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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicken with Fennel

(Rezeneli Tavuk)

<br />Chicken with Fennel
1 chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut in bite size
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
1 fennel, cored, cut in chunks
1 carrot, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup sweet peas, frozen, rinsed with hot water
1 medium tomato, peeled, diced
5-6 pearl onion, peeled
2 tbsp orzo
1/3 cup hot water

Dip the chicken pieces into the flour until they are all coated. Fry the chicken with the butter in a medium size pot. Add the carrot, sweet peas, onion, fennel, orzo, tomato, hot water, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender over low-medium heat.

Place the Chicken with Fennel on a serving dish. Sprinkle the fronds over the tops.

2 servings.

Meal Ideas:
-Chicken Soup with Rice, Shakshuka, Roasted Red Peppers with Garlic, Lima Beans in Olive Oil, Cantik and Sekerpare.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Swiss Chard Soup

(Pazi Corbasi)

<br />
Swiss Chard Soup
Bunch of Swiss chard stems, washed and cut in 1 cm long (use only the fresh ones)
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small size onion, sliced
1/4 cup Bell red pepper, cut in bite size
2 tbsp rice, washed, or vermicelli, or bulgur
2-3 of fresh Swiss chard leaves, chopped
2 cups hot water

Yogurt Sauce:
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 egg yolk
1 garlic clove, mashed with salt
1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp mint

Saute the onion, stems and bell pepper with olive oil for about 2-3 minutes. Add the rice, continue to saute 2 more minutes. Add the water, leaves, salt and pepper. Cook until the rice is softened at a little bit under medium heat.

Meanwhile in a bowl, mix all the yogurt sauce ingredients. After the rice is cooked, take a few spoons of liquid from the pot and mix into the bowl. Then slowly pour your mixture into the pot while stirring very slowly. Cook for about 5-6 more minutes over low heat. Stir occasionally. Sprinkle some dry mint and serve immediately.

2 servings.

Meal Ideas:
-Chicken Chokertme, Eggplant Boat with Cheese, Chickpea Salad, Cig Borek, Ayran with Fresh Mint Leaves and Turkish Ricotta Dessert.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mulberry Sherbet

(Karadut Şerbeti)

<br />
Mulberry Sherbet
2 cups mulberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 cups water

Place the mulberries and sugar in a medium sized pot. Crush (or wait for about an hour) the berries with the sugar using your hand. At this stage you should wear plastic glove to prevent coloring your hand. Add the lemon juice and water and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Let it cool down. Then cover the bowl and leave in the fridge at least 4 hours*.
Place a strainer with cheese cloth on top over a bowl. Pour the mixture in it. At the end squeeze cloth the get all the juice out. Serve it with the ice cubes.

What is Sherbet?
Sherbet "şerbet" is the world's first soft drink. Ottoman Turks drank sherbet before and during each meal. There was no custom of drinking water during the meal; sherbet or compote taken in the end replaced the water in the Palaces. Sultans drank fruit juice, lime juice or a sherbet during meals. They used an embroidered porcelain or coconut shell spoon placed on a special open box.

Sherbet is also served during Ramadan in crystal bowls or in tall cut glasses, or ornamented (with gilt flowers) glasses with ice cubes or snow. The sherbet glasses should be placed on a tray covered with lace or a piece of embroidered cloth.

Sherbet is still a traditional cold drink in Turkey. It is believed that sherbet has healing effects. In the gardens of the Ottoman Palace, spices and fruits to be used in sherbets were grown up under the control of pharmacists and doctors of the Palace.

Traditionally cold sherbet is served on especially hot summer days to please visitors. Also at weddings or during childbirth to increase lactation of the mother. This type of sherbet is called "Lohusa Sherbet" lohusa şerbeti/ birth sherbet)" which is crimson in colour and is flavored with cloves and herbs.

Sherbet is made from fruit juices or extracts of flowers or herbs, combined with sugar, water and ice or snow. Depending on the season, types of fruit sherbets include; pear, quince, strawberry, apple, kizilcik (cornelian cherry), mulberries, pomegranate, bergamot, mint, strawberry, orange, etc. There is also a honey sherbet and a green coloured violets sherbet which is made by pounding violet-flowers and then boiling them with sugar.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Homemade Yogurt with Fresh Peppers

(Katik / Biberli Yogurt)

<br />
Homemade Yogurt with Fresh Peppers
4 cups (1 Lt) whole milk
2 tablespoonfuls plain Turkish yogurt
~350 gr peppers (I used yellow, orange and green peppers), cut in bite size

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!

Bring to boil the milk first, then turn to heat down to low and simmer for about 4-5 more minutes. Turn the heat off. Add the peppers in it, stir. Pour the warm milk into a clean bowl with a lid. 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. Place the bowl on the towel. Add 2 tablespoonfuls of yogurt and mix well to ferment the new yogurt. Cover, then cover the bowl with the towel. If it is winter, the yogurt will be done within 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.

Traditionally Katik (Homemade Yogurt with Fresh Peppers) should be eaten after strained. Therefore, place a strainer with a paper towel on top over a bowl. Place Katik on it and fold the edges of the paper towel over the yogurt. Leave in the fridge overnight. You'll have creamy Yogurt with Fresh Peppers waiting in the morning:)

Serve the "Homemade Yogurt with Fresh Peppers" with Turkish black olives, cucumber and tomato on a serving dish. Season with paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil all over them. Serve with bread or pide as a breakfast or as a light lunch or as an appetizer:)

A little bit information about the Homemade 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.

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:) Strained yogurt contains no vitamin B, since this ingredient is moved out along with the liquid as it is strained off.

A little bit information about Yogurt:
About a thousand years ago, Central Asian Turks were the first to make Yogurt. As it was first spreading into Europe, this dairy product was used for therapeutic purposes. The word comes from the Turkish word "yoğurt", deriving from the verb "yoğurtmak", which means "to blend" - a reference to how yogurt is made. 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 yogurt.

You should eat yogurt every day, at least one cup :) Yogurt has beneficial bacteria, calcium and protein. We believe yogurt cleanses the body from toxins and poisons.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


(Bostana - Urfa-Southeast Anatolia Region)

2 large sized tomatoes, peeled, very finely chopped
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 fresh onion, finely chopped
1 cubanelle peppers, discard the seeds, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp pomegranate paste or grenadine syrup or sumac
1 tsp dry mint
1/2 tsp Turkish isot pepper or red pepper flakes

Mix all the ingredients in a service bowl. Put aside for 15 minutes (tastes better this way), then serve with any kind of Kebab.

Meal Ideas:
-Eggplant Kebab, Carrot Patties with Black Olives, Creamy Yogurt Dip, Lentil Borek, Asparagus with Mushrooms in Olive Oil, Turkish Shortbread and Turkish Rice Pudding.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Meatballs in Sauce

(Sahan Koftesi)

<br />
Meatballs in Sauce
Meatball ingredients:
500 gr lean ground lamb
1/2 tsp oregano
1 handful parsley, chopped

For frying:
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp butter

1 medium sized onion, sliced
1 medium sized yellow potato, peeled, cut in small cubes
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp red pepper paste, hot
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 cup hot water

Knead all the meatball ingredients. Make 16-17 meatballs, put aside. Lightly fry them in the mixture of sunflower oil and butter in the pan. Put them aside.

Place sliced onion and potatoes in the same pan and lightly fry. Add the lightly fried meatballs, cumin, vinegar, red pepper paste, paprika, salt and hot water into the pan. Cover and cook until a small amount juice left inside at low-medium heat.

Serve the Pan Meatballs with the Tomato Couscous.

4 servings.

Meal Ideas:
-Green Lentil Soup with Yogurt, Fried Eggplant and Green Pepper, Red Pepper Dish, Romano Beans in Olive Oil, Gozleme and Revani.


Tomato Couscous

(Domatesli Kuskus)

<br />
Tomato Couscous
3/4 cup couscous (I use Acini di Pepe in the pasta aisle)
2 cups tomato, grated
2 tbsp butter

Saute the pasta with the butter for a few minutes in a pot. Add the grated tomato and salt, cover the lid halfway. Turn the heat to low and cook until the couscous absorbs all the water. Turn the heat off and put aside for 5-6 minutes. Stir with a fork and serve.

Tomato Couscous goes well with any kind of meat or chicken dish as a side.

3-4 servings.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Eggplant Moussaka with Cheese

(Peynirli Patlican Musakka - Ottoman Kitchen)

<br />Eggplant Moussaka with Cheese
2 medium-sized eggplants
1/2 cup liquid oil for frying
150g lean ground beef
1 onion, sliced
1 cubanalle pepper, diced
2 tbsp canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup Turkish kashar cheese or mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp paprika

Peel the eggplant skin in strips lengthwise. Cut the eggplant vertically in 3-4 pieces, each about 1 inch thick. Then cut again horizontally, each piece about 2 inches long. Soak in water with a tablespoon of salt for about 15-20 minutes. Then dry with paper towels.

Fry the eggplants on both sides until golden brown. Then, place on a paper towel to soak up any extra oil.

Meanwhile, cook the ground beef with onion, salt and pepper. Then add the cubanelle pepper and crushed tomatoes, cook for 3-4 more minutes.

Lay out half of the eggplants in ovenproof dish. Place the half of the beef mixture over the eggplants. Arrange the rest of the eggplants over the mixture. Then place the rest of the beef mixture over the eggplants. Sprinkle the cheese all over the top. Garnish with some paprika.

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Place the dish on middle rack of the oven. Cook until the colour of cheese turns to light brown. Do not over cook!

Serve Eggplant Moussaka with Turkish Rice Pilaf and Cacık on the side.

You may also like Eggplant Moussaka and Eggplant Moussaka with Chickpeas (Afyon).

*Moussaka basically is the cooking of vegetables chopped into small pieces with small chunks of meat or ground beef and onions.

Moussaka originates from Türkiye and it is a genuine Ottoman cuisine with a wide variety of moussaka choices like Potato Moussaka, Zucchini Moussaka, Cauliflower Moussaka, Turnip Moussaka etc.,

Meal Ideas:
-Rustic Red Lentil Soup, Shredded Borek, Roasted Eggplant, Green Pepper & Tomato Dip , Sweet Peas in Olive Oil and Almond Pudding.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roasted Bell Pepper with Feta Cheese and Toasted Bread

(Peynirli Kozlenmis Biber ve Kizarmis Ekmek)

<br />Roasted Bell Pepper with Feta Cheese and Toasted Bread
Bell Pepper
Feta cheese, crumbled
Lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil

Turkish bread, sliced
Extra virgin olive oil

Roast the pepper, peel and cut in bite size. Place on a service plate. Squeeze lemon juice and drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over the them. Sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese and red pepper flakes.

Toast a few slice of Turkish bread. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil all over the slice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve it as a breakfast or an appetizer.

Roasted Red Pepper:
Cut off the tops of the red peppers. Discard the seeds. Cut each pepper in half. Set the oven to broil (grill), and heat it up. Place the red peppers on an oven tray (inside facing down) and place in the oven. Roast them for about 15 minutes. Leave them in a paper or plastic bag for about 10 minutes to peel off the skin easily. Alternatively, you can barbecue it until softened. Just place the red peppers out side facing down on the barbecue.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Stuffed Swiss Chard Rolls with Ricotta Cheese

(Lorlu Pazi Sarmasi - Bayburt-Trabzon Black Sea Region)

Stuffed Swiss Chard Rolls with Ricotta Cheese
1 bunch of bitter dock or Swiss chard, cut off the stems, washed
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup 35% cream

Cheese Filling:
2/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Turkish bulgur, fine grain
1 tsp dargin otu** or tarragon- herb
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 small onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

To prepare the cheese filling, first place the bulgur in a large bowl and pour a cup of hot water on it (it should stay like this for 5 minutes). Then wash and drain the bulgur, and mix it the rest of the filling ingredients with a spoon.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot half way with water and boil. Cut the stems off the leafs boil for about 1-2 minutes and drain. Pour the cold water all over it.

Cut off the hard part at the middle of the leafs. Place the hard parts in a medium shallow pot (should be oven proof) first. Cut the leaves in 2 or 3 depends how long they are to fill them. Use a teaspoon to put the ricotta filling on the leaf (picture). First fold over the top, then fold the two sides and roll to close it up. Line up all the rolls over the hard parts in the pot tightly.

Pour 1/4 cup hot water in to the pot. Over, turn the heat up to high first. Then turn the heat down. Cook at low heat until all the water evaporates. Then pour the cream all over it. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Place the pot on the middle rack of the oven and cook it for about 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile caramelized the onion with butter and olive oil. Pour all over the Stuffed Swiss Chard Rolls with Ricotta Cheese and serve while still warm.

* Don't throw the stems, make Swiss Chard Stems with Yogurt Sauce.
**Dargın Otu which only grows the city of Bayburt in Black Sea region.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Pickled Summer Vegetables

(Yaz Tursusu - Antakya - Mediterranean Region)

Pickled Summer Vegetables
1 medium size eggplant, peel in lengthwise strips, cut in bite size, soak in water with salt for about 10 minutes, squeeze
1 medium size zucchini, cut in bite size
1 small bell pepper, cut in bite size
4 cherry tomatoes*

1-2 garlic cloves, mashed with salt
1 tsp mint
2 tbsp lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Boil all the ingredients with a little bit water, drain. *Do not boil the tomatoes more than 2 minutes, peel and cut in 2 or 4. Mix the dressing ingredients. Pour over the boiled vegetables, stir.

Rest the Pickled Summer Vegetables in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Serve this dish with any kind of meal.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cucumber with Sesame Seeds and...

(Susamli Salatalik)

<br /> Cucumber with Sesame Seeds and...
Cut the ends of cucumber. Cut in half along the length. Discard the seeds using the tip of teaspoon. Sprinkle some salt and sugar all over. Chill it out in the fridge to make them crispy for about an hour.

Sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds and serve as a breakfast or an appetizer:)

Cucumber with Molasses

Cucumber with Molasses
Rinse the fresh and tender cucumbers. Cut off the ends, then cut in half along the length. Place on a serving plate and serve with molasses on the side in a little bowl. Dunk them into the molasses have as a breakfast or an appetizer:)

Grape Molasses
Grape Molasses is a good source of energy and carbohydrates because of its high sugar content. It is ideal for daily doses of calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Plus, it contains lots of minerals.

You can purchase Tahini (Tahin) and Grape Molasses (Pekmez) from Turkish or Middle Eastern Grocery Stores or online at

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tomato-Rice Dish

(Domates Asi)

<br /> Tomato-Rice Dish
3 medium size tomatoes, peeled, diced
1 cubanalle pepper, discard the seeds, cut in bite size
1 small onion, finely chopped
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste + 1/4 cup water
2 tbsp rice, rinsed

In a medium size pot, saute the onion with olive oil for about 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook until the rice is soft over medium-low heat.

Serve The Tomato-Rice Dish immediately with freshly baked Turkish bread:)


Monday, July 09, 2012

Dough Bites Filled with Turkish Pastrami and Cheese

(Pastirmali-Kasarli Hamur Lokmasi)

<br /> Dough Bites Filled with Turkish Pastrami and Cheese
Pizza dough
Sun flower oil to fry

Turkish pastrami (Pastirma), sliced, break in bite size
Turkish kashar cheese or mozzarella, grated

Cut the dough into a little bit smaller than egg sized pieces. Flat in 1 cm thick with your hand. Then place some filling inside, close it up. When the oil heats up, fry the doughs on both sides until golden brown. Afterwards, place on a paper towel to soak up any extra oil.

Serve the Dough Bites Filled with Turkish Pastrami and Cheese with freshly brewed Turkish Tea as a breakfast or light lunch. I've served it with Roasted Eggplant Salad, parsley and cucumber slices:)

History of Pastirma

The Turkish horsemen of Central Asia used to preserve meat by placing slabs of it in pockets on the sides of their saddles, where it would be pressed by their legs as they rode. This pressed meat was the forerunner of today's pastirma, a term which literally means 'being pressed' in Turkish, and is the origin of the Italian pastrami. Pastirma is a kind of cured beef, the most famous being that made in the town of Kayseri in central Turkey.

The 17th century Turkish writer Evliya Çelebi praised the spiced beef pastirma of Kayseri in his Book of Travels, and Kayseri pastirma is still regarded as the finest of all. Good quality pastirma is a delicacy with a wonderful flavour, which may be served in slices as a cold hors d'oeuvre or cooked with eggs, tomatoes and so on. Although pastirma may also be made with mutton or goat's meat, beef is preferred.


Friday, July 06, 2012

Urfa Style Wheat-Yogurt Soup

(Lebeni Corbasi - Urfa)

Urfa Style Wheat-Yogurt Soup
1/2 cup wheat*
1 cup chickpeas canned**, rinsed
~6-7 cup chicken broth or vegetable stock, adjust the water
~2 cups yogurt
1 tbsp dry mint

Red Pepper Sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 pinch Cheyenne pepper

Cook wheat, until they are softened in a pot at medium heat. Add the chickpeas salt and pepper continue to cook for about 5 more minutes. Turn the heat off. Whisk the yogurt in it.

Heat up the olive oil then add the peppers in it, stir. Take it from the heat and pour all over the soup. In hot summer days, you can serve this traditional cold soup by adding some ice cubes or water to dilute when you serve.

4-6 servings.

*If you use pearl barley instead of wheat for the soup, it is called Urfa Style Barley-Yogurt Soup (Arpa Lebenisi).

**When gently rub one handful chickpeas inside of your palms all the skin will be come off easily.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Arugula Salad with Peaches

(Seftalili Roka Salatasi)

<br /> Arugula Salad with Peaches
One bunch of Arugula, washed and drained
1 small peach, peeled, sliced
4-5 ripe vine tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Tulum cheese* or feta cheese or goat or ricotta cheese, crumbled
4-5 walnuts, crumbled

Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice

Discard the Arugula stems, break off the leaves into smaller pieces with your hand. Season with salt and lemon juice. Place on a service plate. Arrange the rest of the ingredients over the top. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil all over the salad. Serve immediately.

*It is a Turkish cheese made from sheep's or mixed milk, harder and saltier than white cheese.


Peach Compote

(Seftali Kompostosu)

<br />
Peach Compote
6 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, cut in bite size
1/4 or 1/3 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/2 tsp almond extract

2 tbsp walnuts, crumbled, lightly toasted

Bring the sugar and water to boil in a medium cooking pot. Turn the heat down to very medium-low and add the peaches in it. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Turn the heat off.

Pour into a bowl and let it cool. Then chill in the fridge. Sprinkle the walnuts in it before serve in individual bowls.

If the peaches are tasteless, make this Peach Compote to go with any kind of Pilaf or just to cool off especially in the summer time:)


Monday, July 02, 2012

Gaziantep Style Stuffed Zucchini

(Kabak Oturtması - Gaziantep)

Gaziantep Style Stuffed Zucchini
4 small zucchinis, washed
4 slices of tomato
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp crushed tomatoes, canned
1 tsp red pepper paste

1/4 cup sun flower oil to fry

Beef Filling:
100g medium ground beef
1 small onion, sliced
Pinch of red pepper (pepper flakes), crushed

Wash the zucchinis and cut off a thin slice of the bottom of each one, so that they can stand up straight. Cut off the tops (as in the picture) and carve out the insides. Lightly fry the zucchinis in the oil. Put them aside.

To prepare the filling; saute the ground beef with onion until the colour turns to light brown. Do not over cook! Leave some juice in it. Mix all the filling ingredients with a teaspoon and stuff the zucchinis. Then cover the zucchinis with the tomato slices. Place them in a small oven proof dish.

Mix the water with crushed tomatoes and red pepper paste. Pour all over the zucchinis.

Preheat the oven 400 F (200 C). Place the dish on middle rack. Cook until the tops lightly brown.

2 servings.