Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13- Cacik - Yoghurt Sauce with Cucumbers (Turkish Tzatziki)

Prep. Time: 10 min


·       2 lbs whole milk yoghurt
·       1-2 small cucumber, peeled, grated
·       1 tbsp olive oil
·       1 garlic clove, crushed
·       2 tbsp dried or fresh mint
·       1 tbsp dried or fresh dill
·       ½ cup water
·       ½ tsp salt

Combine all the ingredients with ½ cup water and ½ tsp salt in a bowl. Makes about 4 cups. Cacik will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. 

December 13- Karniyarik - Eggplant Stuffed with Ground Beef

Please see here Karniyarik - Eggplant Stuffed with Ground Beef for the recipe. Bon appetitte!

December 13 - Pilav - Turkish Style Rice

Prep. Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 15-20 min
8 Servings


  • 2 cups rice,
  • 3 cups boiling water,
  • 1 tbsp vermicelli 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt

  1. Saute the vermicelli with vegetable oil while stirring until it gets golden brown.
  2. Add rice and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes.
  3. Add boiling water, butter, salt and rice.
  4. Cover, turn the heat to low and cook until the rice absorbs all water.
  5. Turn off the heat
  6. Take the cooking pot away from the heat. Open the lid, place a clean kitchen towel across the top of the pot on the rim and cover. Let the Pilaf stand for about 5 minutes. We call this brewing time. Then serve and enjoy!

* Don't stir Pilaf while it's cooking.
* Don't use a spoon to fluff Pilaf. Use a wooden or regular fork for it.

Decemper 13 - Imambayildi - All Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

Prep. Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 20 min
4 Servings


  • 2 large (and slim, if possible) eggplants/aubergines
  • 1 large onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • Salt and black ground pepper to taste
  • Olive oil (or canola oil) for light frying
  • Extra wedges of lemon to serve

  1. Peel the eggplants/ aubergines length ways in zebra stripes, then cut the eggplants / aubergines in half length ways
  2. Cut a split length ways without cutting through to the skin on the opposite side and leaving 1/2″-13 mm- uncut at either end. 
  3. Heat about 1cm/1/2in light olive oil or canola oil in a deep sided pan. Place the eggplants in the oil and shallow fry quickly on both sides until they are softened and have a light brown color, for about 3-5 minutes. Place paper towel on a tray and transfer these eggplants there; the paper towel will absorb the excess olive oil.
  4. Now let’s prepare the filling. Stir in the sliced onions and garlic in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, dried mint, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Knead this mixture with your hands for the dried mint and seasoning to blend well (this will also help the onions to soften). Stir in the tomatoes and parsley to the mixture and combine well.
  5. Lift the eggplants to a chopping board and open up the split in the middle to create pockets. Spoon the mixture into these eggplant pockets, packing it in tightly so that all of the filling is used up (if you have any left over filling, I would simply cook them in the same pan next to these eggplant pockets).
  6. Place the stuffed eggplants side by side in a wide, heavy pan. Mix the remaining olive oil with ½ cup water, lemon juice and sugar and pour it over the eggplants.
  7. Cover the pan with a lid and place over a medium heat to get the oil hot and create some steam. Once the cooking liquid is hot, cook the eggplants for about 45-50 minutes. Once cooked, they should be soft and tender, with a little of cooking liquid left in the bottom of the pan.
  8. Leave the eggplants to cool and rest in the pan for the flavors to settle, then carefully transfer them to a serving dish and spoon the oil from the pan over the eggplants. Serve at room temperature or cold, with a wedge of lemon aside and extra garnish of parsley over them.

December 13- Smoked Eggplant Salad

Prep. Time: 20 min
8-10 Servings


  • 3-4 American eggplants (grilled, skinned and chopped into small pieces)
  • 2 medium red peppers (grilled, skinned and chopped into small pieces)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 lemon (for the juice)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Salt

(You can play around with the amount of each to suit your taste – this is just a rough guide of what we use, but it really depends how much we have left in our fridge!)
Once the BBQ is lit and ready to grill on, put the eggplants and peppers directly into the hot coals. Turn them occasionally with a pair of tongs so that they cook evenly. They need to remain in there for around 15 minutes until they are soft and the skins are blackened. This is important, as this is what gives them the real smoky barbequed taste. Once they get to this point and look similar to mine below, take them out and set them aside until cool enough to handle.
While they are cooling down, you can prepare the other ingredients…
You can either cook the onions and tomatoes by putting them into the coals for 10-15 minutes until they become soft, or if you’d prefer, leave them raw and slice up into the salad as they are. It’s down to personal preference and it’s delicious both ways.
Peel the cloves of garlic and chop into small thin pieces.
Once the eggplant and peppers have cooled down a little (and the onion and tomatoes if you chose to cook them too..) you need to peel the skins off (or just the outside few layers of the onion). If they have been sat in the coals long enough, the skins should peel off really easily. It’s a messy job and be careful not to burn yourself as they will still be very hot inside. (Yes, I’ve learnt the hard way on more than one occasion- oops!)
Cut off the top/stalk end of the eggplants and peppers (some people like to remove the seeds too but we always leave them in) then chop up everything into smaller pieces – the eggplants, peppers, onions and tomatoes – and add them all into the same bowl.
Add the garlic into the bowl along with the olive oil and salt. All the Turkish people I know are obsessed with oil and salt so they add a lot of both, but you can adapt it to your own taste.
Finally, cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the salad – mix it all together and that’s it!