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Tag Archives | Aubergine

Ozlem’s Turkish Table on Radio – Aubergine, lentils in olive oil

Merhaba dear all,

Ozlem’s Turkish Table; Recipes from My Homeland – available for pre-order now

My sincere thanks first of all for your most kind interest and comments for my upcoming Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Publishing a book is a labor of love and your warm feedback has been so greatly appreciated.

I wanted to inform you that you can now pre-order my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland at this link, not only with Paypal (direct or debit/credit card via Paypal) but also directly with your Debit or Credit Card , as well as Paying Offline, with a Bank transfer, to the account specified at this link.  If paying Offline, please kindly include the Ref: GBPShop-your last name. I hope the Offline payment option would be useful especially to all who can’t use Paypal or credit cards, as in Turkey.  Also Please kindly enter the promo code Pre-Order Special when it says “Enter a promo code” on the left side of your shopping cart to get your 10% discount.

Pre-orders will have the first priority of distribution worldwide in early March, prior the release of the book in April 2018.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table – Brooklands Radio Interview:

Ozlem’s Turkish Table on Brooklands Radio!

I had the pleasure to go on air at the Brooklands Radio in Surrey with dear Jill Bennet – being a music lover and an amateur radio DJ in my younger years in Istanbul, it was very exciting to be in the studio again!- We had a lovely chat on wholesome, delicious Turkish cuisine and on my upcoming Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. My book is a special tribute to especially to my southern Turkish roots and my home town Antakya – Hatay, who recently became a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, a title that Hatay so rightly deserves. It was wonderful to chat about this magical land and its scrumptious cuisine.  Here’s the podcast of our interview, if you would like to listen to it.

What I have been cooking lately..

Aubergines, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, Mercimekli Mualla, from my upcoming cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland

Mercimekli Mualla, aubergines, lentils and peppers cooked in olive oil, which is also at my upcoming cookery book, has been a huge hit at my cookery book introduction and pre-order event last week. A delicious specialty from Antakya, this lovely dish ticks many boxes being vegan and gluten-free too. Dried mint and olive oil flavour the green lentils and aubergine/eggplant beautifully. Here’s my recipe link for Mercimekli Mualla, I hope you enjoy it.

My best wishes for the Holiday Season and Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Bended Eggplant Kebabs with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk

Bended eggplant kebab with meatballs; Patlicanli beli bukuk kebap; utterly delicious

Bended eggplant kebab with meatballs; Patlicanli beli bukuk kebap; utterly delicious

Our national favorite Patlican, or aubergine or eggplants are appearing in the markets more now; I love its deliciously sweet, meaty flesh in mezzes, salads, casseroles, even in boreks, savory pastries. This recipe, bended eggplant slices with meatballs or Patlicanli beli bukuk, or Boynu bukuk as we call it, is a childhood favorite. Marriage of the delicate eggplant flesh with meatballs, baked in a delicious tomato sauce with peppers is simply heavenly. All you need is some crusty bread or rice aside and you are all set with a scrumptious, complete meal.

Lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes in a heavy pan or bake in the oven.

Lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes in a heavy pan or bake in the oven.

You need slim and long purple eggplants for this recipe, as they are first quartered lengthways and then each quarter are cut into deep splits (keeping the skin intact). Once the slices are shallow fried (or baked in the oven, if you prefer), they will soften and bend. If you are in Turkey, you can get those really slim and long eggplants, patlican, which won’t need cutting lengthways; you can just cut deep splits side ways and prepare the recipe.

Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in.

Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in.

We then insert small meatballs, koftes to these slits, which will naturally bend the eggplants and hence comes the name; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk or Patlicanli Boynu Bukuk Kebab (Bended Eggplant Kebab). It may sound a little tricky to do, but it really is not; you will get the hang of it in a few tries. The meatballs cocooned around the eggplants cook deliciously in the juicy sauce with peppers and tomato sauce.

Baked bended eggplant slices with meatballs - Patlicanli beli bukuk

Baked bended eggplant slices with meatballs – Patlicanli beli bukuk

I hope you enjoy one of our favorite kebabs with patlican, eggplant. Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumbers and dried mint would be delicious aside, so as this wholesome bulgur pilaf with almonds. I use biber salcasi, Turkish red pepper paste  to flavor the sauce and it adds a delicious heat, if you like it too. If not, you can replace it with tomato paste.

Bended eggplant slices with meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk Kebab

Bended eggplant slices with meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk Kebab

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bended Eggplant Kebabs with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk
 
I hope you enjoy this childhood favorite; Bended Eggplant Slices with Meatballs; Patlicanli Beli Bukuk. It is a delicious, moist kebab that you can prepare ahead of time. Marriage of the delicate eggplant flesh with meatballs, baked in a delicious tomato sauce with peppers is heavenly; an impressive dish, great for entertaining.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish casseroles with eggplants and meatballs
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 long purple eggplants/aubergines
  • 2 bell or pointy peppers (green, red or yellow), deseeded, quartered and cut in chunky slices
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • Light olive oil or canola oil to shallow fry the eggplants
  • 4 – 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste, Biber salcasi or tomato paste
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp. water to dilute pepper paste or tomato paste
  • 400 gr/14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
  • 30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 16 fl oz. / 2 cups of water
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Kofte/Meatball ingredients:
  • 400 gr/14 oz. ground beef, lamb or mixture
  • 1 onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 slice of slate bread (white or brown), soaked in a bowl of water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Cut the stalk of the eggplants and slice in half lengthways. Then cut each slice again in lengthways, you will get 4 long quarters per eggplant.
  3. Then cut each eggplant quarter into 3 -4 deep splits (keeping the skin intact), depending on the length of the eggplant.
  4. Sprinkle salt over the flesh side of the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes. Salt will help the moisture and the bitter juices come out of the eggplants. Dry the eggplants with kitchen towel thoroughly afterwards.
  5. To prepare the meatballs, soak the stale bread slice in a small bowl of water then squeeze dry. In a large bowl, combine all the kofte, meatball ingredients except the meat and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogenously. Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 - 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste. Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well. Cover this mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes (or a little more, if you can).
  6. While the meatball mixture is resting, prepare the eggplant quarters. Pour in 2 tbsp. light olive oil or canola oil in a heavy pan and lightly brown the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes. You may need to top up with light olive oil if you’re shallow frying (Alternatively, you can bake the eggplant quarters in the preheated oven at 200 C, for 20 – 25 minutes. Make sure the tray and the eggplants are greased with olive oil before baking). Place the sautéed eggplant quarters on a large tray and set aside.
  7. Shape the meatball mixture into walnut sized meatballs. Gently bend the sautéed eggplant slices and insert the meatballs at the splits, gently push the meatballs in. You will insert 3-4 meatballs into each eggplant slice.
  8. Carry on until all the meatballs are inserted into the splits of the eggplants. If you have any meatballs left over, you can place them in the middle of the bended eggplants with meatballs or you can place them around the tray.
  9. Place the eggplants with meatballs in a baking tray.
  10. Spread the chopped onions, garlic and peppers around and stir in 2 tbsp. olive oil over these vegetables and gently mix with your hands.
  11. Pour in the chopped tomatoes around the tray.
  12. Dilute 1 tbsp. pepper paste, biber salcasi or tomato paste, with 4 tbsp. water in a small bowl. Pour in this mixture over the tray too.
  13. Stir in 16 fl oz. / 2 cups of water over the tray and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine well.
  14. Bake, uncovered for 40 – 45 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked and meatballs and vegetables start to brown. About 25 minutes into baking, check if more water needed in the tray. If so add another ½ cup of water, it is delicious to have some juice in this tray bake.
  15. Gently take out the squared eggplant slices with meatballs, using a large spatula. Serve hot with Cacik dip of cucumbers with yoghurt by the side. Plain rice or bulgur pilaf with almonds (recipe available in my blog) also goes well with this eggplant & meatball kebab.
 

 

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Ancient, Wholesome; Bulgur Pilaf with Freekeh, Eggplant and Meat

Firik or Freekeh is a super food and an ancient grain; I absolutely love its delicious, nutty taste, similar to pearl barley. Freekeh used to feature a lot at my grandmother’s table in Antakya, ancient Antioch, when I was a child. Cooked with bulgur and fresh butter, it always tasted so heavenly and the mesmerizing smells always greeted us. Freekeh is a real treat by itself and pairs with bulgur, vegetables, chickpeas and meat beautifully.

Ancient firik or freekeh; a delicious and healthy grain, pairs with bulgur and vegetables so well.

Ancient firik or freekeh; a delicious and healthy grain, pairs with bulgur and vegetables so well.

Firik, (as in Turkish) or Freekeh (sometimes spelled frikeh)  or farik is a cereal  food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production.  Firik is a popular and ancient grain used Middle Eastern & Southern Turkish cuisine and also popular in Levantine, Egyptian, Arabian Peninsula and North African cuisine. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds are still soft; it is then piled and sun-dried. The piles are then carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn and not the seeds. It is the high moisture content of the seeds that prevents them from burning. The now roasted wheat undergoes further thrashing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. It is this thrashing or rubbing process of the grains that gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed.” The seeds are now cracked into smaller pieces so they look like a green bulgur.

Antakya - Antioch's ancient Long Market - Uzun Carsi, with abundance of grains, spices and more

Antakya – Antioch’s ancient Long Market – Uzun Carsi, with abundance of grains, spices and more

This delicious, ancient grain freekeh is a similar food made from barley and it is also mentioned in the Bible. Freekeh is also considered as a superfood, as in the category of the healthy grains such as quinoa and farro. Freekeh has at least four times as much fiber  as some other comparable grains, consisting mostly of insoluble fiber. It also has a low glycemic index so is suitable for managing diabetes. You can get freekeh in Middle Eastern or specialty food stores abroad, though it is widely available in Turkey. Bulgur is now widely available in supermarkets, so great to see.

Freekeh with bulgur, eggplants and meat - Firikli Bulgur Pilavi; a delicious & healthy meal.

Freekeh with bulgur, eggplants and meat – Firikli Bulgur Pilavi; a delicious & healthy meal.

I cooked my firik, freekeh here with bulgur, onions, eggplants (aubergine) and chunks of meat. The delicious nutty texture of the grains worked so well with the vegetables. Addition of any meat of your choice is lovely though just with the grains and vegetables itself, this meal would be a delicious vegetarian feast. Chickpeas would go well in this dish too. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi, gives a wonderful, rich flavor to this dish; you can make your own red pepper paste too, here is my recipe  if you like to make your own. You can also add some heat and flavor with the Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber.

Serves 6

Preparation time: 25 minutes                  Cooking time: 30 -35 minutes

350gr/12oz/2 cups coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained

225gr/8oz/ generous 1 cup firik or freekeh, rinsed and drained

1 large eggplant (aubergine), diced

2 medium onions, finely diced

450gr/ 1 lb. small chunks of beef, chicken or lamb (optional)

15 ml/ 1 tbsp. Turkish red pepper paste (biber salcasi)

15 ml/1 tbsp. tomato puree

60ml/2 fl. oz./ ¼ cup olive oil

2 pints/ 5 cups hot water

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

 

Red pepper flakes, pul biber to serve

Cacik dip of diced cucumbers, plain yoghurt and dried mint  to serve

Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for 15 minutes (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant).

Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant).

First prepare the eggplants (aubergines). Peel the eggplants lengthways in stripes using a vegetable peeler or a small sharp knife. Cut the eggplant in quarters and then slice into bite size pieces. Layer the eggplant pieces on a tray and sprinkle salt over them, leave them aside for 15 minutes (salt will help the moisture and bitter juices come out of the eggplant). After 15 minutes, dry the eggplants with kitchen or paper towel thoroughly.

Heat the 2 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy pan and sauté the onions until soft and they begin to color. Add the pieces of meat, stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Toss in the diced eggplants and the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil. Stir and sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until they start to color and soften. Then stir in the red pepper paste and tomato paste and combine well with the vegetables and the meat. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, eggplants and meat; firikli bulgur pilavi

Bulgur pilaf with freekeh, eggplants and meat; firikli bulgur pilavi

 Now add the bulgur and freekeh to the pan and mix well. Pour in the hot water, stir and bring it to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer on low to medium heat for about 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and place the lid on firmly. Rest the pilaf for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint; delicious and refreshing

Cacik dip with yoghurt, cucumber and dried mint; delicious and refreshing

Serve the bulgur and frekeeh pilaf hot with Turkish red pepper flakes, pul biber sprinkled over, if you like. Refreshing Cacik Dip of diced cucumbers and dried mint with yoghurt complements this bulgur & freekeh pilaf very well.

Ancient St Peter's Church, Antakya, Antioch where early Christians congregated.

Ancient St Peter’s Church, Antakya, Antioch where early Christians congregated.

I hope you enjoy this delicious, ancient food, packed with goodness; Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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