A pre-taste of Turkey – a pre EWBC2012 post

The EWBC 2012 is just around the corner with a mere 11 months to go. I’ve never been to Turkey so I aim to do my home work and learn something a long the way – so take my hand we’re on our way to the Turks land…

The best way to learn is by doing it your self, ie I bought a cookbook on Turkish cuisine – Meze Maritime (2009) by Camilla Thulin & Uluc Telma – as far as I know it’s only available in Swedish. After a read through I choose a few recipes and went shopping. With Shakespeares word in mind I really should have invited a few guests

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

This is what we ended up doing, for appetizers we made a classical Turkish omelette Mememen and fried cauliflower with mint dip Karna Bahar kizartmasi. To this we drank some Turkish beer, Efes Pilsener. An ok beer but perhaps nothing that stands out but fun in this context as it is Turkish.

Recipe classical Turkish omelette, Mememen (for 2 persons).

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 finely chopped spring onion
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 finely chopped green chili fruit
  • salt & pepper

Heat the olive oil and fry the peppers, chili and onions, stir in the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and add the eggs while stirring, let the omelet come to a creamy consistency. If it feels a little wet, the tomatoes may release some liquid, insert it into the oven for a minute or two at 250 degrees – but keep an eye on it. Put on some salt & pepper and serve. Very taste, very nice – perfect for a little luxury breakfast, brunch or lunch.

For our second starter we fried cauliflower and made served it with a mint dip Karna Bahar kizartmasi (according to the recipe it is for 6 people – myself, I could eat it all myself).

  • 1 cauliflower head, separated into florets
  • 2 cups of sunflower oil

For the tempura

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mint Dip

  • 2 cups Turkish yoghurt
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint (I took about half a jar)

Start with mint dip; mix down the mint in the yoghurt, squeeze the garlic and stir around – let stand for 10-15 minutes so that the flavours settle in the dip – a tip is to make a bigger batch and save half for the minced lamb pizza.

Beat the eggs, add flour salt and pepper – whisk together until its smooth. Dip the cauliflower in batter and deep fry them in sunflower oil. Calculate that you will need to turn on the culiflower a few times and they take 3-4 minutes to fry on every side. Add them up on paper towels so they can drain and serve hot.

For our main courses, and we know we might just have exaggerate this just a tad in quantity, but it’s good so I don’t have any regrets 🙂

Tomato bulgur bulgur Domatezli pilavi (6 persons)
I sometimes find bulgur to be rather boring and tasteless, so is not the case if you spice it up. It is also a very pretty dish.

  • 2 ½ cups bulgur, rinse and drain
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1-2 tablespoons chilli flakes (or finely chopped red chilli)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.

Add the bulgur in a bowl, pour in the hot water in, put on a lid and let stand for about 30 minutes or until water is sucked up by bulgur. Fry the onions and garlic in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the chilli flakes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, mix the bulgur in and squeeze the lemon over the whole thing – stir. Decorate with lemon slices and parsley.

Minced lamb pizza Lahmacun

Pizza dough

  • 25 grams of fresh yeast
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 6-7 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Mix the yeast in the water and stir in the remaining ingredients. Work the dough until it becomes smooth. Leave it to rise in the bowl, put over a cloth, for about 45 minutes.

  • 400g minced lamb
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon dried mint
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 1 red chilli fruit
  • 2 pressed garlic cloves (I usually mash them with a knife, then finely chop them)
  • A pot of leaf parsley
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1-2 tsp sumac

There is nothing wrong with this recipe, it should be neither cheese or tomato sauce in it!

Mix everything except the parsley, lemon juice and sumac into a paste, let stand in refrigerator and for about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius, divide the dough into six pieces, roll them out, relatively thin – lube the plate. Brush a little olive oil on the pizza edges, then put the minced meat in a thin even layer over the pizza. Bake in the upper part of the oven, about 8 minutes, until edges are golden brown. When the pizza is ready, sprinkle a little sumac over pizza, squeeze a little lemon juice and sprinkled it with parsley – ready to serve. A tip is to have saved a little mint dip to have with the pizza to or a little tomato stew.

Lamb skewers Şiş köfte with tomato stew Domat güveç.

Now of course these should be made on a skewer – something I was sure I had at home, so was not the case why I did them without skewers which also went fine.

Şiş köfte (for 4 persons)

  • 500 grams of minced lamb
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 1 finely chopped green pepper
  • 2 pressed garlic cloves, I mashed them and chopped them
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • A pot with leaf parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper

You simply mix together all ingredients except the olive oil and set it all in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour. Then shape it to the elongated sausages, brush them with olive oil and fry about 4 minutes / side – I made them about 3 cm thick. Very nice – married with brilliant tomato stew but also with mint dip.

Domates güveç (4-6 servings)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 red chilli fruit
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • a small piece of ginger (about 4 cm), roughly chopped
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes, about 400 grams
  • salt & pepper

Pour olive oil in a frying pan, heat up, add the onion, garlic, pepper and ginger, fry until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and the liquid in the jar, stir gently so that the tomatoes will not break. Let simmer for about 45 minutes, add a little extra liquid if necessary. Mash the tomatoes, season with sugar, salt and pepper. Very nice, a bit hot and sweet – I imagine that this works great as an accompaniment to grilled meats in general, steaks, meatballs or sausages.

To this we had a Turkish wine; Egeo Syrah 2008 from the producer Kavaklidere in the region Aegean, in western Turkey.

The wine has a lot of sweetness and power. There is direct sweet acidity tone with lots of dark fruits and berries and a spicy finish – it tends to be a bit too big in the mouth and is what one could say one-dimensional, ie it does not happen that much. Furthermore, it is slightly unbalanced and sprawling. Overall, one could call this a masculine wine, a bit jammy, a little too spicy and at the same time silky and easy to drink – but, and this is a big but – to the Turkish food it is balanced up and actually works surprisingly well. You could say it like this, I was perhaps not in love with this particular wine, but I was not deterred from trying more wines from Turkey.

There will be more evenings with recipes from Turkey in the coming year, I am also looking for a really good Turkish restaurant in Stockholm to find inspiration for continuing culinary adventures – please advise in the comments:)

Magnus Reuterdahl



  1. I should probably take you to a nice local restaurant when you are here, in İzmir Sir, because menemen with beer…? =)

    I’ve read the text with a smile on my face. Thanks for that too!

    We’ll be happy to welcome you in İzmir

    • Hi,

      I agree with you that it wasn’t the perfect combination with Menemen with beer but it worked ok – the heat from the green pepper and chili worked fine with beer, the red wine would have been a lot worse combination 🙂

      Thank you very much for the welcome – I really look forward to my first visit to Turkey 🙂

  2. look forward to having you and friends in Turkey for the EWBC 2012.
    turkish food is really not designed for wine in general (as apposed to italian, french, spanish etc cousine). some kebabs and other limited dishes may be fine with wine but generally speaking, the cousine never considered “wine” as a part of meal; therefore recipes developed over the centuries ignored wine. raki is a different story.
    turkish wine is at its infancy. terrior seems to be excellent for good wines but it will take some time to reach “there”. while in izmir, i suggest trying out some boutique wines and consider visiting their wineries (i.e urla sarapcilik).
    have fun with TR food and wine (and raki)

    • Hi

      Thanks – I guessed that, though I do think wine works well with several of the recipies I’ve found so far – it’s more a matter of finding the right wine. Also I got to get hold of some Raki, I know it’s sold in some restaurants in Sweden so it’s matter of finding the importer – What do you notmally drink it to?

      It’s that Turkish wine is at its infancy that I find so interesting, it will be very exiting to come to Turkey – I know we will vist some wineries and try alot of Turkish wines 🙂 So far I really liked the freshness of the spices and the flavors of the food so I’ll continue to experiment – and then see how close I got to the real thing in november

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