Sunday, January 29, 2012


Yes.. Vegetarian raw meat is an oxymoron.  This dish is normally made with raw meat and bulgur.  Usually a very strong person kneads it like dough with spices for a very long time to get it right.  This recipe is done in a food processor with a day old bread and walnuts.  It is amazing how noone can tell that it isn't the real thing.  If you don't like spicy foods, you'll likely not going to like this recipe but if you enjoy currie and spices, this is a must try.

1/2 cup fine bulgur
1 piece of a day old bread (with crust)
1 small onion
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1 full teaspoon tomato paste
1 full teaspoon hot red pepper paste
1 full teaspoon spice mix (below)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Spice mix (You can make this mix and save for other recipes) :
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon blackpepper
2 tablespoon hot red pepper
2 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon curry
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon mint
1 teaspoon thyme
  • Put the bulgur in a colander and pour boiled water through the bulgur.  Set aside to dry.
  • In a food processor chop onion and add all ingredients except bulgur, olive oil and parsley and mix through until you have a sticky mixture.  Add in bulgur and mix through.  Finally add in olive oil and mix that through in the food processor
  • Remove from the food processor and add in parsley and knead like a big dough making sure parsley is all through.
  • Make small bites and serve in a bed of lettuce with pickles on the side

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I called it Turkish Dumplings but it could also be called Turkish Tortolini.  Is this dish time consuming to make? Yes.  Is this dish bad for a meal if you are dieting? Yes.  Is this dish deeelicious? Absolutely!!  Not only is this dish a favorite of my girls, it is also a favorite of all their friends from school.  Even when their first reaction was eeewww!

2 Eggs
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
6.5 cup flour

300 gr lean ground beef
2 onions
1/2 bunch parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Garlic yogurt (see the recipe in the sauce section)
Sumac, mint, red pepper flakes

For those who don't like yogurt, regular spaghetti sauce also works well.
  • Mix the eggs with salt.  Add in water.  Slowly add the flour.  First 4 cups is pretty easy as it is still soft but it starts thickening after that.  Add 1 cup of flour at a time and continue to knead.  You need a fairly solid dough. Cover. Set aside to rest about 30 minutes. 
  • Prepare the filling by mixing all of the ingredients (ground beef, graded onion, parsley, salt and black pepper)
  • When ready to make the manti, cut dough into 8 equal parts. 
  • Take 1 part dough and roll out on a floured surface.  It doesn't have to be rolled out too thin and cut small square pieces (see picture below)
  • Put a small piece of filling on each square and fold.  To fold, first make a triangle and then make the ends meet (see picture below). Shape is really not that important.  You just need to make sure that it does not come apart during cooking.  Put each one on a lined pan apart from each other to make sure they don't stick.
  • To cook boil salted water (just like cooking spaghetti). Drop Manti in making sure they don't stick to one another.  I usually drop them in one at a time but you need to do this fairly quickly.  They will first sink to the bottom, then as they cook, they will float.  Cook for 10 minutes.
  • If you want to make soup later, you should save some of the water.  Otherwise, you can drain
  • Serve with garlic yogurt and the sauce on top.  Sprinkle with sumac and dried mint
Hint #1: Because this is hard to make, I make a big batch and freeze.  To do this you make the Manti, and put on a smaller pan.  Put in the freezer until they are frozen.  Once frozen, you can move them to a container.  They will not stick to one another.  You can just take them out and cook when you need them.

Hint #2: You can also make manti soup.  Just add the water you saved.  You can even add in a couple of spoonfuls of cooked chick peas.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Falafel is from somewhere in the middle east.  Many countries claim it for their own.  Who ever invented it, we appreciate and enjoy it.  It is extremely easy to make and ready in 15 minutes.   The key is getting the consistency right to make sure it does not fall apart during frying.  It has to be a thick "dough".   I use a food processor all ingredients except the flour.  I add flour by hand and knead like a dough and continue to add flour until it is thick enough to roll into patties.

1 can chickpeas (540 gr.), drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
6-8 tablespoons flour

For frying: Cooking oil

In pita bread with humus, chopped lettuce, tomato and pickles.  You can also make a sauce with yogurt, garlic and chopped cucumbers.
  • Drain the chickpeas and rinse with cold water. 
  • Put all (except flour) into a food processor and mix together
  • Take out of the processor into a big mixing bowl. 
  • Start with 4 tablespoons flour and kneed like a dough.  Continue to add flour 1 tablespoon at a time to get a solid "dough"
  • Make "patties" or "balls"
  • Fry in a little bit of oil until both sides are light brown (Approx. 5 minutes)
  • Serve with pita bread, humus, lettuce, tomato and pickles along with a sauce made of yogurt, garlic and cucumbers.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Chestnuts are often used in rice and other dishes in Turkey but roasted chestnuts are likely everyone's favorite.  They are often roasted on an open fire.  Sold in the streets in a code shaped newspaper.  Chestnuts always remind me my childhood vacations with my grandmother in Izmir.  Livingroom of her house had a huge window with the view of the ocean.  She also had an indoor mangal (barbeque) in her house.  She not only roasted chestnuts on it but also made her Turkish coffee on her little barbeque.  She was very fond of her coffee.  It had to be freshly ground (in a hand grinder) just before the coffee is made.  People tell me I look just like her.  I guess I am like her in more ways then just looks :-)

All you need for this is chestnuts (as much as you like) and water
  • Soak the chestnuts in water for 30 minutes to soften them
  • Make a small cut in each one (make sure the cut is pretty deep)
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Cook for 45 minutes
  • Cool, peel and enjoy!