Binnur's Turkish Cookbook - Delicious, healthy and easy-to-make Ottoman & Turkish recipes

Friday, February 29, 2008

Cabbage Rolls with Beef

(Etli Lahana Sarmasi)

Cabbage Rolls with Beef
1 small white Cabbage*

Beef Filling:
250 gr medium or regular ground beef
3/4 cup rice, washed and drained
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped or grated
1 1/2 tbsp red pepper paste

3 tbsp crushed tomatoes, in a can
3 tbsp butter, diced

1/2 lemon juice
1 tsp crushed pepper

Fill a large pot halfway with water and boil. Cut off the leaves and boil for about 4-5 minutes and drain.

Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl with a tablespoon. Cut off the hard part at the centre of the leaves (core) (picture). Cut the leaves in medium sizes to fill them. Use a teaspoon to put filling on each leaf (picture). First fold over the top, then the two sides (picture) and roll to close it up (picture).

Line up all the rolls in a medium sized pot, without big holes in between. Cut the butter in small pieces and place on top. Put a small plate upside down over the rolls - this is to prevent the rolls from unfolding while being cooked. Then pour enough hot water mixed with crushed tomato into the pot from the side. Cook over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes with the lid covered. If necessary, add a little more hot water.

After the Rolls are cooked, lift the plate with a fork. Sprinkle crushed pepper and squeeze lemon juice all over. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve it with lemon wedges.

3-4 servings.

* Use the left cabbage to make Turkish Cabbage Salad

Meal Ideas:
- Tomato Soup with Cream, Cigarette Borek and Mosaic Cake.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bulgur Pilaf with Black-eyed Peas

(Lolazli Pilav / Borulceli Bulgur Pilavi)

Bulgur Pilaf with Black-eyed Peas
1/2 cup black-eyed peas, soak in the water overnight
1/2 cup Turkish bulgur, large grain, rinsed
1 cup hot water
2 tbsp crushed tomatoes, in can
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp red pepper paste, mild
1/2 tsp red pepper, powdered
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
1 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced

Drain the black-eyed peas the following day. Cover with enough water to cook in a pot until softened. There will be about 1/4 of cup water left, don't discard it. Add 1 cup of hot water, bulgur, olive oil, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper paste, red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper over the black eyed peas into the pot. Cover the lid and cook until all the water evaporates over low heat.

In the meantime, saute the onion with 2 tbsp of butter in a small pan. Pour over the cooked bulgur pilaf and stir. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Serve with yogurt on the side. You can also serve this pilaf with Ayran or Cacik.

2-3 servings.

Meal Ideas:
- Stuffed Mushrooms, Spinach Root Salad and Saffron Pudding.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chocolate Pear Pie

(Armutlu Cikolatali Tart)

Chocolate Pear Pie
4 tbsp less than 2 cups all purpose flour
125 gr unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 pinch salt

150 gr (5 squares) bittersweet chocolate
3 pears, peeled, thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp sugar, adjust the amount of sugar however you like

On top:
2 eggs
200 ml 35% cream
75 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

23 cm (9 inch) pie plate, oiled

Combine all the crust ingredients in a large bowl. Spread the dough in an oiled pie plate with your palm equally. Also spread the dough on top of the edges. Pierce the dough all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes in preheated 375 F (180 C) oven.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Spread evenly on cooled crust. Mix the pear slices with sugar and place over the chocolate (picture). Blend all the sauce ingredients well and pour all over the pears. Preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C). Bake for 45 minutes or until the tops take a golden colour. Serve while still warm.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Turkish-style Fried Calamari

(Kalamar Tava)

Turkish-style Fried Calamari
1 package (340 gr) Calamari rings, frozen, thawed

1/2 cup beer
5 tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup sunflower oil

Put the thawed calamari rings on a paper towel to soak up extra water, dry them well. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk batter ingredients in a bowl. Soak the rings into the batter.

Heat up the oil. Pour a drop of batter into the oil to get the right heat. Place the rings into the oil one by one. Fry them for a total of 1 minute*. Stir a few times with a perforated spoon. Put the rings on a plate with a paper towel to soak up extra oil. Serve Turkish-style Fried Calamari with Turkish Tarator Sauce while still hot.

* Overcooking makes it chewy & rubbery
** Freezing calamari softens very firm muscle fibers. After freezing, calamari becomes more tender and flavorful.
*** Calamari can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Once thawed, it should be used within three days.

Turkish-style Tarator Sauce for Seafood
(Tarator Sos)

1/4 cup walnut or pine nuts, grounded
1/2 cup day old Turkish bread, grounded
2 garlic clove, smashed with salt
1 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Serve Tarator Sauce with Turkish-style Fried Calamari, Turkish-style Fried Mussels..

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Spicy Biscuits

(Acili Biskuvi)

Spicy Biscuits
2 cups flour
10 tbsp (1 stick (125 gr) + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 tbsp kasar or mozzarella cheese, grated
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt

2 egg yolks
Kasar or Mozzarella cheese, grated
Nigella seeds (black sesame seeds)
Cayenne pepper

Place the flour in a large bowl and make a hole at the middle. Add the rest of the ingredients, knead. Don't knead too much! When the dough comes together, roll it 1.0 cm thick using a roller. Cut the dough with 3.5 cm wide cookie cutters (picture). Make about 35 biscuits.

Put parchment paper on the oven tray. Place the biscuits on it. First eggwash the tops, then sprinkle some Nigella seeds, grated cheese or cayenne pepper all over (picture).

Preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C). Place the oven tray on the middle rack. Bake for about between 20-25 minutes. You can serve Turkish Spicy Biscuits with afternoon tea or with soup.

35 biscuits.