Guvecte Sucuklu Kuru Fasulye – Navy Bean Casserole With Sujuk

There is one common rule all over Turkey in regards to cooking dry beans: You must serve it with rice. Apart from that, there is not much of a rule. Here, I’ll pass my favorite casserole recipe with navy beans. It’s more of a winter dish, but depending on the cravings of our household, i.e. my husband, I end up cooking dry beans in summer time as well. It is perfect if you can find an earthenware bean pot in order to achieve over-the-top flavor but you’d be fine with any casserole dish. 

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Icli Kofte – Bulgur Balls With Meat and Walnut Filling

This kofte is not just crafty stuff but definitely an artistic touch to your dinner tables. In Southeastern Anatolia elongated icli kofte is usually served fried and boiled round icli kofte is enjoyed in Eastern Mediterranean towns like Adana and Kahramanmaras. The recipes for the stuffing and bulgur mix do not differ much throughout Turkey. Various Arab countries have bulgur balls, called kibbah. The only variation between these and the Turkish version is the use of spices I suppose.

My grandma was an icli kofte master and she was famous for it in the town we used to live, I even remember strangers (friends of friends of friends and so on) dropping by our house on the days she made kofte. Yes, it requires a lot of time and skillful hands, but it is totally worth it. Here we go:

Ingredients:

3 cups of fine grind bulgur (parboiled cracked wheat, you can find it in the organic food section of your supermarket or at Middle Eastern grocery shops)

500g of lean minced beef or lamb (ask your butcher to double grind it, it’s crucial)

2 onions, finely grated

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Karnabahar Oturtma – Cauliflower Medley

Cauliflower is not everyone’s favorite vegetable, I know. Daughter of a close friend put it bluntly when she was only 2, by saying “Please mom, I can’t eat flowers or trees” when offered cauliflower for the first time. For some, it is the sight of this pretty vegetable, for others it is the smell that is off-putting. For me, cauliflower is one of those saponin-flavored beautiful winter vegetables. Au gratin and this medley recipe I’m giving here are the two most common ways of cooking cauliflower in Turkey.

Ingredients:

100 g butter

1/2 kg minced beef

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Etli Lahana Sarmasi – Cabbage Rolls With Meat

A winter classic in Turkey and neighboring regions… Spices and herbs used in the meat stuffing varies from town to town, whereas soft and glossy texture of the cabbage remains the same. I made it my grandma’s way, cooked the rolls with the sourest quinces.

Ingredients:

1 medium size whole cabbage (try to pick the less veiny, thin layered and soft cored ones)

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Kavun Dolmasi – Stuffed Melon

These days, the hype in Istanbul is (not-so) fine dining restaurants that claim they serve Ottoman palace cuisine. Are all of those places bad? Of course not! Some are very genuine and not overpriced considering the food they serve. But for others, all I can say is “overrated”! Kavun dolmasi or stuffed melon is one of those dishes that existed since the 15th century, maybe even earlier. I guess it is Persian and Armenian influence what made Ottoman cooks combine meat and fruits, which when done right creates an excellent balance of flavor. The trick to this recipe is picking the right size and type of melon, small, round, aromatic variety that is, adding the right amount of spices and nuts and using good quality minced meat (preferably lamb meat ground with a chopping knife) with a good amount of fat content.

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Karniyarik – Stuffed Aubergines With Ground Meat

Eggplant’s last stand before winter arrives. Did you guys know that the eggplant is a close cousin of tomatoes? Did you know that the Ottomans prepared hundreds of dishes with this vegetable? Did you know that it contains nicotine? Maybe that’s why Turks like it this much. Keywords: nicotine, Turks, smoking…

Karniyarik literally means “slashed belly”. It’s not a very complicated recipe, especially if you consider how sophisticated the final outcome looks, and of course tastes. Here’s how to make this famous Turkish dish:

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Hasanpasa Kofte – Meatballs topped with potato purée

I know, I’ve been the laziest blogger lately, but I am back and full of hope that you my dear readers will forgive me. It’s already May and spring isn’t here yet, around 10 degrees Celsius in Istanbul, the humidity makes it feel even colder, there is even snow in some other parts of the country.

I’ve been sick for almost 4 times in a row, each episode lasted like 10-15 days with horrible sore throat and fever. Oh spring, please come, before antibiotics destroy my body and everything “bio” in it.

Yesterday, with all this in mind I decided that eating more fish would do me good and convinced my husband and sister to go to Garipce, a small village that lies along Bosphorus’ shoreline, near the north end where the strait meets the Black Sea, to have  pan-fried Black Sea turbot, my favorite, well, one amongst a dozen of my favorites.

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Etli Yaprak Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves With Meat

Here comes another star of a typical Turkish feast: Etli Yaprak Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves, this time  not in olive oil, but cooked in a rich tomato and butter sauce with a delicious meat and rice stuffing. When people click on our link through Foodista.com on Wednesday (remember we are going to be the featured blog of that day), I want them to land at this post. What do you think? It feels like I am hosting a dinner party and it’s important to greet the guests with our nicest offering.

Ingredients:

60-70 grape vine leaves (fresh leaves are better, those in brine are OK)

2 medium size yellow onions, finely chopped or grated,

1/2 kg of ground beef+lamb, (around 10-15% fat would be fine)

1 1/2 cups of rice,

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Kasarli Kofte – Beef/Lamb Patties with Kashar Cheese

Eid is almost here. In Istanbul, people are running around in a crazy pace to complete their preparations for the upcoming festive days. Shopping, cleaning, cooking, last minute travel arrangements.

Today, I woke up around 7 (very unusual for me on a Sunday morning) to pick up the cleaning lady. I helped her and together we made our flat squeaky clean. Usually, as soon as the cleaning is over I declare martial law at our place, no walking around with wet hands, no water drops on the bathroom mirror, no nothing nowhere! Poor hubs has to abide by my rules at those times, as acting any differently will result in nasty repercussions.

Anyways, I was as happy as a clam at high tide when we finished cleaning, until my husband almost puked on the carpet. I have to admit I was sorry that he was sick, sorrier that the happy-clean feeling was over. Apparently he had food poisoning, as anything could poison him, even chips, pickles and things like that. We had to rush to the hospital, spent the evening there. Thank God he is alright now, sleeping peacefully. I tease him by saying, “see your tummy is now so used to having high-quality meals served by me and it won’t accept anything lesser”.

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Hunkar Pilavi – Pilaf With Lamb, Pistachios and Black Currants

The other day, I decided to try a recipe from a book by Ozge Samanci and Sharon Croxford. If any of you guys remember, that is the book my husband bought for my birthday. It’s called XIX. Yuzyil Istanbul Mutfagi which translates into “19th Century Istanbul Cuisine”. I ended up playing around with the amounts and the ingredients, but still this recipe is inspired by the above-mentioned book.

Ingredients:

3.5 cups of water

300 g (around a cup) of boneless lamb meat, cut into walnut-size cubes

100 g of clarified butter (regular butter would be fine too)

A handful of pistachio nuts, shells removed

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