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

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Rolls

(Kozlenmis, Peynirli Kirmizi Biber)

Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Rolls
1 red bell pepper

60 gr soft feta cheese or goat cheese, crumbled
1 fresh green onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp walnuts, crumbled
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed pepper

Cut off the top of the red pepper. Cut it in half and discard the seeds. Set the oven to broil (grill), and heat it up. Place the red pepper on an oven tray, insides facing down and place in the oven. Roast it for about 15 minutes. Afterwards place it in a paper bag for a few minutes so you can peel the skins off easier. Do so, then cut in strips, about 1 inch wide.

Mix the cheese with olive oil, oregano, crushed pepper and fresh green onion in a small plate. Spread the mixture equally on one end of each of the red pepper strips and roll them. Place on a service plate. Garnish with black olives. Serve as an appetizer or with breakfast:) This is a delicious appetizer that will add some colour to your table. It goes with any kind of food.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shrimp in an Orange Basket

(Portakal Sepetinde Karides - Bosphorus Style)

Shrimp in an Orange Basket
Orange Pilaf:
1 orange, cut in half
100 gr shrimp, cooked, de-veined and peeled
1/2 cup pilaf
2 tbsp Sultana or Golden raisins, stems cut off, soak in water for 30 minutes, drained and patted dry
2 tbsp almonds, blanched, sliced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch oregano

Remove the orange slices from each half and discard the membranes*. Mix the orange pieces with pilaf, shrimp, raisins and almonds in a bowl. Whisk all the sauce ingredients and toss with the pilaf. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes. Fill the orange shells with it. Place a green lettuce leaf on the serving plate. Place the Orange baskets on it and serve.

* If you have trouble cleaning out the orange shells, serve in a small glass bowl instead:)

Meal Ideas:
- Halibut Steak with Tomato Sauce, Arugula Salad and Mosaic Cake with Turkish Coffee.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 24, 2006


1 cup bulgur, washed several times
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

7 gr instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp sugar

Roasted chickpeas (leblebi in Turkish)

Soak the bulgur in water overnight in a large cooking pot. The following morning add more water and cook until the grains are softened over low heat. It takes about 3 hours and add some water little by little time to time. Place a strainer on a large porcelain or a glass bowl. Pour in the cooked bulgur spoon by spoon, and using the back of a tablespoon strain it (picture). Discard the deposit over the strainer every couple of times.

In a small bowl, melt the yeast with water and sugar. Let it rest for 10 minutes so it will be bubbly. Pour it into the strained bulgur and mix well. Cover the bowl with a piece of cloth to ferment (picture). During fermentation, mix it from time to time. It takes about 2-3 days to get the right smell and sourness.

Then, add the vanilla extract and sugar. While mixing, add water little by little to get the right thickness. Consistency should be like soup or 35% cream (whipped). Keep it in the fridge for a night before serving. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and serve with roasted chickpeas. Store Boza in the fridge.

Makes 6 servings.

* If you want to make more Boza later, keep 1/2 cup of leftover Boza in a glass in the fridge. Next time use this instead of the yeast.
* You can also make Boza without using yeast. But it takes more time to get the bulgur to ferment.

Benefits of Boza:
I-t has vitamins C and E along with four types of vitamin A and B. It produces lactic acid which is rarely found in foodstuffs.
-It is a valuable type of acid that facilitates digestion. It is recommended to pregnant women as a source of milk and to athletes as a source of vitamin.
-Initially contained 20% sugar falls to 8% with zero fat. It regulates the intestinal flora and has probiotic properties with the active yeasts.
-Being rich in carbohydrates, protein and vitamin B makes it suitable for pregnant women, athletes and for those who need more energy and who want to lose weight.
-It is referred to as "liquid bread" because of its nutritious properties as it contains many nutrients, carbohydrates and protein.
-It has an effect for relaxing the mind and nerves. It is known to have been used in the treatment of cough.

History of Boza (from Wikipedia)

Its origin dates back form the ancient populations that lived in pre-Ottoman Turkey. The formula was taken by the Ottomans and spread over the countries they conquered. It is a drink of great antiquity, first originating in Mesopotamia 8000-9000 years ago. Boza enjoyed its golden age under the Ottomans, and boza making became one of the principal trades in towns and cities from the early Ottoman period.

Production and storage:

Boza is produced in most Turkic regions, but not always using millet. The flavor varies according to the cereal which is used. Vefa Bozacisi, as it is known, is made only from hulled millet, which is boiled in water and then poured into broad shallow pans. When cool the mixture is sieved, and water and sugar added. Boza was found to be extremely healthy and nourishing. One liter of boza contains a thousand calories, four types of vitamins A and B, and vitamin E. During fermentation lactic acid, which is contained by few foods, is formed, and this facilitates digestion.[citation needed] As boza spoils if not kept in a cool place, boza ferments (traditionally) don't sell boza in summer months and sell alternative beverages such as grape juice or lemonade. However, it is now available in summer time due to demand and availability of refrigeration.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New Year

As we did last year, we'll be posting New Year's Appetizers about three times a week over the next month. We hope you like them:)
Afiyet olsun....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stuffed Kofte

(Icli Kofte)

Stuffed Kofte
300 g lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, crumbled
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp all spice

Kofte shell:
400 gr beef steak (no fat, no veins), cut in medium sized chunks
1 1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 cup bulgur, fine grain
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp red pepper paste

For the filling: Saute the ground beef with the onion until the meat is light brown and crumbly. Then drain and add the rest of the ingredients, stir. Put aside.

For the Kofte shell: Put the beef and red pepper in the food processor and turn it into paste. After that check the paste with your fingers, if there are any stringy veins, remove them.

Place the bulgur in a large bowl and add a little bit of water to get it wet, but not sloppy. Add the red pepper paste, onion and salt, knead them all. Slowly add the beef paste little by little and knead well. During the kneading, wet your hands once in a while and continue kneading. Do this for 10 minutes and make sure everything's mixed well.

Take a walnut sized piece from it, make a ball and place it on your palm. Use your other hand's index finger to make a hole at the center (picture). Make the outside as thin as possible. Put 2 tsp of filling in it* (picture). Then wet your hand and slowly close the top. And rotate it in your palm to make the surface smooth (picture).

Place the Kofte on a plate and make sure they don't touch each other. If you don't want to fry all of them, put them in the freezer, and after freezing, put them in ziploc bags. When you do want to fry the frozen Kofte, let them sit for 5 minutes at room temperature before frying.

Heat the sunflower oil in the frying pan, then fry all sides equally. Serve with crushed red pepper, dry mint, lemon wedges or sumac.

Makes about 22 Koftes.

* Take care to stuff the Kofte as quickly as possible. It would be good if you can get help - maybe someone can stuff them and the other person can close them up. Otherwise the Kofte might crumble since the bulgur expands over time after getting wet.

Tray Kofte

This is a faster alternative to Icli Kofte:) The ingredients and the process are the same, until you start to make the Kofte.

After you prepare the Kofte shell ingredients, divide it in half. Spread one half in a pyrex dish evenly without leaving holes. Then place the filling ingredients on top evenly. Place some saran wrap on the counter as large as the pyrex dish and spread out the other half of the Kofte shell ingredients on it. Then place it the pyrex upside down (so that the top of it is flat). Cut diagonally or in squares with a knife. Cover the top with extra virgin olive oil.

Prehat the oven to 350 F and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Serve it as an appetizer with crushed red pepper, dry mint, lemon wedges or sumac.

Meal Ideas:
- Gavurdagi Salad and Almond Pudding.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Black Eye Cookies


Black Eye Cookies
375 gr unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

3-4 tbsp strawberry jam

2-3 tbsp icing powder sugar

Round cookie cutter, 7.5 cm diameter

To make the dough, mix the sugar and butter in a bowl. Then add the vanilla extract and flour. Slowly knead them together. Make a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Sprinkle some flour on the counter. Make 0.5 cm thick dough with the roller. Cut the dough with the round cookie cutter (7.5 diameter) to make 14 round pieces of dough. Put parchment paper on the oven tray and place the cookies on it. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Immediately make two little holes on half of the cookies, so 7 of them, as shown in the picture. I used an apple corer for the little holes. Let them cool.

Spread strawberry jam with a knife on half of the cookies without the holes (so the other 7). Then sprinkle some icing powder over the other 7 cookies with the little holes. Stack them on the cookies with the jam.

Serve Karagoz with afternoon tea.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Kidney Beans with Lamb

(Kuzu Etli Kuru Fasulye)

Kidney Beans with Lamb
1 can of kidney beans (540 ml), gently washed and drained
150 gr lamb, cut in cubes
1/2 cubanelle pepper, chopped
1 medium tomato, peeled, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp crushed tomato, canned
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 + 3/4 cup hot water

Cook the lamb cubes with their own juice. Then add the rest of the ingredients with 1 cup of hot water, except the kidney beans. Cook over medium-low heat until most of the water evaporates and the lamb pieces soften. Then add the kidney beans with 3/4 cup of hot water. Cover the lid halfway and cook for 20-25 minutes on medium heat. If necessary, add a little bit more hot water.

Makes 2-3 servings.

* If you use dry kidney beans, you should boil them first until they soften, then drain. Add it with all the ingredients with 1 3/4 cup hot water.

Meal Ideas:
- Vegetable Soup, Pilaf with Orzo,Raisin Compote and Flour Helva.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Potato Borek

(Patates Boregi)

Potato Borek
1 cup sunflower oil
1 cup yogurt
3 eggs
4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, cut in cubes
3 small onions, chopped
1 carrot, peeled, cut in cubes
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen, soaked in hot water and drained
1 tsp mint
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup flour

13x9x2 oven dish

Whisk the sunflower oil, eggs and yogurt in a plastic bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the flour, and mix. Slowly add the flour in and knead. Spread equally into the oven dish.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until the top is nicely coloured. Serve it for breakfast, as a snack with tea or as a side dish for a light meal:)

Makes 8-10 servings.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Green Lentil Dish

(Yesil Mercimek Yemegi)

Green Lentil Dish
3/4 cup lentils, soak in water overnight, washed and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
3 tbsp crushed tomatoes, canned
1 tbsp orzo, optional
2 cups warm chicken stock or beef stock or just water

Saute the onion with olive oil for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lentils and saute for another 4-5 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes at medium-low heat until the lentils are soften, stir occasionally.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Meal Ideas:
- Celery Root with Olive Oil and Sultan's Jello.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Potato with Eggs

(Patatesli Yumurta)

Potato with Eggs
1 cup hash browns, frozen
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 pinch crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large pan saute the onion with olive oil. Add in the garlic and hash browns (don't defrost), salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Pour the beaten eggs over the potatoes and lightly stir with a wooden spatula. When the eggs are cooked (don't over-cook) sprinkle parsley and crushed pepper on top. Serve immediately as breakfast or a light meal with Tomato Salad.

* Instead of hash browns, you can use 2 medium sized potatoes. Peel and cut them in cubes and fry in sunflower oil. Then put them on a paper towel to soak up extra oil. Add the fried potatoes and the beaten eggs into the pan at the same time for this dish.

Makes 1 serving.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Water Borek

(Su Boregi)

Water Borek
1 Pkg Egg roll Wraps (large size 5 1/2 inch), approx 18 wraps
3/4 or 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup milk

Sauce for the top:
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs

23 cm x 33 cm (9 in x 13 in) cake mold/pan or Pyrex dish

Fill a large cooking pot with water half way, add 1 tbsp salt and bring to boil. Meanwhile, place some ice water in a large bowl. First place 2 of the wraps in the boiling water for about a minute, usually less. Make sure they are both submerged and that they do not stick to the bottom of the pot. When you notice bubbles on the surface of the wraps, remove them from the boiling water with a perforated spoon. Then soak them in the ice water for a few seconds. Spread them on a clean kitchen towel to soak up excess water (picture). Repeat this until you go through all the remaining wraps.

The wraps expand after boiling, this is normal. Oil the Pyrex dish and then place two wraps on it side by side. Brush the tops with melted butter (picture). Continue until you did three layers total the same way, you should have thus used six wraps for the bottom of the Borek. Then spread half of the filling over the top layer evenly (picture). Then do 3 more layers the same way (6 more wraps again) and don't forget to brush each layer with butter. Spread the rest of the filling on top.

Resume layering the pastry and the butter until the pastry is finished. Whisk the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Then pour it all over the top (picture). Cover the Pyrex with aluminum foil. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake for about 25 minutes while it's still covered. Remove the foil and then bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the top takes a light golden colour (picture). Afterwards, cut Water Borek in squares. Serve with Ayran or Raisin Compote while it's still warm.

Makes 6-8 servings.