Turkish Cuisine Recipes

Recipes From Turkish Cuisine

Winter Squash Dessert (Bal Kabagi Tatlisi)
  • 1 ½ kg squash (hubbard or other large type)
  • 400 gr sugar (1 ¾ c)
  • 2/3 c water
  • 1 c chopped walnuts

Cut peeled, seeded squash into squares and arrange closely in a pot. Pour the sugar and water over. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the squash releases its water and reabsorbs it and has softened. Allow to cool, then serve garnished with walnuts. If you would like firmer pieces of squash, allow to sit overnight with the sugar. The sugar will draw the liquid out of the squash. Then bring to a boil, adding water only if necessary, and simmer till done.

In some areas, in addition to walnuts, this dessert is garnished with tahini and pekmez (grape molasses).

turkish cuisine recipe
“Oven-Baked Kebab in Paper” * – Fırında Kağıt Kebabı
  • ½ kg small-cubed lamb (preferably leg or shoulder meat)
  • 200 gr peas
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 “sivri” peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, cut into rings
  • 8 pieces of parchment or 4 small oven bags
  • Chopped parsley and/or dill
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt, black pepper, thyme

Mix all the ingredients and allow to rest for ½ hour. Distribute the mixture among 4 oven bags or four doubled piece of parchment paper, add 1 T water. Close bags (if using parchment, bring two ends together and fold over, rolling and folding, until you have come to the meat, then fold the ends into the center to make a square packet) and invert onto a baking dish.

Bake in a medium oven until meat is tender.

Stuffed Vegetables with Olive Oil (Zeytinyağlı Dolma)
  • 1 kg stuffing peppers, vine leaves, etc. as desired
  • 3-4 onions, finely chopped
  • 300 gr rice
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 2-3 T pine nuts
  • 2-3 T dried currants
  • Salt, 1 cube sugar
  • 3 T dry mint
  • Optional: chopped fresh dill, allspice.
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Wash rice and soak in warm water for 20 minutes. Saute pine nuts and onion in the oil. Add the rice to the pot and sauté. Add the currents, and water just to cover the rice, turn the heat low and cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, add chopped parsley and dried mint, let stand 10 minutes. Then stir lightly to mix, and fill the vegetables or vine leaves with the mixture.

Pack the dolma/sarma in a pot, and drizzle ¼ c olive over them, lemon juice, and water just to cover, and invert a plate on them to hold them in place. Bring to boil then reduce heat and let simmer for around 25 minutes. Serve cold with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

“The Imam Fainted” * – Imam Bayildi
  • 6 long type eggplants
  • 3-4 onions, cut in half and sliced
  • 2-3 tomatoes, peeled and cut small
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t sugar
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Cut strips of skin off eggplants, leaving them striped, and fry in hot oil. Cut onions in half lengthwise, then into slices, and fry in 2-3 T olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and cook another minute or two. Scoop out the centers of the eggplants and fill with the above mixture, the place in a broad pan in which they will fit without too much extra room. Mix 1 cup of hot water with sugar, salt and lemon, and pour over eggplants, cover and cook on medium heat till eggplants are tender. Allow to cool, garnish with minced parsley. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

*Translator’s note: Stories abound about the origin of this dish’s name. One has it that an Imam’s wife made this dish and it was so delicious that he fainted from his ecstasy. In another version, it is the expense of the ingredients that cause him to lose consciousness. As there is little cheaper in Turkey than eggplants and tomatoes in season, this is rather unlikely! At the risk of ruining a good story, here’s another explanation: In Turkish, to “faint for something” (bir şeye bayılmak) means “to love it.” So the bet translation is probably “The imam loved it,” similar to “Hünkar Beğendi” above.

“The Sultan Liked It” * – Meat Stew with Eggplant Pure (Hunkar Begendi)
  • ½ lamb cut into small pieces
  • 6 eggplants (long type)
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 c milk
  • 3 c water
  • 5 T butter
  • 1 c grated kashar cheese
  • 2 T flour
  • 5-10 sprigs parsley
  • Salt, pepper

In 1 T of oil, sauté onions and brown the meat. Add the tomatoes and cook further. Add salt and pepper, and 3 c water, reduce heat, cover and simmer. Meanwhile, cook eggplants on grill or over a gas flame. Remember to pierce the eggplants once before cooking in this manner or they will explode. When they are completely soft, remove their peels and beat them with a mixer and puree. Heat the remaining oil in a pan, add the flour and toast lightly. Add the eggplant puree and milk.

Add salt, and cook, stirring until the mixture thickens well. Just before removing from the flame, add the cheese and stir until it is melted and mixed well. Place some of the eggplant mixture on a plat, and make a shallow well in the center, put the hot meat mixture in the middle, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

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