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Pickled Cucumbers and Pickled Beetroot, Carrot and Turnip – Turşu

We Turks have a long passion and love for pickles, turşu, dating back to the Ottoman period. Known also as Torshi, derived from Persian torsh ‘sour’, pickled vegetables are much loved in the Middle East and Balkans, as well as in Turkey.

There are over 100 different varieties of turşu at home, and we have special Turşu shops, selling only pickles. From aubergine to cucumbers, tomato to peppers, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, onions, we love pickling vegetables. In southern Turkey, the juice of pickled turnip, şalgam suyu, is also a popular street drink; I love the sour, tangy taste of pickled turnip juice. We enjoy pickles as part of meze spread, add to our salads, with our savoury pastries,  grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. I adore turşu  aside to Bulgur and lentil pilaf with caramalised onions – Mercimekli As or Mujaddara, as well as with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir.

Pickling is an ancient food preservation technique; research suggests that pickled vegetables contain beneficial bacteria, that support our gut health and over all wellbeing too.

Tips: Use glass jars for pickling and sterilize before using. Only use rock salt and make sure your vegetables are firm (for cucumbers, smaller varieties are better). Use one type of vegetable in the jar or group them with similar texture, such as peppers, cucumbers and beetroots/carrots/turnips in separate jars, as their fermentation timing differs, for instance pickled cucumbers get ready earlier than the pickled beets.

I recently enjoyed my turşu with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir, hummus and some borek aside, it was a delicious lunch.  Kisir, variety of boreks, hummus recipes are at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. You can get a hardback copy at this link – now 20 % off – There are now reduced rates of delivery to the US, Canada and Mexico at this link too.

Ideal temperature to keep the pickled jars is about 17-20C, at a dark place. Pickled cucumbers get ready in 3 weeks, pickled beetroots, turnips and carrots in 4 weeks. Please do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar. Once the pickles are ready and jar is opened, keep your pickles, turşu in the fridge. It stays fresh for 2-3 months, when stored in the fridge, in a tightly sealed glass jar.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Pickled Cucumbers and Pickled Beetroot, Carrot and Turnip - Turşu
 
We Turks have a long passion and love for pickles, turşu, dating back to the Ottoman period. There are over 100 different varieties of turşu at home, and we have special Turşu shops, selling only pickles. From aubergine to cucumbers, tomato to peppers, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, onions, we love pickling vegetables. In southern Turkey, the juice of pickled turnip, şalgam suyu, is also a popular street drink; I love the sour, tangy taste of pickled turnip juice. We enjoy pickles as part of meze spread, add to our salads, with our savoury pastries, grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. I adore turşu aside to Bulgur and lentil pilaf with caramalised onions – Mercimekli As or Mujaddara, as well as with Bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses.
Author:
Recipe type: Pickles, Tursu
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Ingredients
  • For pickling cucumbers:
  • 850ml/30fl oz glass sterilized jar with a tight seal
  • 485g/1lb 1oz firm, small cucumbers, washed, dried and coarsely sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Small bunch of parsley, washed and pat dried
  • 15ml/1tbsp rock salt
  • 50ml/2fl oz distilled malt vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 340ml/12oz drinking water
  • For pickling beetroot, turnip and carrots:
  • 850ml/30fl oz glass sterilized jar with a tight seal
  • 230g/8oz beetroot, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 140g/5oz turnip, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 110g/4oz carrots, trimmed, peeled and coarsely sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Small bunch of parsley, washed and pat dried
  • 15ml/1tbsp rock salt
  • 50ml/2fl oz distilled malt vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 340ml/12oz drinking water
Instructions
  1. First sterilize your glass jars. Wash your jars and the lids in hot soapy water, but do not dry them. Instead, leave them to stand upside down on a roasting tray, while they're still wet. Pop the tray of clean, wet jars and lids (removing all the plastic parts), in to a preheated oven at 160ºC for about 15 minutes. Then let them cool down.
  2. Place half of the garlic cloves at the bottom of the jar. Then add the coarsely sliced cucumbers, topped by the remaining garlic cloves. Gently pat down and pack them tight and evenly.
  3. If you are pickling beets, carrots and turnips, follow the same procedure. Place half of the garlic cloves at the bottom of a separate jar. Then add the coarsely sliced beets carrots and turnips, topped by the remaining garlic cloves. Gently pat down and pack them tight and evenly.
  4. Combine the 340ml drinking water, 50ml distilled malt vinegar and 1 tbsp rock salt in a jug. Stir and dissolve the salt completely. Pour the mixture into the pickled cucumber jar, making sure the liquid covers the top of the vegetables. Place the parsley on top, close tightly and seal. Gently shake the jar to make sure the liquid reaches all corners and distributed evenly. Store in a cool, dark place, for 3 weeks, in the case of pickled cucumbers. Do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar.
  5. For pickling beetroots, turnip and carrots in a separate glass jar, follow the same procedure and prepare the same pickling solution with 340ml drinking water, 50ml distilled malt vinegar and 1 tbsp rock salt, combined and fully dissolved. Pour the mixture into the pickled beets, carrots and turnip jar, making sure the liquid covers the top of the vegetables. Place the parsley on top, close tightly and seal. Gently shake the jar to make sure the liquid reaches all corners and distributed evenly. Store in a cool, dark place, for 4 weeks, in the case of pickled beets, carrots and turnips. Do not open the jar before this period, as this will spoil the pickling process, letting the air into the jar.
  6. Once pickles, tursu ready, open the jar and enjoy your turşu, pickles, as part of mezze, with salads, with savoury pastries, grills and kebabs as well as with casserole style Turkish home cooking and pilaf. Once the jar is opened, keep your pickles, turşu in the fridge, covered. It stays fresh for 2-3 months, when stored in the fridge, in a tightly sealed glass jar.
 

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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

4.7 from 3 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,

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 2 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

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

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