Binnur's Turkish Cookbook - Delicious, healthy and easy-to-make Ottoman & Turkish recipes

Monday, May 29, 2006

Zucchini in Olive Oil

(Zeytinyagli Kabak)

Zucchini in Olive Oil
2 medium-sized zucchinis
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 small yellow potato, cut in bite sizes
1 small carrot, cut in bite sizes
1/3 cup water
50 ml extra virgin olive oil, half for cooking(half for cooking, half for after cooking)
2 tbsp juice of lemon
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

Saute the onion with olive oil and salt for a few minutes. Add the garlic, potato and carrot, and cook for about 5 minutes at medium heat.

Cut off both ends of the zucchinis. Peel and cut in four pieces lengthwise. Then cut horizontally in pieces 2 inches tall. Throw them in the pot, add sugar, lemon juice and water. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

Let it cool down in the pot. Then, place on a serving platter. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

Garnish with dill. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

* This is a vegetarian dish.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Eggplant Dish with Chickpeas

(Nohutlu Ic Patlican Yemegi - Adana)

Eggplant Dish with Chickpeas
Insides of the eggplants from Stuffed Eggplants with Beef (4 small eggplants)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tbsp chickpeas, canned
2 tbsp red pepper paste
1 tbsp crushed tomatoes, canned
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
50 ml hot water

Garlic Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup plain Turkish yogurt
1 clove garlic, mashed with salt

Saute the onion with olive oil until softened in a small cooking pot. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook at low heat until the eggplants are done.

Serve it with the garlic yogurt sauce at room temperature. This is a surprisingly delicious dish:)

1 or 2 servings.
* This is a vegetarian dish.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Stuffed Eggplants with Beef

(Nohutlu Etli Patlican Dolmasi - Adana)

Stuffed Eggplants with Beef
4 small eggplants

100 g regular ground beef
2 tbsp chickpeas, canned
2 tbsp rice, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 fresh onion, chopped
1 pinch powdered Cheyenne Pepper
1 tsp salt
Pepper for taste

1 small tomato
1 cup beef stock
1 tbsp butter

1/2 lemon juice
1 tsp dried mint
1 garlic clove, mashed with salt

Mix all the filling ingredients in a small bowl with a tablespoon.

Cut off the tops of the eggplants. Discard the insides of the eggplants using a small spoon. (Don't throw them out though, put them aside to cook Eggplant Dish with Chickpeas). Stuff the eggplants with the filling you prepared. Don't over fill them, leave some space at the top. Cut 4 small tomato pieces and put one over each eggplant. Place the eggplants in a cooking pot. Cut butter in small pieces and put over the eggplants. Pour beef stock in the pot from the edges. Sprinkle the rest of the tomatoes all over.

Cover and cook over low heat until the eggplants are done which takes about 40 minutes. Turn heat the off, mix all the sauce ingredients then blend it with the juice in the pot.

Place the Stuffed Eggplants on a serving dish, pour the juice all over and serve immediately. Try serving this dish with Yogurt with garlic.

Eggplant Chirtma

Eggplant Chirtma
Insides of the eggplants from Stuffed Eggplants with Beef (4 small eggplants)
1 -2 green onion, chopped
1 tsp pomegranate paste
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
50 ml hot water

Garlic Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup plain Turkish yogurt
1 clove garlic, smashed with salt

Place all the ingredients in a small cooking pot. Cover and cook on low heat until the eggplants are done.

Serve it with the garlic yogurt sauce at room temperature. Sprinkle some mint and drizzle a little bit olive oil over the top:)

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Haydari with Carrots

(Havuclu Haydari)

Haydari with Carrots
3-4 large carrots, peeled, grated
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
1/2 tsp mint
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Creamy (Strained) Yogurt

Walnuts halves
Crushed red pepper (red pepper flakes)

Saute the garlic with olive oil, until the smell comes out. Immediately add grated carrots. Saute for 3-4 minutes at medium heat, stirring from time to time. Season with mint, some salt, pepper, stir. Then let it cool down. Mix it with creamy yogurt. Place in a service plate. Garnish with walnut halves and crushed red pepper. You can serve it with the toasted French baton bread or toasted pide slices.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006


How to make Yogurt at home?

4 cups (1 Lt) 3.25% homogenized milk
2 tablespoonfuls plain Turkish yogurt

I use homogenized milk to make my own yogurt. But if you think it is too fatty for you, you can use any kind. Making yogurt is very easy!

Boil the milk first. Pour the warm milk into a clean bowl with a lid, then put aside until lukewarm. The best and traditional way to measure the temperature of milk is to dip your pinkie in it. It should be warm but shouldn't burn.

Spread a thick towel out over your kitchen counter. Put the warm milk into a clean bowl with a lid and place it on the towel (picture). Put 2 tablespoonfuls of yogurt and mix well to ferment the new yogurt (picture). Make sure they're mixed very well. Place a clean kitchen towel across the top of the pot on the rim and put the lid on it. Then cover the bowl with the towel (picture). If it is winter, the yogurt will be done within app. 6 hours, otherwise during the summer it'll take 4 to 5 hours. I generally ferment my yogurt after dinner or before going to bed. The following morning my yogurt is ready to be placed in the fridge. When you place the yogurt into the fridge do not shake it! Keep it in the fridge for a day.

You will find many Turkish recipes with yogurt as the main ingredient or as a side dish to make soups, desserts, and our favorite drink Ayran. If you like, you can add honey or your favorite jam to give it some flavor. Or just toss some fresh fruit on it, it is perfectly healthy and delicious. When I was a kid my favorite was with honey or icing sugar. I also love yogurt with some chunks of bread (Turkish, French or Italian style), it's great for lunch :)

A little bit information about Home-Made Yogurt:
Home made yogurt is runny than commercial ones. Yogurt has 85% moisture content! And home made yogurt doesn't contain any thickening agents:).

I have few tips to avoid it; When you place the yogurt into the fridge do not shake it! Keep it in the fridge for a day. Then scoop out:) When I make yogurt, I always place cheesecloth (folded a few times) on it to absorb the water. Squeeze out the water 1 or 2 times:)

Yogurt should has kaymak on the surface. So when you mix the yogurt with milk try not to touch (or not to break) to the surface of the milk which already has thin kaymak. When you add the yogurt, you need to mix it by inserting the spoon to the bottom mix it under the kaymak without touching it.

The History of Yoğurt
The word “yoğurt” is Turkish in origin. The word comes from the Turkish word "yoğurt", deriving from the verb "yoğurtmak", which means "to blend" - a reference to how yogurt is made.

Central Asian Turks were the first to make Yoğurt. Most historical accounts attribute yoğurt to the Neolithic peoples of Central Asia around 6000 B.C. Herdsmen began the practice of milking their animals, and the natural enzymes in the carrying containers (animal stomachs) curdled the milk, essentially making yoğurt. Not only did the milk then keep longer, it is thought that people preferred the taste so continued the practice, which then evolved over centuries into commercial yoğurt making.

Recorded history states that Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, and his armies lived on yoğurt.

It wasn’t long before word of the perceived health benefits of yoğurt traveled through to other peoples and the consumption spread throughout the East. As it was first spreading into Europe, this dairy product was used for therapeutic purposes.

Turkish immigrants brought yoğurt to North America in the 1700s but it really didn’t catch on until the 1940s when Daniel Carasso, the son of Danone founder Isaac, and Juan Metzger took over a small yogurt factory in the Bronx, New York – the company is now called Dannon in the United States.

The popularity of yoğurt soared in the 50s and 60s with the boom of the health food culture and is now available in many varieties to suit every taste and lifestyle.

It is consumed plain or as a side dish or to make soups, desserts, sauce, to marinate meat and it is a big part of Turkish Cuisine. You can't find a Turkish house without yoğurt:)

It is recommendable to eat yoğurt every day, at least one cup :) Yoğurt has beneficial bacteria, calcium and protein. We believe yogurt cleanses the body from toxins and poisons.

Yoğurt made with active bacterial cultures produces lactase; the enzyme that allows us to digest lactose. Consequently, yoğurt would be tolerated by many people who are lactose intolerant.

How to Make Creamy (Strained) Yogurt:

Strained Yogurt
Place a strainer with a paper towel on top over a bowl. Place some yogurt on it and fold the edges of the paper towel over the yogurt. Leave in the fridge overnight. You'll have creamy yogurt waiting in the morning.

Do not discard the water content of yogurt when you strain it, instead use it when making pide and bread at home. Or, you can drink it which is quite good for health:)

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Split Eggplants with Ground Beef Filling


Split  Eggplants with Ground Beef Filling
4 small-size eggplants
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup hot water with 1 tbsp crushed tomato

150 g medium ground beef
1 small onion, sliced
1 medium tomatotomato; put aside 4 thin slices, dice the rest
1 small cubanelle pepper; put aside 4 thin slices, chop the rest
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp crushed tomatoes, canned
3/4 cup hot water

Peel alternating strips of skin lengthwise as seen in the picture for each eggplant. Sprinkle salt on top and put aside for about 20 minutes. Squeeze and dry them with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and fry every side until nicely colored. Cut a slit in each eggplant and scoop out of the hard seeds if there are any, making sure they don't fall apart. Place them in a shallow pan.

Meanwhile cook all the filling ingredients in a small-size pot at medium heat. All the water should evaporate. Stir constantly towards the end.

Fill the eggplants equally with the filling using a teaspoon. Place the sliced tomatoes and cubanelle pepper on each eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 3/4 cup of hot water with 1 tbsp crushed tomatoes into the pan from the side. Cover and cook at medium-low heat for about 15 minutes.

Serve Karniyarik while still warm with Pilaf with Orzo and Cacık.

*If you like to cook them in the oven; pre-heat the oven to 400° F (200° C). Place the filled eggplants in an oven proof dish. Cook on middle rack for about 20-25 minutes. If necessary, add a little more hot water.