoluble fiber. It also has a low glycemic index so is suitable for managing diabetes. You can get freekeh in Middle Eastern or specialty food stores abroad, though it is widely available in Turkey. Bulgur is now widely available in supermarkets, so great to see. If you like to use a gluten-free option, you can replace bulgur with quinoa.

This is a bountiful dish and can easily feed 6 people or more. It also tastes great the next day and freezes well, so perfect for family meals or entertaining too. I also made another version of this Bulgur pilaf with aubergines, at my cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table (page 213), adding small chunks of meat there, if you fancy that version too. If you prefer not to use freekeh, you can omit and replace it with more bulgur here if you like. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is available at this link here and delivered worldwide, including the USA and Canada. You can also see ebook and other options here.

I hope you enjoy this delicious plant based recipe, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, aubergine, tomatoes – Firikli Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavi
 
This dish is popular in southern Turkish cuisine, using the season’s bountiful tomatoes and aubergines / eggplant or patlican. The meaty aubergines and juicy tomatoes are a great match here with the wholegrains - a fantastic, all in one pot plant based dish. Locals in southern Turkey use the glorious, ripe tomatoes in this dish; I opted to use a good quality chopped can tomatoes as living abroad, it is not always easy to get ripe, sun kissed tomatoes. I did however use some sliced fresh tomatoes – as ripe as I could find- to decorate the top of this lovely dish, and it added extra freshness and flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian, Vegan
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 350g/12oz coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained
  • 110g/4oz freekeh, rinsed and drained
  • 3 medium aubergines, quartered and sliced in 1cm chunks
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste, biber salcasi
  • 15ml/1tbsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 400g/14oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes in juice
  • 60ml/ 2fl oz olive oil – for baking the aubergines –
  • 30ml/2tbsp olive oil – for cooking-
  • 900ml / 1.6 pints hot water
  • 5ml/1tsp Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped – to decorate
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
  2. First prepare the eggplants (aubergines). Cut the aubergine in quarters and then slice into 1cm with pieces. Layer the aubergine pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, dry the aubergines with kitchen or paper towel thoroughly.
  3. Spread the aubergine slices in a baking tray and pour in the 60ml/2floz olive oil over them. Using your hands, make sure that all aubergine slices have a nice coating of the olive oil. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes in the preheated oven at 200C / 400F. Aubergines will start to get crispy around the edges, a nice color and soften up (you can alternatively sauté your aubergines on a pan with olive oil, though I find the baking easier and healthier).
  4. Heat the 2tbsp/30ml olive oil in a heavy, wide pan and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes, until soft and they begin to color. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, red pepper paste, can of chopped tomatoes, Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber and combine well.
  5. Toss the sautéed aubergines to the pan and gently combine.
  6. Now stir in the rinsed bulgur and freekeh to the pan and mix well. Pour in the hot water and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, combine well. Reduce the heat to low for simmering.
  7. Place the tomato slices over the top, cover and cook for 30 minutes, until the liquid is evaporated and the grains are cooked (add a little more hot water if needed). Check the seasoning and add more salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. Turn the heat off. I like to rest the dish and settle the flavours for 10 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve with refreshing Shepherd’s Salad, Coban Salatasi and/or Cacik dip with cucumber and yoghurt aside.

Hands On Turkish Cookery Classes and events with Ozlem Warren in Fethiye and Kalkan, Turkey!

October 20th and 21st, 2020

I am so delighted to be returning to Fethiye – Turkey, for a series of Hands on Turkish cookery classes and events and do hope you can make one of these, if you are nearby Fethiye.

Hands on Turkish cookery class on Tuesday, October 20th, 9.30am – 1pm at Yakamoz Hotel – Fethiye

Baklava; image from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, by Sian Irvine Photography

Please join us for a scrumptious hands on Turkish cookery class (including how to make home made baklava!) on Tuesday, October 20th, 9.30am – 1pm at Yakamoz Hotel – Fethiye,  where we will cook a delicious menu from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book together and then sit down and enjoy our creations at the Yakamoz Hotel’s beautiful grounds. Participation is limited, please visit my Cookery Classes page for all the details and registration.

If you like to join us at this fun and friendly hands on cookery class, please call Mehmet Yakamoz at +90 533 336 76 10 or email at yakamozone@hotmail.com to reserve your spot, participation is limited.

Turkish Style Lunch and Ozlem’s cookery demo and talk at Yakamoz Hotel, Fethiye 

Tuesday, October 20th; 1.30pm – 4pm

Potato and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Please join us for a scrumptions Turkish style lunch at Yakamoz Hotel, on Tuesday, October 20th; 1.30pm – 4pm. Ozlem Warren, author of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book will be with us too, to give a talk on Turkish cuisine and demonstrate how to make Potato and bulgur patties with pomegranate molasses and will sign her cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, if anyone would like to get a copy.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table book signing at Fethiye!

If you like to join us at this exciting event,  please call Mehmet Yakamoz at +90 533 336 76 10 or email at yakamozone@hotmail.com to reserve your spot, participation is limited. Please visit my Cookery Classes page for more information.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Hands on Classes at Guru’s Place Cookery School, Kalkan – 

Wednesday, October 21st, 9.45am – 2pm

“Ozlem Warren, International cookery teacher and the author of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book, is delighted to be visiting Guru’s Place Cookery School in Kalkan, on Wednesday, October 21st, 9.45am – 2pm, to co-teach hands-on cookery classes, with Huseyin Kayir, owner of the Guru’s Place Cookery School, Kalkan. We will cook together delicious Turkish recipes from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book and then we will all sit down and enjoy our cooking, with a glass of wine. If you’d like to join the class, please kindly book your place and get in touch with Guru’s Place Cookery School at gurusplace@hotmail.com or call +905363311016. Participation is limited. Please visit my Cookery Classes page for full details of the class.

Baked zucchini with feta, spring onions and dill, Firinda Mucver

Do hope to be able to enjoy Turkish cuisine together with you in Fethiye in October, 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.

5.0 from 1 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

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading