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Tag Archives | Vegetarian

Sautéed Aubergine (Eggplant), Courgette (Zucchini) and Peppers with Tomato Sauce-Saksuka

Saksuka is one of the most popular mezes, appetizers at home, featuring our beloved eggplant (aubergine). It is delicious and easy to make. Garlicky yoghurt accompanies this dish really well. I like to add a little Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi to it; it really adds a wonderful flavor. If you like to make your own red pepper paste, here is my recipe.

Shakshuka (meaning “all mixed up”), is also a popular dish in the Middle East, made up of  eggs cooked in tomato sauce, peppers, herbs and sometimes onions. For us Turks though, the name and dish Saksuka refers to this delicious, summery meze of aubergines, peppers cooked in olive oil, served with tomato based sauce. I like to add courgette (zucchini) here too – it really is summer on a plate.  Vegetables are tratidionally shallow fried in olive oil for this recipe. For a lighter and equally tasty option, you can bake them in the oven too, as in the recipe.

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and we have a huge variety of vegetarian dishes, which I love. Over 70 % of the dishes at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, is vegetarian, showcasing the diversity of our dishes, healthy and easy to make ( please kindly note that this recipe is not included at my current book). Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book is available at this link and delivered worldwide.

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Serves 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

1 large aubergine (eggplant)
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 red bell pepper
2-3 chili peppers (as hot as you wish), kept whole or sliced in half
Sunflower oil for shallow frying
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:
400gr/14oz can of chopped tomatoes

10ml/2tsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi (optional)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed with salt
5ml/1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Garlicky yoghurt sauce:
200ml/7fl oz thick and creamy natural plain yoghurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400F (if you prefer to roast the vegetables)

Using a vegetable peeler, partially peel the aubergine in stripes. Cut the aubergine in half length ways and then cut each half into thick slices. Sprinkle salt over the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes. Salt will help the moisture come out of the eggplants. Dry the eggplants with kitchen towel thoroughly (otherwise the excess water will cause the hot oil to spatter everywhere).

Cut the courgette in half lengthways and then cut it width ways into thick slices. Deseed the red bell pepper and cut it into bite size pieces. You can leave the chili peppers as a whole or cut in half if they are too big.

Heat enough oil in a wide pan. Sauté the vegetables in batches until they are golden brown. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Lightly season with salt and ground black pepper.  Alternatively, if you prefer to roast the vegetables, you can spread the sliced vegetables on a roasting tray and coat them with olive oil (about 2-3 tbsp) and season with salt and black pepper. You can then roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes until they start to turn golden brown.

On a separate pan, sauté the garlic for a minute or so with the olive oil. Add the canned tomatoes and the hot pepper paste (if you are using) and mix well. Stir in the red pepper flakes and the parsley. Add salt and pepper to your taste. The tomato sauce is ready.

For the yoghurt sauce, beat the yoghurt with the garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pile the hot vegetables on to a serving dish and spoon the tomato sauce over the top. Serve the yoghurt sauce by the side, accompanied by chunks of fresh bread to mop up the tasty sauce.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Zeytinyagli Pirasa – Leeks, Carrots and Rice Cooked with Olive Oil

Leeks, onions and carrots cooked in olive oil, Zeytinyagli Pirasa

Leeks, onions and carrots cooked in olive oil, Zeytinyagli Pirasa

Leeks are around all through the year these days and they are native to Anatolia, along with carrots. This “Zeytinyagli”(vegetables cooked in oil) recipe is wonderfully refreshing and comforting all through the year. Traditionally, we like to cook zeytinyagli dishes ahead of time, and allow the dish to cool and rest in its pan for the flavors to blend well.

The recipe is very easy to make, delicious and healthy – also vegan and gluten-free. You can keep in the fridge up to 3 days (flavors blend even better the next day!) and we serve them cold or room temperature. This recipe made a wonderful lunch for me with some crusty bread and squeeze of lemon by the side. You can serve as an appetizer, meze or as a side dish to accompany main dishes.

Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and offers delicious, wholesome, easy to make meals, most of them good for vegan and gluten-free diet too. This and over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland and delivered promptly worldwide. Signed copies are available to order at this link – while the stocks last! – if you’d like.

If you live in the US, Canada or Mexico, you can order a copy at this link, with lower shipping rates.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes

500 gr/1.1 lb fresh leeks, washed and sliced diagonally into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
15 ml/1 tablespoon long grain rice, washed and drained
60 ml/2 fl oz/1/4 cup olive oil
240 ml /8 fl oz / 1 cup hot water
5 ml/1 teaspoon salt
5 ml/1 teaspoon caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Chopped fresh dill for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedges to squeeze over

In a wide, heavy pan, gently heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and stir occasionally, taking care so they don’t scorch. When the vegetables start to soften, add the rice, hot water, lemon juice, salt and sugar.

Cover and cook gently over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the rice and vegetables are tender and the cooking liquid is absorbed. Avoid stirring during cooking, as this will disturb starch in the grains of rice.

Remove from the heat, cover with an absorbent kitchen cloth or paper towel and replace the lid. This will help to absorb any excess moisture. Set aside to cool.

Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped dill if you would like. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over and some crusty bread by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Spicy Bulgur Wheat Salad with pomegranate molasses – Kisir

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We made Kisir today with the children. We talked about how important it is for us to be able to share and have an access to the recipes from our mothers, grandmothers, and be able to pass on to friends, family and to the next generation. More than being recipes, they really reflect our heritage, culture, traditions and keep the memories alive.

So here comes kisir, from my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. Kisir is a specialty in the southeast of Turkey, from where the country’s spicier dishes hail. It is offered as a welcome to the guests in the homes of Antakya, where my roots are from, and in Gaziantep. Kisir is generally made with nar eksisi (sour pomegranate molasses) instead of lemon juice – though it is common to use lemon juice for Kisir at northwest Turkey. It can be rolled into balls and served nestling in crunchy lettuce leaves. This dish is perfect for buffets or as part of a barbecue spread. It really is a “bowl of health and goodness” with fresh vegetables, bulgur – packed with fiber and pomegranate sauce full of antioxidants.

This wonderful, refreshing can be prepared a couple of days in advance and can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days. As a matter of fact, it tastes even better a day or two later it’s made! I hope you can get to try the recipe. If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, a good balsamic vinegar and lemon juice also works well in this bulgur wheat salad. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi is used widely in this salad in Southern Turkish cooking; you can always make your own red pepper paste, here is my recipe.

Note: There are two main varieties of bulgur wheat available, fine and coarse bulgur. Fine bulgur is traditionally used in  salads like kisir whereas coarse bulgur is used in pilafs or As as we call it in Antakya. If you can’t get the fine bulgur wheat, you can also make this salad with coarse bulgur, widely available in supermarkets. In that case, use 240ml/8 fl oz hot water for 175gr/6oz coarse bulgur and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, covered.

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 25 minutes

350gr/12oz fine bulgur wheat
240ml/8 fl oz hot water
15ml/1 tablespoon tomato paste
15ml/1 tablespoon red pepper paste (optional)
5ml / 1 teaspoon pul biber, chili flakes or red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
30ml/ 2 tablespoon concentrated sour pomegranate molasses, nar eksisi
45ml/3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 green (spring) onions, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
Small bunch of finely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
5ml / 1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Pomegranate seeds to serve (optional)
Lettuce leaves to serve

Mix the bulgur wheat, salt, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes (or paprika or chili flakes), tomato paste, red pepper paste and the chopped onion and knead thoroughly – this will help all the flavors marry and the onion to soften-. Pour the hot water over this mixture and stir, then leave to stand for about 15 minutes. It should absorb all the water by the end of this period. The bulgur should be of a dry consistency.

Add the lemon juice and the pomegranate molasses together with the extra virgin olive oil and knead well again. Stir in the remaining ingredients and combine thoroughly.

Image by Sian Irvine Photography, from Ozlem’s Turkish table cookery book

Serve as a salad in a bowl garnished with pomegranate seeds (if preferred) and  lettuce leaves. Alternatively, take spoonfuls of the mixture and with wet hands roll into balls the size of walnuts. Refrigerate until required.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

New! Ozlem Turkish Table Apron on Sale

I am absolutely delighted to share with you that we also designed this special Ozlem’s Turkish Table apron, just in time for the holiday gift giving season. It is special to my heart, as it is made in Turkey, with my hometown Antakya’s celebrated daphne leaves in the hand embroidered design – this lovely apron would make a wonderful gift for the festive season, you can get yours at this link. Delivered worldwide including the US.

 

Ozlem’s Turkish Table Interview with TRT Radio 1 (Turkish National Radio 1)

It’s been an honor to be interviewed by the Turkish National Radio, TRT Radyo 1, at the Gunebakan Program today, talking about Turkish cuisine abroad. A special moment for me, talking in Turkish, at my homeland’s national radio channel. As we talked during the interview, our  recipes are valuable gateways to share our thousands years of our culinary heritage with the world and pass on to the next generations. Also living abroad, I well know how precious our food is to connect us to our homeland, our memories and bring our stories to life. It is such a privilege to share my homeland Turkey’s amazing culinary heritage, traditions, recipes, hospitality, through these precious opportunities and  my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. My sincere thanks goes to GB Publishing and Pinar Foods UK for helping me spread the word on wholesome, delicious Turkish cuisine.
Here is the link to our interview with TRT Radio 1, I hope you enjoy it:

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