If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul. – Alphonse de Lamartine
And we not just gazed, we ate! Welcome to Istanbul, the city where old meets new, where sweet meets sour, where Yashim, the eunuch in Jason Goodwins detective stories is cooking with the gourmands passionate frenzy. Just like we did. Scroll down for our veggie tapas styled Turkish evening: veggie bulgur salad, Turkish style eggs, cacık, hummus bi tahina, bazlama and baklava, the yummy dessert. We didn’t find Turkish bubbles, so we had Chapel Hill from Hungary. We gave it 14 bubbles out of 20. Scroll down to find out how many Friday mice this Turkish Friday mouse got! And find out where we’re heading next!
Veggie Bulgur Salad (Kisir)
- 1 cup fine bulgur
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped 1 cucumber, diced
- 2 green bell peppers, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 7 green onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil juice of
- 1 fresh lemon 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- Place the bulgur in a bowl; stir in the boiling water.
- Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Stir in the chopped onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Drain the bulgur and return it to the bowl.
- Add the cooked onion, chopped tomatoes, cucumber, green and red bell peppers, green onions, parsley, mint, and red pepper flakes.
- Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, and the pomegranate molasses. Toss gently until the salad is thoroughly combined. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving.
Turkish Style Eggs
- cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 quart water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic, yogurt and pinch of salt; mix well.
- In a large saucepan or stockpot, combine water, vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil over high heat.
- When the water is boiling hard, reduce the heat and gently break the eggs into the water, spacing them well apart.
- Cook until the whites have set over the yolks, immediately remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place on a serving dish.
- Melt butter in a small skillet or saucepan. Stir in paprika. Pour yogurt sauce over eggs and top with paprika butter.
Cacık – Yoghurt and Cucumber
INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6):
- 750 grams yoghurt (full fat natural, thick ‘Greek style’)
- 3 large cucumbers
- 1 cup of cold water
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Dill – several sprigs, finely chopped
- A few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon
- Some black pepper
- Mix the garlic, salt, yoghurt, and water in a bowl.
- Finely chop the cucumbers (some people prefer peeled, others prefer keeping the crunch of the skin), and add to the mixture, give it a good stir, taste for seasoning, and chill.
- Then pour into bowls, trickle a little olive oil on top of each and sprinkle with dill.
Hummus Bi Tahina (Turkish Hummus)
- 200 g chickpeas, precooked
- 1⁄3 cup tahini
- 3 whole lemons, juice of
- 100 ml olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- Combine all ingredients (except those for garinsh) in a blender or food processor.
- Blend into a smooth, creamy paste.
- Taste and add more lemon juice or salt to suit your taste. It should be the creamy consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Thin with additional lemon juice, chick pea liquid or water if necessary.
- Scrape into an attractive looking bowl.
- Drizzle oil over the surface in a decorative pattern and sprinkle with ground chili pepper and freshly chopped parsley.
- Serve with wedges of pita bread and raw vegetables.
Bazlama – Turkish Flat Bread
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- Dissolve the yeast, sugar, and salt in the warm water. Add the water and yogurt to the flour and mix well.
- The dough will be soft but not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow it to rise at room temperature for 3 hours.
- Cut the dough into four portions. Shape the dough into rounds and flatten each round as though you’re making pizza dough.
- Cover the rounds with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
- Place one dough round in the skillet and bake until brown spots appear on the bottom, about 1 minute. Flip the bread and bake for an additional minute.
- Remove the bread and wrap it in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
- Repeat with the remaining dough rounds.
- Store any leftover flatbreads in an airtight container.
- 1 (16 oz) pkg phyllo dough; thawed according to package instructions
- 2 sticks (1/2 lb) melted unsalted Butter
- 1 lb (about 4 cups or 3 3/4 cups chopped) walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon?)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup honey
- Melted chocolate chips & chopped walnuts for garnish, optional
- Thaw baklava by package instructions (this is best done overnight in the fridge, then place it on the counter for 1 hr before starting your recipe to bring it to room temp).
- Trim phyllo dough to fit your baking dish. My phyllo package had 2 rolls with a total of 40 sheets that measured 9×14 so I had to trim them slightly. You can trim one stack at a time then cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9 non-stick baking pan.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, ½ cup honey, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and ¾ cup water.
- Bring to a boil over med/high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then reduce heat to med/low and boil additional 4 min without stirring.
- Remove from heat and let syrup cool while preparing baklava.
- Preheat Oven to 160 C.
- Pulse walnuts 10 times in a food process or until coarsely ground/ finely chopped. In a medium bowl, stir together: 4 cups finely chopped walnuts and 1 tsp cinnamon.
- Place 10 phyllo sheets into baking pan one at a time, brushing each sheet with butter once it’s in the pan before adding the next (i.e. place phyllo sheet into pan, brush the top with butter, place next phyllo sheet in pan, butter the top, etc. etc.).
- Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel at all times. Spread about ⅕ of nut mixture (about ¾ cup) over phyllo dough.
- Add 5 buttered sheets of phyllo, then another layer of nuts. Repeat x 4.
- Finish off with 10 layers of buttered phyllo sheets. Brush the very top with butter.
- Cut pastry into 1½” wide strips, then cut diagonally to form diamond shapes. Bake at 160C for 1 hour and 15 min or until tops are golden brown. Our baklava turn a bit dark in the oven (still tasted yummy), so keep an eye on it!
- Remove from oven and immediately spoon cooled syrup evenly over the hot baklava (you’ll hear it sizzle). This will ensure that it stays crisp rather than soggy.
- Let baklava cool completely, uncovered and at room temp. For best results, let baklava sit 4-6 hours or overnight at room temperature for the syrup to penetrate and soften the layers.
- Garnish baklava with finely chopped nuts or drizzle with melted chocolate. Store at room temp, covered with a tea towel for 1 to 2 weeks.
Fasten your seatbelt and listen to the car engines roaring: next stop is fabulous Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Join us next week for some Friday mousing from western Africa. Meow you there!