Tag: Turkey

Condiments | Red Pepper Paste

EUROPE SPAIN TURKEY
  • 4 red bell / long peppers, washed
  • 30 g paprika flakes (optional)
  • 15 ml olive oil

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a baking tray with the oil. Place peppers on the tray, bake in oven for 25 minutes, until the peppers have wilted and the skin and seeds are easily. When cool liquidise the softened peppers. For a deeper flavour add paprika flakes. Store in fridge or in sterilised jars.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Paprika | Red Peppers

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Legendary Dishes | Kalkanoğlu Pilavı (rice pilaf with beef and red pepper / tomato paste)

TURKEY

The Kalkanoğlu restaurant in the heart of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul has maintained the culinary tradition of Trabzon with its signature dish, rice with beef and tomato paste, so good it is sold by the kilo! We have tweaked their version with the option of red pepper paste.

800 ml water
300 g beef fillet, cut into medium dice
300 g rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained
150 g tomato paste / red pepper paste
60 g butter
15 ml olive oil
15 g salt
5 g black pepper

In a large pot combine choice of paste with the water and salt. Boil, add rice, reduce heat. Cook until rice has absorbed the liquid. Melt butter and oil in a large frying pan, brown the beef, no more than that. Fold meat into the rice. Serve, dressed with black pepper.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Beef | Rice | Red Peppers | Tomatoes

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Legendary Dishes | İmam Bayıldı / Imam Baialdi (stuffed aubergines)

TURKEY BALKANS

Banu Özen, author of the Fricot pocket book Traditional Tastes of Turkey, says the name of this dish has a funny story.

‘An Imam’s wife made this dish and it was so delicious that he fainted from ecstasy. Actually the word “bayildi’ has double meaning, “to faint” and “to love something.” The meaning used here refers to “loving it so much” therefore the Imam really loved this dish. But when translated we always tend to use the word “fainted” to add the funny element to this dish.’

4 long aubergines / 8 small aubergines
3 onions, large, cut in half and sliced
2 tomatoes, large, peeled and cut into small dice
6 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil + olive oil for frying aubergines
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Olive oil for frying
Water for cooking stuffed aubergines

Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a pot and sauté the onions with salt and sugar over low heat. This will take about 40 minutes until the onions are almost caramelized. Add the garlic then the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are softened.

Meanwhile heat some olive oil and fry each of the aubergines until almost softened. Take out of the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel. Make a lengthwise slit in the centre of the aubergines and press down with the back of a spoon to make a hollow centre.

Fill the aubergines with the onion-tomato mixture and place in a clean pot.

Pour the water over the aubergines. Simmer until the aubergines are cooked.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Aubergines | Paprika | Tomatoes

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Legendary Dishes | Yeşil Zeytin Piyazı (green olive salad)

TURKEY
  • 200 g small green olives, pitted
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, refrigerate for two hours.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Green Olives | Lemon Juice | Olive Oil | Parsley

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Legendary Dishes | Acılı Ezme Salatası (spicy tomato salad)

TURKEY

This minced salad is a marriage of juicy tomatoes with spicy paprika. The quantities for the cucumber, mint, parsley, pepper and spring onions are a guide. The tomatoes should dominate. One of the great salads.

450 g tomatoes, grilled, peeled, diced small
2 red peppers, grilled, diced small
1 cucumber, peeled, chopped small
6 spring onions, diced small
30 g parsley, finely chopped
30 ml pomegranate molasses / Basra date syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp paprika flakes
10 g black pepper
10 g fresh mint, chopped small
Salt, large pinch

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Whisk lemon juice into the molasses or syrup, add oil.  Pour over salad, and mix again.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Basra Date Syrup | Lemon | Mint | Olive Oil | Onions | Paprika Flakes | Pomegranate Molasses | Tomatoes

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Legendary Dishes | Topik (chickpea-potato-tahini balls stuffed with caramelized onions)

ARMENIA TURKEY

This is a very popular Armenian dish, appreciated also in Anatolia. It is served cold but it can also be served hot, baked in a 180ºC oven for 45 minutes.

Six Portions

  • 1.5 kg onions, cut in half, sliced thin
  • 400 g potatoes, boiled whole until cooked, peeled, mashed
  • 400 g chickpeas, soaked in water for 8 hours, boiled until soft, mashed
  • 250 g + 35 g tahini
  • 25 g currants
  • 25 g pine nuts
  • 2 tsp + 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp + 1 salt salt
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp sugar
  • Cinnamon, to garnish
  • Olive oil, to garnish

Combine potatoes with chickpeas and one teaspoon each of cinnamon, salt and sugar, 35 g of tahini. Form into a dough, set aside.

Sauté a third of the onions in a very large pan with a teaspoon of salt on low heat, cover. When the onions start to soften and release water add the second batch, increase the heat, cover. Add the third batch, increase the heat a little more, cover. The purpose is to soften the onions, release their water content and reduce them to a quarter of their original quantity. When the onions are completely soft, remove the lid and cook over a medium-high heat. The operation can take more than a hour, depending on the quality of the onions.

Add currants, pine nuts, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, one teaspoon each of allspice, black pepper and sugar to the onions, mix well. Cool, add the tahini and mix thoroughly.

Cut 6 pieces of clingfilm approximately 20 cm x 20 cm. Divide the chickpea-potato and onion-tahini mixures into 6 equal portions. Take a portion of the chickpea-potato mixture, and spread it flat into a round about ½ cm thick on the clingfilm. Place a portion of the onion-tahini mixture in the middle. Hold the clingfilm on all four sides and close up to make a round ball, twist the corners and turn over on a large plate or tray. Repeat with remaining mixtures. Transfer to the refrigerator for three hours or overnight.

Twelve Portions

Shell

  • 800 g potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed
  • 750 g chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, boiled, mashed
  • 75 ml tahini
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar

Filling

  • 3 kg onions, halved, sliced thin
  • 500 g tahini
  • 3 tbsp currants
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Cinnamon to garnish
  • Olive oil to garnish

For the shell combine potatoes with chickpeas and tahini, work in the cinnamon, salt and sugar, knead a little to form a dough.

For the filling sauté onions in a very large frying pan with salt on very low heat, stir from time to time. The onions should cook down to almost a quarter of the original quantity.

Add currants, pine nuts, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper and sugar to the onions, and mix well. Once cool add tahini and mix.

Prepare 12 pieces of clingfilm (approximately 20 x 20cm). Divide the chickpea / potato dough into 12 equal portions. Take a portion and spread on a stretch film in a round manner, it should be about ½ cm thick. Place 1/12th of the onion mixture in the middle, then hold from all four sides of the stretch film and close up to make  round ball, twist the corners and turn over on a large plate or tray. Do the same with the rest of the mixes.

Transfer to the refrigerator, chill for two hours. Ideally topik tastes much better the next day. The surplus may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to two months.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Allspice | Chickpeas | Currants | Onions | Pine Nuts | Potatoes | Tahini

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Legendary Dishes | Kuru Kıyma ve Patlıcanli Pide (aubergine and meat flatbread)

TURKEY

Pide comes in various shapes, crusty and soft, for numerous uses, including a pizza-like base for holding meat and vegetables. Large rounds with an uneven surface are generally soft with a spongy crumb, baked at a low temperature, small ovals are flat and crisp, baked like lepinje and pita at the highest setting, the heat forcing them to puff up. This filled version is one of the most popular in Turkey.

Dough

  • 500 g strong white wheat flour
  • 200 ml water, lukewarm
  • 1 egg / 45 g thick yogurt
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 15 g yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Finish (optional)

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 15 g black sesame seeds

Filling

  • 1 kg g aubergines, roasted in oven, pulp removed, mashed
  • 500 g lamb, ground
  • 4 red peppers, chopped
  • 100 g onions, sliced
  • 100 g tomatoes, chopped
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 30 ml pomegranate molasses
  • 15 ml mineral water
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Activate yeast in sugar and lukewarm water. Sift flour with the salt. After 15 minutes add yeast mixture to flour with the egg or yoghurt and oil, and more water if necessary to make a pliable dough, about 15 minutes kneading. Leave to rise for one hour, fold out air and leave for a further hour. Preheat oven to 250°C and two baking trays. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Knead, flatten and stretch into ovals. Leave to rest.

Fry onions in the olive oil over a high heat for about five minutes, until they start to take on some colour. Add garlic, peppers and tomatoes, fry for three minutes, add pomegranate molasses and water. Reduce heat to low and cover, cook for five minutes. Increase heat, add lamb, stir constantly to evaporate liquid in frying pan. Season, leave to cool. Fold in aubergine pulp.

Remove trays from oven, oil and put back in the oven for five minutes. Carefully place two of the ovals on each tray, fill each oval with a quarter of the aubergine mixture. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

The edges of each pide can be coated with egg and sprinkled with black sesame seeds.

Bake for 13 minutes.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Aubergines | Black Sesame Seeds | Pomegranate Molasses | Yoghurt

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Legendary Dishes | Halep Dolması (stuffed dried aubergines, Gaziantep style)

TURKEY
  • 1 litre water, boiled
  • 300 g beef and lamb, minced
  • 250 g onion, finely chopped
  • 150 g baldo / osmancık rice, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 75 ml olive oil
  • 16 large pieces of dried aubergine (kurutulmus patlican)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 20 ml pomegranate molasses
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried mint

To rehydrate the aubergines, heat plenty of water in a large pot and boil the dried aubergines for 15 minutes, until soft. Drain and cool under cold water and set aside to drain completely. In a large bowl combine minced meat, onion, garlic, rice, pomegranate molasses, mint and salt. Mix well. Stuff this mixture into the rehydrated aubergines, coming up to three-quarters of each aubergine. Place the stuffed aubergines in a pot big enough to hold them vertically side by side. Once all the aubergines are stuffed, prepare the sauce by heating the olive oil. Add the pastes and sauté for a few minutes. Then turn off the heat and add the hot water and pomegranate molasses. Mix well. Pour this mixture over the stuffed aubergines, cover with a lid and cook over high heat until it boils, then turn down the heat and cook over low heat for about an hour, until the aubergines are soft and the stuffing is fully cooked. Serve hot with yoghurt on the side.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS = Dried Mint | Osmancık RicePomegranate Molasses | Sun-Dried Aubergines | Tomato Paste

Text & Pix © Fricot Project 1998-2019

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Legendary Dishes | Kapsalon (the hairdresser = potato fries, shoarma / shawarma meat, cheese, salad and sauce)

West Kruiskade in central Rotterdam – the street of the thousand flavours – where the kapsalon originated. Photo from Spicy by Irene de Vette
BELGIUM | NETHERLANDS

Potato fries coated with shoarma (aka shawarma) meat and melting gouda cheese, topped with salad and served with a sauce, this is the Hairdresser! The dish originated in 2003 when Nathaniel Gomes, the Cape Verdean owner of the Rotterdam hairdresser Tati, went to the shoarma shop El Aviva and asked for all this favourite ingredients in one go. It became a regular order, took its name, and is now very popular among Dutch and Belgian youths. At 1800 kcal kapsalon is a calorie bomb.

Essential Ingredients

Kapsalon is also made with chicken, döner, falafel, gyros or kebab.

  • Shoarma (chicken, beef, lamb or turkey)
  • Baked fries
  • Grated cheese
  • Iceberg lettuce, sliced
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Sauces: garlic sauce, curry sauce, peanut sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise

Shoarma (Shawarma) Spice Mixtures

The spices for shoarma (shawarma) are variations of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, mace, nutmeg and black, cayenne and paprika pepper.

Dry Mix

  • 15 g coriander, ground
  • 15 g cumin, ground
  • 15 g garlic, powder
  • 8 g cinnamon, ground
  • 8 g paprika, ground
  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp garam masala (optional)
  • 1 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric, ground
  • Cayenne, large pinch
  • Cloves, large pinch

Wet Mix

  • 120 ml lemon juice
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 60 ml apple cider / grape vinegar
  • 60 ml olive oil / vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Caraway, large pinch
  • Cardamom, ground, large pinch
  • Cayenne, ground, large pinch
  • Cinnamon, ground, large pinch
  • Cumin, ground, large pinch
  • Ginger, ground, large pinch
  • Pepper, ground, large pinch

The Dutch add nutmeg to these mixes.

Shoarma (Shawarma) Beef

Derived from the Turkish verb çevirme (revolve, rotate) to describe grilling stacked meat on a spit during the Ottoman period (1518 to 1918), migrants from the Levant brought the method to the Netherlands, where it evolved separately to the tradition that remained in the eastern Mediterranean’s Arabic regions. Traditionally it was a mixture of all kinds of poor quality meat marinated in a large quantity of garlic and spices to mask the flavour, grilled, like the Turkish döner kebab, on a vertical spit (instead of the horizontal spit), an indication that it was influenced by Iskender Efendi who changed the centuries old method of grilling stacked meat in the 1860s. Essentially döner and shoarma / shawarma are the same, with different names and variations in preparation and content between Europe and the Levant.

  • 500 g beef, lean, cut into strips
  • 75 ml shoarma (shawarma) wet mix
  • 15 ml sunflower oil

Marinate meat in the wet shoarma (shawarma) mixture overnight. Brown meat in oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat, about five minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place meat in a small baking tray, spoon a tablespoon of the marinade over the top. Cover with foil, bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake for ten minutes. Leave to rest for five minutes, serve.

Shoarma (Shawarma) Chicken

  • 500 g chicken, cut into strips
  • 15 ml red / white wine vinegar
  • 15 g shoarma (shawarma) dry mix
  • 15 ml sunflower oil

Marinate meat in the shoarma (shawarma) spices overnight. Brown meat in oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat, about five minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place meat in a small baking tray and spoon vinegar over the top. Cover with foil, bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for ten minutes. Leave to rest for five minutes, serve.

Shoarma (Shawarma) Lamb

  • 500 g lamb, lean, cut into strips
  • 120 ml yoghurt
  • 2 red peppers
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 15 g shoarma (shawarma) dry mix
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Marinade meat and peppers in oil and spices for an hour, separate meat. Combine garlic, yoghurt and seasonings. Brown meat in a wok over a high heat, add peppers, then the garlic yoghurt mixture. Cook for five minutes. Serve with hot pita (flatbread / pouch bread), the sauce on the side, garnished with green chillies and lemon wedges.

Text © Fricot Project 1998-2019 | Photos Irene de Vette

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Legendary Dishes | Turli Tava (meat and vegetable stew)

SOUTH BALKANS | CAUCASUS | TURKEY

This mixed meat and vegetable stew has its origins in the south Balkans, but it is popular across the region, finding its way into Turkey and the trans-Caucasus.

It can be made with beef, lamb or mutton, with assorted vegetables – aubergines, green and red peppers, okra and zucchini, with root vegetables – carrots, onions and potatoes, and with beans and rice.

  • 1 litre water
  • 250 g onions, chopped
  • 150 g aubergines, peeled, cubed
  • 150 g beef, cubed
  • 150 g lamb, cubed
  • 150 g mixed peppers, chopped
  • 150 g okra, cut small, soaked in one tablespoon vinegar
  • 150 g string beans, chopped
  • 150 g tomatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 150 g zucchini, cubed
  • 90 g butter, for frying
  • 75 g rice
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt, pinch
  • Olive oil, for frying

Sauté onions in half the butter in a large heavy-based pot over a low heat for 30 minutes.

Increase heat to high, brown meat, about ten minutes.

Pour in the water, cover and bring to a low boil.

Melt remaining butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add a splash of oil, and sauté in succession the beans, aubergines, okra, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.

Add vegetables to the meat pot.

Deglaze frying pan with some of the cooking water and add to pot.

Add rice, bring heat to a low boil, then simmer for 45 minutes.

Serve with bread.

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Culinary Connections | Spinach Pies

ALBANIA BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA FRANCE GREECE KOSOVO TURKEY

Byrek me Spinaq / Pita Zeljanica

These traditional cheese and spinach filled filo pastry pies are ubiquitous throughout the Balkans, the Trans-Caucasus, down into the eastern Mediterranean.

The pies made in Bosnia-Herzengovnia and Kosovo are similar to the Albanian pies.

The Greek pie, containing milk, is lighter while the Turks have traditionally used butter instead of oil between the filo layers.

Tinned spinach purée is an option for this version if fresh spinach is not available.

  • 1 kg spinach, chopped small
  • 500 g filo pastry
  • 375 ml olive oil
  • 300 g Feta
  • 250 g scallions / spring onions
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt, large pinch

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into choice of baking tray with an excess edge to come up and over the sides (use two sheets if one is not long enough). Cut remaining filo into equal sizes to fit into bottom of tray.

Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with oil, lay the large filo sheet/s, tucking in the corners, brush liberally with oil.

Place sheets from the first pile on top, brushing each sheet with oil before placing the next one on top.

Whisk cheese and egg together with 185 ml of oil and onions, pour this mixture into the tray.

Mix spinach and salt by hand, squeezing out any liquid, place on top of the cheese mixture.

Place remaining filo sheets on top, brushing each one with oil.

Fold the bottom sheet over, brush entire surface with oil.

Bake for 35 minutes.


Spanakotirópita

This is the Greek version.

  • 1 kg spinach, fresh, chopped small
  • 500 g filo pastry
  • 375 ml milk
  • 375 ml olive oil
  • 300 g Feta
  • 300 g onions, chopped small
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Oil, for frying

Salt the spinach, sauté in a splash of oil a large frying pan over a high heat until it wilts, about three minutes, drain, leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into the base of a deep baking tray, repeat with remaining filo. Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with oil, lay a filo sheet on top, brush with oil, repeat until the first pile is used up.

Return to the spinach, and using hands squeeze out all the liquid.

Whisk cheese, egg and milk together with all the seasonings, add 185 ml of oil, the onions and spinach. Pour this mixture into the tray.

Place remaining filo sheets on top, brushing each one with oil.

Bake for 35 minutes.


Ispanakli Tepsi Böregi

This is the Turkish version.

  • 1 kg spinach, fresh, chopped small
  • 500 g filo pastry
  • 375 g onions, chopped
  • 300 g butter
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt, large pinch

Sauté onions in 100 g of butter over a low heat for ten minutes, add the spinach and allow to wilt, season and leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 175°C.

Melt remaining butter in a saucepan over a low heat.

Cut a sheet of filo to fit into choice of baking tray with an excess edge to come up and over the sides (use two sheets if one is not long enough). Cut remaining filo into equal sizes to fit into bottom of tray.

Divide these sheets into two piles.

Grease the tray with butter, lay the large filo sheet/s, tucking in the corners, brush liberally with butter.

Place sheets from the first pile on top, brushing each sheet with butter before placing the next one on top.

Spoon spinach mixture into the tray.

Place remaining sheets on top, brushing each one with butter.

Fold the bottom sheet over, brush entire surface with butter.

Bake for 35 minutes.


Mini Quiche au Fromage et aux Épinards

Compare the spinach pies of the eastern Mediterranean with those of France, especially these creamy mini quiche – products of master patissiers in Paris and not unknown in the provinces.

Fresh eggs and young spinach leaves are essential for their success.

  • 250 g shortcrust pastry (see Mini Quiche for recipe)
  • 250 g spinach, washed, stalks removed, cut thin
  • 2 eggs
  • 65 g Emmental / Gruyére, chopped small
  • 50 ml cream
  • 40 g Parmigiano, grated
  • Nutmeg, grated, large pinch
  • Black Pepper, pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • Butter, for frying and greasing

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sauté spinach in butter over a high heat for three minutes, drain, retain liquid, leave spinach to cool.

Put spinach liquid in fridge.

Cut pastry into 12 rounds, place in moulds in a greased baking tray.

In a bowl, beat the egg with the cream, brush the pastry with a little of this mixture.

Add spinach to the cream-egg mixture.

Using a fork, prick the pastry dough and bake for ten minutes.

The butter used to sauté will have harded and taken on a rich green colour, scoop this off the top of the spinach liquid, place in bowl with cream-egg-spinach mixture.

Add emmental, nutmeg and seasonings, stir, pour into pastry moulds.

Sprinkle with parmigiano.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Note: This quantity of ingredients made twelve 10 cm diameter mini quiche.


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Legendary Dishes | Baklava (syrup pastries)

Baklava has been making a westwards journey for thousands of years, gradually moving from Damascus in Syria into Gaziantep in south-east Anatolia onto Istanbul where it became associated with the janissaries during ramadan.

The baklava procession started by Süleyman in the 16th century is never-ending as the fame of this sweet pastry continues to spread.

Turkish baklava is now characterised by its relationship with the pistachios and walnuts grown in eastern Anatolia, but a long time ago it was made with clotted cream, and sometimes with nothing more than a sugar syrup.

This is the ‘ordinary’ baklava.

Baklava

Butter

  • 500 g butter

Dough

  • 1 kg durum wheat white flour
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 10 g salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Water

Rolling Flour

  • 50 g corn starch / fine polenta flour
  • 50 g flour

Syrup

  • 750 g sugar
  • 350 g water

Whisk soda into juice. Sieve flour onto a clean work surface, make a well and add salt, juice-soda liquid and sufficient water to form a soft dough. Knead and divide into 12 equal pieces.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Combine the two batches of rolling flour.

Melt the butter.

Roll out each piece of dough, about 25 centimetres in width.

Brush butter on nine pieces, place three pieces on top of each other to make three piles, top each one with an unbuttered piece.

Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C and grease baking tray.

Roll each pastry pile, folding the pastry over the rolling pin to stretch it, paper-thin, less than 1 millimetre. Cut the pastry into sheets the size of the baking tray.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bottom, brush with butter. Repeat with remaining sheets.

Cut the pastry into diamond shapes, slicing deep.

Brush the top of each diamond with a liberal amount of butter.

Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Make a syrup with sugar and water. Leave it to cool, pour over the baklava.


Gaziantep Baklava

The butter-sweet aromatic baklava made in Gaziantep with local pistachios is the most iconic and traditional of these Turkish confections. Golden on top, bright green in the middle, syrupy yellow on the bottom, the Gaziantep Baklava has no substitute.

Making it requires skill and patience. Enjoy the experience, and share the magic with the artisans of Gaziantep.

Afterall they have been hand-making baklava since the days of Gilgamesh!

Butter

  • 1 kg butter, salt-free
  • 500 g Antep pistachios (Antep fıstığı), chopped
  • 100 g wheat starch

Dough

  • 1 kg durum wheat white flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 10 g salt
  • Water

Filling

  • 500 g milk
  • 50 g semolina

Rolling Flour

  • 75 g corn starch / fine polenta flour
  • 75 g flour

Syrup

  • 750 g sugar
  • 350 g water

Sieve flour onto a clean work surface, make a well and break in the eggs, salt and sufficient water to form a soft dough. Knead and divide into 12 equal pieces. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Boil milk vigorously, add semolina and stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Leave to cool.

Combine the two batches of rolling flour.

Melt the butter.

Roll out each piece of dough, about 25 centimetres in width.

Brush butter liberally on nine pieces, place three pieces on top of each other to make three piles, top each one with an unbuttered piece.

Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease baking tray.

Roll each pastry pile, folding the pastry over the rolling pin to stretch it, paper-thin, less than 1 millimetre. Cut the pastry into sheets the size of the baking tray.

Place a sheet of pastry on the bottom, sprinkle with wheat starch, a thin layer of semolina cream, and an even layer of pistachios. Repeat with all but the last sheet.

Cut the pastry into equal diamond shapes, slicing deep.

Brush the top of each diamond with a liberal amount of remaining butter.

Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Make a syrup with sugar and water. Leave to cool, pour over the baklava diamonds.


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Legendary Dishes | Tokány (Transylvanian paprika stew)

ROMANIA
paprikastew.jpg

Dracula is not the only legend to have emerged from the forests of Transylvania.

If other legends are to be believed, the original goulash was a meat and paprika stew of Transylvania.

Vladimir Mirodan says it was brought south to Bucharest by young Transylvanian girls ‘in search of services and fortune’.

This is an adaptation from Károly Gundel’s Hungarian Cookery Book.

The kidneys can be from calves, lambs or pigs.

The marjoram, mushrooms, paprika and sour cream are essential. Without them it does not have the distinctive flavour that make it one of the region’s most popular traditional dishes.

  • 500 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 350 g beef, cut into strips
  • 350 g pork, cut into strips
  • 350 g pork kidney, blanched, cut into strips
  • 300 g sour cream
  • 200 ml water
  • 150 g onions, chopped small
  • 150 g smoked bacon, cubed
  • 60 g sunflower oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 30 g hot paprika
  • 1 tsp mild paprika
  • 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 5 g marjoram
  • Salt, two large pinches

Sauté onions in oil in a large frying pan over a low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, add hot paprika, allow to soak in.

Put pan back on heat, add beef, garlic, majoram and seasonings, sauté until beef is brown.

Add half the water, simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.

Add pork, brown, simmer for 10 minutes in remaining water.

In a separate frying pan sauté bacon and kidneys over a medium heat. When the kidneys are cooked add mushrooms and seasonings, cook for five minutes.

Pour contents of bacon pan into beef pan, simmer for ten minutes, add mild paprika, then the cream and bring to a low boil.

LEGENDARY DISHES

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GLOSSARY     HIGH FIVES     LEGENDARY DISHES     
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Indigenous Ingredients | Walnut

The tan-coloured walnut is the common walnut of Europe, introduced by the Persians into ancient Greece. Ancient Romans brought it to the rest of Europe.

The Persian walnut (now also known as the English and the Italian walnut) has a high oil content, and is used as a salad dressing because of its pungent nutty flavour.

It is also high in vitamin B6 and ion with a high protein content.

Walnuts featured heavily in the traditional foods of ancient eastern Mediterranean civilisations, from the Aegeans and Phoenicians to the Greeks and Scythians, but it was the Ottoman Turks who introduced walnut cookery to Europe, evidenced today by the amount of walnut pastries baked daily from the Balkans to the Caucasus and from the Iberian peninsula to the Swiss alps.


Pakhlava

TURKEY

The sweet walnut pastries eaten throughout the Balkans, the Caucasus, Greece and Turkey are older than the hills.

Cut into exquisite diamonds or shaped into delightful parcels they are still thought of as the food of the gods, just as they were 3000 years ago when the Assyrians decided to coat their flatbreads with date molasses and crushed walnuts.

The layered pastries we know today as baklava were refined over centuries of improvisation.

Pistachio rivalled the walnut, sugar syrup replaced date molasses and honey seduced those who believed it was an aphrodisiac.

This is the original, made by the Assyrians eons ago.

  • 500 g chapati flour
  • 250 ml mineral water
  • 250 g date molasses / Basra date syrup
  • 250 g walnuts, crushed, chopped
  • 50 ml water

Make a firm dough with the flour and mineral water. Shape into small balls, roll each one on a floured surface to the size of a tea-plate, 20 cm diameter.

Put a flat iron pan on a high heat for five minutes. Adjust heat, place a disk on the pan, cook for two minutes, flip over and give the other side two minutes. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

Dilute date molasses / syrup in water if necessary.

Spread each disk with a thin layer of molasses, sprinkle with walnuts, roll tightly into a cylinder, and smear molasses over the top. Finish with walnut dust.


Pakhlava

ARMENIA AZERBAIJAN GEORGIA RUSSIA UKRAINE

In Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Crimea, Georgia, Russia and the Ukraine, walnut pakhlava is a sweet multi-layered pastry.

Dough

  • 500 g pastry flour
  • 150 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 150 ml sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g butter
  • 15 g yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt, pinch

Filling

  • 250 g butter
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 250 g walnuts, crushed, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 vanilla pod, deseeded
  • Cardamom, large pinch

Topping

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Walnut halves

Syrup

  • 150 g honey
  • 100 ml water

Dissolve yeast in milk and sugar.

Sieve flour into a large bowl. Mix in butter, eggs, sour cream, salt and yeast liquid.

Form into a dough on a floured surface, knead for 10 minutes. Leave forban hour.

Put the walnuts into a bowl, mix with sugar and vanilla, then cardamom and cinnamon.

Grease a large deep rectangular baking tray.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cut dough into 13 pieces, form two pieces into one ball.

Roll the large ball out to cover the surface area of the tray and each of the four sides. The dough should be thin, no thicker than 1 mm.

Using the rolling pin, fold the thin sheet over the tray, push down into the corners, leave an overlap.

Melt the butter and brush the dough.

Roll a ball of dough to the size of the surface area of the tray, and, using the rolling pin, lay it on the bottom sheet. Brush with butter and sprinkle the walnut mixture over it.

Repeat with remaining balls.

Bring the sides of the bottom sheet over to enclose the layers. Brush with butter, sealing the edges with the egg.

Brush the top with the egg and cut squares, stopping the knife before the bottom layer. Press one walnut half into each square.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Make honey syrup, remove tray from oven, and brush top with butter. Spoon some of the syrup over the top, allow it to seep into cracks between the squares.

Put back in the oven until it takes on a reddish colour.

Allow to cool, remove from tray and cut into squares.

Dip each square into honey syrup. Give each side of the square three seconds to absorb the syrup.

Leave to cool.


Kadaif / Kadayif

BALKANS

In the Balkans they are faithful to the Ottoman tradition of using shredded filo pastry dough, using margarine instead of butter.

  • 1.5 kg sugar
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 750 g tel kadayif (wire pastry dough)
  • 360 g margarine / butter
  • 300 g honey
  • 150 g walnuts, crushed, chopped
  • 50 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice

Flake kadayif over a large rectangular baking tray, sprinkle walnuts on top, then another layer of kadayif, finally the margarine or butter.

Bake at 160°C for 35 minutes, until golden.

Cover and cool.

Dissolve sugar in water, bring to the boil, simmer until the liquid forms into a light syrup.

Heat honey, vanilla sugar and lemon juice.

Pour syrup evenly over the pastry.

Cut into squares.

Dip each square into honey liquid.

In Sarajevo, tradition calls for the kadaif to be served with olives and radishes.

Kataïfi

GREECE

The Greek version.

  • 1.5 kg sugar
  • 1.5 ml water
  • 750 g filo pastry sheets
  • 375 g walnuts, ground
  • 350 g butter
  • 30 g breadcrumbs, toasted
  • 15 g cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 vanilla pod, deseeded

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Combine breadcrumbs, cinnamon and walnuts.

Grease baking tray.

Lay a sheet of pastry on a damp linen towel, cover with one tablespoon of walnut mixture, roll into a sausage shape and place in tray. Repeat until pastry and filling are used up.

Heat butter, drizzle one tablespoon on each sausage.

Bake for 40 minutes, until golden.

Allow to cool.

Dissolve sugar in water, bring to the boil, simmer until the liquid forms into a light syrup.

Add lemon juice and vanilla.

Pour syrup over sausages.


Cevizli Çörek

TURKEY

These walnut parcels from Turkey evolved out of a desire to produce a simple variation of the walnut baklava.

  • 1 kg pastry flour 
  • 500 g walnuts, ground
  • 200 g butter
  • 20 g yeast
  • 15 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 15 g sugar

Disssolve yeast in milk and sugar.

Sieve flour into a large bowl, incorporate butter and yeast mixture.

Form into a dough on a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Roll dough out and cut into 4cm diameter rounds, 5mm thick.

Spoon some walnut into centre of each round. Fold into a parcel.

Place each pacel on a greased baking tray.

Bake at 160°C for 45 minutes, until the crusts are golden.


Harire

TURKEY SYRIA

A modern Assyrian interpretation, albeit not a pastry. That’s evolution for you.

  • 1.2 litres water
  • 250 g flour
  • 250 g grape molasses
  • 250 g sugar
  • 250 g walnuts
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger

Blend flour, molasses, sugar and water. Boil on low heat until the mixture reaches a thick consistency. Stir in spices, pour into bowls and garnish with chopped walnuts.


TRADITIONAL WALNUT DISHES

Ajika აკაკა GEORGIA

spicy walnut sauce

Aşure TURKEY Noah’s Pudding

wheat pudding with various ingredients including walnuts

Basler Walnussbrot SWITZERLAND

walnut bread with barley, rye starter

Birnenweggen SWITZERLAND

pear wedges with walnuts

Çerkez Tavuğu TURKEY Circassian Style Chicken

chicken with walnuts

Cevizli İncir Dolması / Syka Xerá me Karydia GREECE CRETE TURKEY

dried figs stuffed with walnuts
Layered walnut pastries

Cevizli Sarma TURKEY

layered walnut pastries

Cozonac ROMANIA

bread cake with walnuts

Fondue Apfel-Walnuss SWITZERLAND

cheese sauce with apples and walnuts

Garash BULGARIA

sweet walnut cake

Gavurdağ Salatası TURKEY

tomato, cucumber and pepper salad with walnuts

Hallva ALBANIA

sweet walnut paste

Icli Köfte TURKEY

bulgur, meat balls with walnut filling

Karidópita GREECE

walnut syrup cake

Kartoffel-Baumnuss-Brötchen SWITZERLAND

potato and walnut bread rolls
Potato and walnut bread rolls

Keşli Cevizli Erişte TURKEY

home-made noodles with cheese and walnut sauce

Kharcho ხარკო GEORGIA

meat in walnut sauce

Koripaparani (Cevizli Tavuk Tirit) TURKEY

chicken with walnuts

Lobio ლობიო GEORGIA

beans in garlic-walnut sauce

Malidjano MACEDONIA

aubergine with cheese and walnuts

Muhammara TURKEY

bread, red pepper paste and walnuts with yoghurt

Nussbrötchen / Nussbrötli GERMANY SWITZERLAND

milk bread rolls with walnuts

Nüsslisalat mit Frucht Vinaigrette FRANCE SWITZERLAND

cornsalad with fruity vinegar and walnut oil

Nüsstorte AUSTRIA GERMANY SWITZERLAND

nut cake with walnuts

Orehove Potica SLOVENIA

walnut bread

Pan de Nueces SPAIN

sweet walnut bread

Rainbow Trout with horseradish, lemon and walnut sauce ENGLAND FRANCE

Walnut rye bread

Roggenvollkorn Walnuss Brot GERMANY SWITZERLAND

walnut rye bread

Salsa di Noci ITALY

walnut sauce

Samsa TURKEY

puff-pastry triangles filled with walnuts in syrup

Satsivi GEORGIA

walnut sauce

Skordalia GREECE

garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, potatoes, walnuts

Supë Pule me Arra ALBANIA

chicken and walnut soup

Ynkuyzov Sous Ընկույզով Սոուս ARMENIA

walnut sauce



Legendary Dishes | Cevizli Çörek (walnut parcels)

These walnut parcels from Turkey evolved out of a desire to produce a simple variation of the walnut baklava.

1 kg pastry flour
500 g walnuts, ground
200 g butter
20 g yeast
15 ml milk, lukewarm
15 g sugar

Disssolve yeast in milk and sugar.

Sieve flour into a large bowl, incorporate butter and yeast mixture.

Form into a dough on a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Roll dough out and cut into 4cm diameter rounds, 5mm thick.

Spoon some walnut into centre of each round. Fold into a parcel.

Place each pacel on a greased baking tray.

Bake at 160°C for 45 minutes, until the crusts are golden.


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Indigenous Ingredients | Apricot

On August 7, 1953 apricot growers and their supporters besieged the small town of Saxon in the Swiss Valais canton to protest about the huge amount of Italian imports they claimed inhibited the sale of their produce. Freight trains carrying the Italian imports were looted and burned. The railway line and main road through the Rhône valley were blocked for several days. Consequently an agreement was made to restrict the foreign imports to aid the sale of the domestic produce.

Eight years later the growers faced another challenge when hazardous emissions from a factory in Martigny began to damage their crops. An 18-year campaign finally brought sanctions against the factory owners and in 1982 the Swiss Federal Court issued an order for compensation to be paid to the growers.

Of the 176 apricot growers in the Valais today most develop the luizet variety, supplying two-thirds of the one million kilos needed to make approximately 120,000 bottles of 70 centilitres Abricotine at the distillery in Martigny.

Two hundreds years after they were first cultivated in the Rhøne valley, apricots (and apricot brandy) are now established in the food culture of the region, the warm, dry Valais climate perfect for the sensitive luizet. Planted on the south-facing embankments of the valley, apricot trees thrive in alluvial soil.

Despite the success of this Swiss apricot story, the best apricots in Europe still come from Anatolia, where the climate and soil has always been conducive to consistently high quality production.

While the Austrians of Wachau and the Swiss of the Valais / Wallis turn their delicate fruit into apricot brandy (and liqueur), the Turks treat the apricot like a fruit from the gods and produce a quarter of the world crop to prove it. They eat apricots fresh, dry them in the sun and extend their usefulness in various ways, because they have always known the health benefits.

beta carotene to thwart cancer
fibre to aid digestion
iron to prevent anaemia
potassium to boost the heart and kidneys
and vitamins A, C and E to keep the body functioning

Nine tenths of the dried apricot market arise from Anatolia and are shipped around the world, where they are appreciated for their nutritional value – 100 grams of dried apricot contains 24 grams of dietary fibre, one gram less than an adult’s daily requirement.

Apricots make their way into a range of baked, cooked and processed foods in Turkey. They preserve their shelf life and consequently their health benefits by making them into jam and paste, starters for countless products.

Turkish apricots are of a higher quality, primarily because they are original cultivars (native species, not cross-cultivated) and have the best growing conditions in Anatolia.

The native roxana is being developed because it is early (July), has a large fruit (80-120 grams) and is resistant to cold. Red with orange flesh, the kernel is sweet.

Armenian, Austrian, Greek and Hungarian apricots are also old species varieties.

The European season is May to July and through to September in some regions.

Breeders are constantly working to produce sweeter apricots by identifying the original cultivars.


Kayısı Reçeli (apricot jam)

  • 1 kg apricots, fresh unblemished
  • 1 kg / 800 g sugar
  • 400 ml water (optional)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Apricot kernels

There are two distinct methods of making apricot jam.

Halve the apricots (retaining the stones) and steep overnight in the juice of one lemon and one kilo of sugar.

Crack open the stones to extract the kernels, which should be blanched to remove the skins.

Put the apricot-lemon-sugar mixture in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring gradually and slowly to the boil until the sugar crystals have dissolved, about 15 minutes. Add the kernels for the last 10-15 minutes, testing the mixture for solidity.

This done by placing a plate in the refrigerator, spooning some mixture onto the plate. If it forms a skin and begins to set it is ready to go immediately into hot sterilised jars.

The second method calls for less sugar, which should be dissolved in the water before the apricots are added. Boil them in the sugar mixture for 10-15 minutes, add the lemon juice and kernels, reduce and test.

The first method retains the shape of each apricot half, the second produces the consistency of jam and is almost like a paste, which brings us to the next popular apricot product in Turkey.

Kayısı Pestili (apricot paste)

  • 1 kg apricots
  • 100 ml water

Halve the apricots, discarding the stones, and simmer in the water until they are soft, about 20 minutes.

Liquidise, pass through a sieve and place the pulp on a buttered baking dish. Cover with cheesecloth and leave to dry in the sun until dry and leathery.

Alternatively, placed the tray in a low preheated oven, around 90°C, and bake for about two hours.

This apricot leather can be cut and reconstituted in warm water for various uses, in soups and stews, and in cakes and pastries.

One such is the Viennese Sachertorte, arguably Europe’s favourite aristocratic chocolate cake.

Sachertorte (chocolate and apricot cake)

The smooth consistency of the chocolate icing gives this cake its celebrated Viennese appearance but it is the inner apricot glaze that makes it iconic. The recipe for the original Sachertorte, made by 16 year old apprentice chef Franz Sacher at the court of Prince Metternich in 1832, remains a secret.

There are now many versions of the cake. Among the best are found in Bologna at the Neri Pasticceria beyond the gate on via Saragozza and at the Caffe la Serra near the Arsenal in Venice.

Only the Italians!

This is an adaptation of the version provided by Austrian Tourism.

  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 200 g apricot jam or paste, smooth for spreading
  • 200 g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 150 g butter, softened
  • 150 g flour
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 75 g almonds, ground
  • 50 g vanilla sugar
  • 50 g sugar
  • Salt, pinch
  • Butter and flour for cake tin / mould
  • Icing (200 g dark (70% cocoa) chocolate / 250 g sugar / 100 ml water / 50 g butter)

Melt chocolate slowly in a bain-marie. Cream the butter with the icing and vanilla sugars, stirring in the egg yolks one by one.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Grease a cake tin with butter and sprinkle with flour.

Vigourously beat egg whites with sugar to form a stiff peak when lifted. Stir the melted chocolate into the butter-egg paste and carefully fold in the whipped egg whites alternately with the flour and salt, and the ground almonds if preferred.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 55-60 minutes.

Turn the cake onto a board and allow to cool, turn again after 25 minutes. This will give the cake a flat surface on each side.

Reconstitute apricot paste in warm water to make 200 grams of soft jam.

Divide the cake into two equal bases. Smooth jam over each base and place one on the top of the other, coating the edges with the remaining jam. Leave to set.

Dissolve the sugar in the water gradually over a medium heat until it begins to boil. Cook for five minutes, turn off heat and allow to cool.

Break chocolate into small pieces, add a few at a time stirring until the glaze is smooth. In a single movement pour the chocolate glaze over the cake, and with a broad-bladed knife smooth out until the surface and edges are coated.

Apply decorations and leave to cool at room temperature.


Traditional Apricot Dishes

Milk bread rolls with apricots

Amaretti ITALY almond, apricot kernels and honey macaroons

Aprikosen-Brötli SWITZERLAND milk bread rolls with apricots

Aprikosenkuchen mit Streuseln SWITZERLAND apricot crumb cake

Aprikosentörtli SWITZERLAND apricot tart

Birnbrot SWITZERLAND fruit bread

Brac de Gitano ANDORRA apricot cream roll

Hutzelbrot GERMANY festive fruit cake

Marillenknödel AUSTRIA apricot potato dumplings

Marillenkuchen AUSTRIA apricot cake

Oie Rôtie aux Fruits FRANCE roast goose with apple, pear, dried apricot, prune

Plov, Shirin EUROPE basmati rice with apricot, date, plum, raisin, saffron

Plov, Shirin AZERBAIJAN basmati rice with apricot, date, plum, raisin, saffron, fried meat

Tarte Tatin FRANCE apricot tart

Yaini ARMENIA AZERBAIJAN GEORGIA RUSSIA beef soup with dried apricots


Apricot Varieties

Swiss apricots

Aprikoz TURKEY (700,000 tonnes)

Bebeco GREECE (41,000)

Bergarouge FRANCE (160,000)

Bergeron FRANCE

Búlida SPAIN (83,000)

Canine SPAIN

Erevan ARMENIA

Klosterneuburger / Kegelmarille AUSTRIA

Luizet SWITZERLAND

Mitger SPAIN

Orangered FRANCE

Red Galta SPAIN

Rouge du Roussillon FRANCE

Roxana TURKEY

Rózsakajszi HUNGARY

Tyrinthos GREECE


Adapted from Fruits of Europe.

Indigenous Ingredients | Paprika Peppers

TurkishPaprika-low-res

Turkish Paprika Flakes


Native to America and Asia, and related to chilli, the sweet pepper that produces paprika is grown primarily in the Balkans, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain and Turkey, and used as an essential ingredient in sauces, soups, stews and in poultry, meat and vegetable dishes.

In Hungary it is sold hot, mild and sweet in five grades, from light red (hot) to dark red (mild).

In Spain it is sold plain and smoked, hot, mild and sweet.

In Turkey it is sold as flakes and as powder.

Paprika is so entrenched in Hungarian food culture it is hard to believe it was only following the winter of 1875 that these chilli peppers became a resident flavouring in soups and stews – 300 years after they were first brought into the country.

Grown in the Kalocsa, Szeged and Szentes regions, they were originally known as Turkish peppers.

Suddenly they were Hungarian!

A paprika drying plant was built in Kalocsa in 1880 followed in 1917 by a paprika experimental farm, where the mild sweet varieties that have made Hungarian paprika famous were bred.

Paprika grown in the Szeged region travelled the world, the climate in the floodplains of the Körös, Maros and Tisza rivers producing a brilliant red sweet pepper.

Known for its characteristic colour, a natural consequence of the ripening and drying procedure, Szegedi paprika is now a window into Hungary’s peasant paprika culture.

North of Szeged is the Szentes region. Here in the low-lying basin of the Great Hungarian Plain, migrating Bulgarian market gardeners made good use of the sloping land and hotter climate, in 1895 producing most of the Hungarian paprika harvest.

They specialised in pre-germination hotbed production, practicised nursery bed inter-cropping, developed chain-bucket wheel irrigation systems, and managed the humus-rich alluvial soil – creating the perfect micro-climate for their produce.

Paprika production has been constant in Szentes ever since, the methods introduced by the Bulgarians continuing to yield ‘an exceptionally flavoursome, hot, sweet or spicy taste’.

The contrasting peppers from these regions make Hungarian paprika unique, different to Spanish and Turkish varieties.


Lecsó / Lečo

BALKANS

pepper and tomato condiment

Fresh paprika peppers and juicy tomatoes, being plentiful throughout the Balkans, are stewed and bottled for use as condiments. Every household keeps lecsó, made or bought.

The home-made versions include numerous additional ingredients and variations of ratios between the peppers and tomatoes, this is the base sauce – 1 part peppers to 1 part tomatoes, a third onions and sufficient oil to sauté the onions and coat the ingredients. The ground paprika quantity is always personal.

  • 2.5 kg green and red paprika peppers, fresh, de-seeded, chopped
  • 2.5 kg tomatoes, fresh, chopped small
  • 800 g onions, chopped
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 25 g sweet paprika 10g sugar

Sauté onions in the oil over a low heat in a large frying pan for 15 minutes, add peppers, cook for ten minutes, add tomatoes, sugar and paprika, cover and simmer for an hour.


Paprikás Csirke

HUNGARY

paprika chicken

  • 2 kg chicken, cut into large pieces, leg and thigh separated
  • 400g onions, chopped
  • 300 ml smetana / sour cream
  • 150g lecsó
  • 2 paprika peppers, fresh
  • 15g sunflower oil
  • 15 g flour
  • 10 g sweet paprika
  • Salt, pinch
  • Water, for deglazing

Warm oil in a deep, wide saucepan, sauté onions for ten minutes until soft, cover and cook for an hour over the lowest heat.

Lift the lid every 15 minutes and allow the condensation to pour back into the pan.

When the onions are browned and wilted they are ready.

Bring heat up to medium, add a little more oil if the onions are sticking to the pan.

Add chicken pieces, skin side down, brown for five minutes. Remove into a wide soup bowl.

Take pan off heat.

Sprinkle paprika on top of the onions, leave covered for five minutes.

Deglaze saucepan with sufficient water to cover the base.

Put chicken back with any juices in the bowl, add lecsó and peppers, cover and cook for an hour.

Add a pinch of salt.

Remove chicken pieces again, quickly reduce liquid to a paste.

Turn heat to low, stir flour into the paste and slowly add sour cream.

Turn heat up until gentle bubbles appear on the surface. Put chicken back, cover and heat gently in the creamy sauce, about five minutes.

Serve with galuska.


Traditional Paprika Dishes

Acılı Ezme Salatası TURKEY cucumber, mint, paprika, spring onion, tomato salad

Canapés de Queso Pimentón SPAIN ricotta and smoked paprika canapés

Chorba / Ciorba BALKANS bean, herb, paprika, vegetable soup

Pörkölt HUNGARY beef, lamb or pork paprika stew

Pulpo Pimentón IBERIAN PENINSULA octopus with hot paprika

Tokány ROMANIA beef, pork, bacon, sour cream, herb and spice paprika stew


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[CAPITAL FOOD] ISTANBUL | TURKEY

TheIstanbulSimit
The Simit – Street Food of Istanbul

Sokak Simit

Street food in Istanbul has always been an art-form and there is one treat that never disappoints – the sesame rings called Simit. This is the crispy version, known as street simit.

Dough

  • 1 kg flour
  • 450 ml water, warmed
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 30 g yeast
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g sugar

Coating

  • 400 g sesame seeds
  • 120 ml grape molasses
  • 120 ml water
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 15 g flour

Activate the yeast with the sugar in the lukewarm water.

Sift flour with salt. Add yeast water and oil.

Knead on floured surface until smooth, about 15 minutes.

Cover, leave to rise for two hours, degas once.

Cut into 60 g pieces, roll into long thin sausages. Twist into spirals and join together to form a ring.

Prepare an oiled baking tray.

Put flour, oil, molasses and water in a deep bowl, and scatter sesame seeds on a wide plate. Dip each ring into the molasses water, then into the sesame seeds, making sure they are well coated, place on tray.

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Cover and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.


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