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Tag Archives | Gaziantep cuisine

Simit Kebabi; Ground Meat and Bulgur Kebabs, Gaziantep Style

Simit Kebabi; Ground (minced meat) and bulgur kebab, Gaziantep Style

Simit Kebabi; Ground (minced meat) and bulgur kebab, Gaziantep Style

This delicious ground (minced) meat and bulgur kebab called Simit Kebabi, hails from Gaziantep, considered as one of the gastronomic capitals of Turkey. Fine bulgur is referred as Simit in Gaziantep and that’s where the kebab’s name come from (Simit is also the name of the popular Turkish street food, the sesame coated bread rings). Bulgur is an important ingredient in southern Turkish cooking; it appears in pilafs, mezzes like Icli Kofte, soups and in kebabs. Fine bulgur brings a wonderful texture and taste to this kebab, fragrantly spiced with cumin, red pepper flakes and dried mint. If you can’t find fine bulgur, you can ground the coarse bulgur in food processor in a couple of pulses; take care not to ground too much and turn the bulgur into fine powder.

Vakkas Usta preparing the meat using Zirh blade at Istanbul’s Şeyhmus Kebab; photo credit: IstanbulEats

It is important to have some fat content in the meat mixture for this kebab; traditionally, tail fat is included in this kebab in Gaziantep. The ustas, masters in Gaziantep prepare the ground (minced) meat for the Simit Kebabi, chopping by hand, using a special curved-bladed knife called Zirh. This method gives the meat a lot of flavor and much better texture; so if you can get your meat hand chopped by the butcher that would be great. If not, use ground lamb or beef with some good fat content in it.

I served my Simit Kebabi with roasted vegetables and garlic yoghurt by the side. You can wrap the kebab and roasted vegetables with a dollop of garlicy yoghurt, in Turkish flat breads or pita pockets. Here is my Turkish flat breads recipe if you’d like to make flat breads at home.

Simit Kebabi; Ground (minced meat) and bulgur kebab with roasted vegetables, Gaziantep Style

Simit Kebabi; Ground (minced meat) and bulgur kebab with roasted vegetables, Gaziantep Style

This recipe is inspired and adapted from the wonderful Gaziantep Cookery, A Taste of Sun and Fire cookery book, edited by Aylin Oney Tan. I hope you enjoy this delicious southern Turkish style kebab.

My Turkish Cookery Class at the Divertiment Cookery School, London;

Tuesday 13th October, 7pm – 9.15pm

A quick reminder of my Turkish cookery class on Tuesday 13th October, 7pm – 9.15pm at Divertimenti Cookery School, London. I will be teaching how to recreate delicious, wholesome Turkish classics such a spinach and feta filo pie, Ispanakli Borek, Turkish classic stuffed aubergines, Karniyarik, Spicy bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir and homemade baklava (much lighter and delicious!), along with tips and stories from my homeland. You will be amazed to see how easy each course is, also wholesome and packed with flavor. Here  is the class details. Booking is through the Divertimenti Cookery School, hope you can join us!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simit Kebabi; Ground Meat and Bulgur Kebabs, Gaziantep Style
 
This delicious ground (minced) meat and bulgur kebab called Simit Kebabi, hails from Gaziantep, one of the gastronomic capitals of Turkey. Serve this fragrantly spiced kebab with roasted vegetables and garlic yoghurt, in flat breads. Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Southern Turkish, Gaziantep Style Kebab with Bulgur
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground (minced) lamb
  • 75 gr / 2.6 oz. / ⅓ cup fine bulgur (or coarse bulgur, grounded to fine bulgur in food processor)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 80 ml/ 2.7 fl. oz./ ⅓ cup hot water
  • 15 ml/ 3 tsp. red pepper flakes (or a bit less if you prefer less spicy)
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp. dried mint
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Bowl of water to shape the simit kebab on skewers
  • For the roasted vegetables:
  • 2 medium eggplants (aubergines) quartered and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell (or pointy) pepper and 1 green bell (or pointy) pepper, deseeded and cut in chunks
  • 60 ml/ 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • For the garlicy yoghurt sauce:
  • 13 oz. / 1 ½ cup plain whole milk yoghurt
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed with a pinch of salt and finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F
  2. Place the fine bulgur in a bowl and pour in the hot water. Combine well and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes for the bulgur to absorb all the water and soften.
  3. Place the soften bulgur in a large mixing bowl and stir in the garlic, ground (minced) meat, red pepper flakes, ground cumin and dried mint. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Have a bowl of water by your side. Wet your hands and knead the mixture well for 5 – 8 minutes, until all combined.
  4. Wet your hands and take a large lump of the meat mixture – just a bit less than ½ cup and form into a ball. Mold it around and along the skewer, until it is evenly thick. Squeeze and shape the meat gently so that the meat sticks to the skewer. Work meat around and down the skewer while rotating skewer with bottom hand until kebab is ¾" in diameter. Cover the skewered meat in cling film and refrigerate until firm, for about 30 minutes.
  5. Now prepare your vegetables. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in zebra stripes. Cut the eggplants lengthways, and then slice about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel. On a baking tray, spread the eggplant slices, chopped onions and the colorful peppers. Drizzle 4 tbsp. the olive oil over them and season with salt and black pepper. Coat all the pieces with olive oil and seasoning. Bake in the preheated oven for about for about 35 minutes, until they are chargrilled around the edges.
  6. To bake the Simit Kebabi, grease a baking tray and arrange the prepared kebab skewers side by side. Sprinkle 3 tbsp. water over them and place a (heat resistant) bowl of water at the bottom of the oven (this will keep the kebabs moist). Bake the kebabs for 35 – 40 minutes, turning them half way around.
  7. You can also grill the kebabs over a medium charcoal fire, turning frequently in the same direction. Or you can grill kebabs on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, until slightly charred and cooked through, for 12-15 minutes.
  8. To make garlicy yoghurt; crush a small garlic clove with salt and chop finely. Stir in to the yoghurt and combine well.
  9. Serve the Simit Kebab hot, along with the roasted vegetables, garlicy yoghurt and flat breads. You can wrap the kebab and roasted vegetables with a dollop of garlicy yoghurt, in Turkish flat breads or pita pockets too. Afiyet Olsun.

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Eggplant kebab with yoghurt marinated chicken; Patlicanli Kebap

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Merhaba all; we had a delightful Turkish cookery class at the weekend and this baked eggplant or aubergine kebab with chicken, onions and peppers was a big hit at the class.

This is a southern Turkish style kebab, prepared at homes. The aubergines (eggplants) are double baked in this recipe, Southern Turkish style, which intensify their flavor. In Southern part of Turkey, especially in the regions of Gaziantep and Antakya, locals would use up the left over grilled or barbecued eggplants to make this delicious, home style kebab the next day. A tradition in Antakya is to prepare the kebab at home and take the tray to the local bakery to be baked in the wood fired oven, providing amazing, melt-in-the mouth flavors. I hope you enjoy recreating this lovely, impressive dish in your home for family and friends.

Tip: Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi and spices is really well worth the effort; it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well.

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Baked eggplant or aubergine kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

I hope you enjoy it, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

4.5 from 2 reviews
Eggplant kebab with yoghurt marinated chicken; Patlicanli Kebap
 
This is a southern Turkish style kebab, prepared at homes. The aubergines (eggplants) are double baked in this recipe, Southern Turkish style, which intensify their flavor. Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, tomato paste and red pepper paste is well worth the effort, as it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well. I hope you enjoy this delightful, home style baked aubergine kebab with chicken and vegetables.
Author:
Recipe type: Southern Turkish style baked kebabs
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 medium aubergines (eggplants)
  • 700 gr / 1.5 lb. chicken thighs or chicken breast, skinned and cut in 4x4 cm (1.6” x 1.6”) chunks
  • 2 red Romano (pointy) or bell peppers, deseeded and sliced in chunks
  • 1 green (pointy or bell) pepper, deseeded and sliced in chunks
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the chicken marinade:
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. plain whole milk yoghurt
  • ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste (optional)
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp. olive oil to sauté the marinated chicken
  • For the sauce:
  • ½ tbsp. red pepper paste or 1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • 12 fl. oz. / 1 ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F
  2. Peel the aubergines (eggplants) in zebra stripes, using a vegetable peeler or a small knife. Cut the aubergines in lengthways then in 1cm (0.4”) thick slices. Place the slices on a tray and sprinkle salt over them (The salt will help extract the bitter juices out of the aubergines). Set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the marinade for the chicken. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Stir in the yoghurt, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, red pepper paste (if using) and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and ground black pepper to your taste and combine and mix the chicken pieces with the marinade. Cover the marinade and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes (you can prepare this marinade ahead of time, even overnight and leave in the fridge).
  4. Using kitchen paper towel, squeeze the excess moisture out of the aubergines. Place the aubergines on a tray and drizzle 3 tbsp. olive oil over them. Coat the pieces with the olive oil and partially bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan and stir in the marinated chicken pieces. Sauté over medium to high heat for 4 – 5 minutes, turn the heat off.
  6. Once the aubergine slices partially baked, prepare the chicken & aubergine bake with vegetables. In a large baking dish, place a chicken piece next to onion, pepper (alternating red and green pepper pieces) and aubergine slices. Keep on placing chicken and vegetables in this order side by side, until all the chicken and vegetables are layered. Spread any remaining aubergine slices at the top.
  7. To prepare the sauce, stir in the red pepper paste, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and the water to the pan used for sautéing the chicken. Combine all, also using any leftover chicken marinade sauce in the pan. Pour in this mixture over your tray with the chicken, aubergine and vegetables.
  8. Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until chicken and vegetables are cooked and turned light golden color.
  9. Serve hot with plain rice or bulgur pilaf aside.
Notes
Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi and spices is really well worth the effort; it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table at the Live Encounters Magazine

I have been delighted to be featured at the wonderful Live Encounters Magazine with my recipes and stories from my homeland, here’s the link to the full article, I hope you enjoy this wonderful magazine. Live Encounters is also running a little contest in my article, where 4 lucky winners may have a chance watch my online Turkish cookery course free. All answers are in the article! : ) Hope you enjoy reading this wonderful magazine.

"Turkey with Love" my article at Live Encounters magazine

“From Turkey with Love”, my article and Turkish recipes at the Live Encounters magazine

 

 

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Multicolors of Istanbul; Spice Market, Grand Bazaar, Street Food & Time Out at the Princes' Islands

Overlooking Eminonu. Golden Horn, Spice Market, Istanbul

Overlooking Eminonu. Golden Horn, Spice Market and Yeni Cami, Istanbul

Istanbul’dan Merhabalar – Greetings from Istanbul!– I am embracing the many, vibrant colors of Istanbul; the Golden Horn, Spice Market, Grand Bazaar and the always vibrant Eminonu. This is the hub of life for many locals along with visitors in Istanbul.

The Eminonu district is the heart of Old Istanbul housing the Spice Market, Grand Bazaar, lot of local small businesses. Yeni Cami – New Mosque is at the center of Eminonu, and the place is always vibrant, buzzing with locals as well as tourists doing their shopping, hopping on and off to the ferry, Vapur, to travel to the Asian side of the city, as well as to the Princes’ Islands. I can just sit and watch the world go by here anytime of the day..

Gaziantep's Keme Kebab with Keme truffles and meat

Gaziantep’s Keme Kebab with Keme truffles and meat

Have you ever had Gaziantep’s Keme Kebab? Keme is a type of a special truffle that’s grown in Gaziantep region between March to June; it is meaty and very delicious. Keme kebab features Gaziantep’s famous truffles with chunks of lamb. Look out for Keme if you are visiting at  this period, you can enjoy this delicious kebab in Istanbul too.  Gaziantep Cuisine is a culinary delight; here is some more information on the fabulous Gaziantep Cuisine and history.

Evie perfected the art of holding Turkish tea glass, cay

Evie perfected the art of holding Turkish tea glass, cay

After a good meal – or to be honest, any time! – a glass of cay – Turkish tea, is in order. Dear Evie from our Culinary tour, soon perfected the art of holding the Turkish tea glass : )

Pul biber - red pepper flakes-, cumin, dried mint, sumac and many more - Spice Market is a foodie's heaven

Pul biber – red pepper flakes-, cumin, dried mint, sumac and many more – Spice Market is a foodie’s heaven

 If you like spices, then you are in heaven in the Spice Market, Istanbul. In this ancient food market, you can find a great variety of spices used in Turkish cuisine. Spices feature an important role in Turkish cuisine, as we add  a lot of flavor to our dishes through the artful use of spices. I use the pul biber, the Turkish red pepper flakes with almost every savory dish ( and even sometimes in desserts like this Choc0late cake with a touch of red pepper flakes). Cumin is another commonly used fragrant spice, and it is cumin, what makes hummus, taste like hummus. How about the tangy sumac? This fragrant spice adds a delicious, zesty flavor to salads like to  this piyaz salad with onions, tomatoes and parsley with sumac.

Dried fruit like dried apricots, dried figs, dried peppers and nuts are also great buys at the Spice Market.

Dried fruit like dried apricots, dried figs, dried peppers and nuts are also great buys at the Spice Market.

Spice Market is also the right address to get delicious dried fruit like apricots, figs and many more. Shops even sell dried water melon, lemon and oranges, such wonderful colours and packed with flavor. Turkish dried apricots are one of the world’s best; they are very healthy and makes great snacks. This simple but delicious dessert, baked apricots with walnuts, is very easy to make and tastes wonderful. How about the dried peppers, okra, eggplant and corn? We dry vegetables when they are in season, then use them in stews, as well as stuffing them with aromatic rice in dolmas. They have a rich, delicious taste.

Grand Bazaar - Kapali Carsi, Istanbul
Grand Bazaar – Kapali Carsi, Istanbul
Ancient Grand Bazaar - the building itself and colours are mesmerising

Ancient Grand Bazaar – the building itself and colours are mesmerising

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 500 years old Grand Bazaar, Kapali Carsi in Istanbul is most probably the ancient shopping mall in the world. It is a popular place to shop for the locals as well as visitors, though you would expect high prices. I like to go to the Grand Bazaar just to admire this magnificent building, the colors, ornate columns, a living history. It is also a good place to get small souvenirs.

 

Time Out at the Princes’ Islands, Istanbul

On the ferry to the Princes' Islands - over looking the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

On the ferry to the Princes’ Islands – over looking the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

As much as I love the city of Istanbul, it is always refreshing to take a little time off and visit the charming, quiter Princes’ Islands. You can take the ferry from many ports in Istanbul (Kadikoy, Besiktas, Karakoy) and within an hour time, you are in the charming Princes’ Islands.

Locals in the ferry reading their papers

Locals in the ferry reading their papers

Many locals use the tradional ferry to travel between both sides of Istanbul and going to the islands. I love watching the locals doing their rituals; reading the paper, chatting with friends, doing the puzzle.

A glass of cay at the ferry, is a part of the ferry ritual

A glass of cay at the ferry, is a part of the ferry ritual

You can have a glass or cay, Turkish coffee or other drinks and snacks at the ferry. Sipping a glass of cay is a precious memory and a ritual for many, including me.

Anyone for simit? You can have it at the ferry too.

Anyone for simit? You can have it at the ferry too.

Reflections and taking it all in at the ferry

Reflections and taking it all in at the ferry

You can also sit outside, at the terrace or at the side benches at the ferry; the view is amazing and the reflection is inevitable.

Horse Carriages, Fayton, at the Heybeli Island

Horse Carriages, Fayton, at the Heybeli Island

What makes the islands so special is the serenity, relaxation it provides. No cars are allowed at the islands; you can ride on the horse carriages to explore around the islands, you can also rent a bicycle. It is lusciously green, and you appreciate the slower pace of life after the exciting but (can be) tiring Istanbul.

 

The grounds of the Halki Seminary is beautifully kept and offers wonderful views.
The grounds of the Halki Seminary is beautifully kept and offers wonderful views.

Heybeli Island is one my favorite islands and The Halki Seminary is located at top offers magnificent views. You can take the horse carriage to reach here.

Traveling in good company at Heybeli Island

Traveling in good company at the Heybeli Island

It has been a real pleasure to explore the islands during our culinary & cultural tour with our enthusiastic travelers like Evie, Mary and Natalie. Natalie and Mary are over 80 years old; we all admired their enthusiasm, thirst for Istanbul and zest for life.

 

Mussels stuffed with aromatic rice; delicious street food.
Mussels stuffed with aromatic rice, Midye Dolma; delicious street food.

 I like to eat sea food, especially the street food while in the islands. You can enjoy midye dolma – mussels stuffed with aromatic rice, the fried calamari or freshly fried mussles in most of the cafes. They are fresh, delicious and good value.

Mussels fried in a light batter; fresh and delicious

Mussels fried in a light batter; fresh and delicious

 

Fried calamari; crispy and delicious

Fried calamari; crispy and delicious

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A delicacy; kokorec - have you ever tried some?

A delicacy; kokorec – have you ever tried some?

Have you ever tried kokoreç ? It is a dish of the Balkans and Anatolia, consisting mainly of  lamb and goat intestines, as well as including  sweetbread, hearts, lungs or kidneys. Kokorec is usually roasted on a horizontal skewer over a charcoal, gas, or electrical burner and it is seasoned with red pepper flakes, salt and oregano. It is certainly an acquired taste but once done properly, it is delicious.  Kokorec is enjoyed widely in Turkey, you can have kokorec in the Princes’ Islands too.

Kokorec, flavored with oregano and red pepper flakes; delicious when it is properly made

Kokorec, flavored with oregano and red pepper flakes; delicious when it is properly made

On the ferry again; time to go back to Istanbul

On the ferry again; time to go back to Istanbul

After a wonderful relaxing day at the Princes’ Islands, we got on the ferry again and departed for Istanbul. Seagulls racing with the ferry, the wind behind and the afternoon sun on us, we recharged our batteries  for more adventures in Turkey.

The Maiden Tower, Kiz Kulesi by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

The Maiden Tower, Kiz Kulesi by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

Our ferry came nearby to the Maiden Tower, Kiz Kulesi, what a sight I thought, what a beautiful country.. One of those moments that you seal in your memory and have felt very grateful to be here, for this very moment.

Now full of new excitement again to hit the road; Ephesus, Didyma, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, all await to be explored, and shared. I hope you enjoyed what you have seen & read, and I hope you can make it to this wonderful land sometime.

Istanbul’dan Selamlar – Greetings from Istanbul,

Ozlem

 

 

 

 

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