Tuesday 30 August 2011


Yuvarlama is a regional special of where I am at the moment - Gaziantep.  It is delicous and has variations.  Today is the day it is eaten ( the day after Ramazan has finished) so this morning at 8am a neighbour came and gave us a generous amount for our breakfast. A bowl of rice pilav also came.

Neighbour 1

After eating this another neigbour came and gave us thier offerings.  Neighbour 1 had the tiny köftes made without meat and had a couple of pieces of meat in the yogurt soup.  Neighbour 2 had the köftes made with meat and some chicken in with the yogurt.  Neither had used a meat stock to thin out the yogurt.  As you can see even though the recipe is standard people do whatever they like or whatever they can to suit the budget.

Neigbour 2 yuvarlama with rice pilav

Making the köfte
What is Yuvarlama when it is broken down? It is a dish made with little rice bubble sized meatballs made usually with fat free mince(ground beef)and coarsely ground rice flour.(Neighbour 1 had just made the köftes out of rice)  These are then steamed and added to a yogurt soup that has a very small amount of beef or chicken and chickpeas.  Then on top of that they have a bright green mint sauce.

This is a time consuming job as you can imagine, most people make a kilos worth of meat and 500gr of rice flour and then make tiny tiny meatballs.  All the neigbours will sit with each other and get them all done over the period of a couple of days.

Here is the recipe.

1 kilo of fat free beef mince
500gr of rice flour
1 egg

Knead all this together until it is a dough.  Using oiled hands take tiny pieces of this mix and make rice bubble sized pieces. Set aside.  Steam over hot water in a colander until they are cooked (they usually change colour)

1 kilo yogurt
250gr of either cooked meat or chicken, diced or shredded
1 cup of cooked chickpeas
meat stock if wanted or water

Take the yogurt and put into a saucepan add in 1 cup of water or stock and whisk together.  You dont want this too thin or too thick.  Should be the same consistency of a tinned tomato soup.  Put the saucepan on the stove and heat slowly wisking well, dont bring it to the boil.  Add in the cooked meat and chickpeas and then 4 cups of prepared köftes.  Add in more water to cover and cook on a medium heat until everything has come together nicely which will take about 15 minutes.  Take off the heat and make the mint sauce.  Using about half a cup of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of mint put into a small saucepan and mix well, keep on the heat for a couple of minutes.       Pour ontop of the Yuvarlama and serve.

A couple of things to remember - you can make the meatballs with just the rice flour - you can use chicken mince to make the meatballs - you can omit the egg if you are making the meatballs with meat or chicken - if you dont like mixing meat and dairy do a chicken version or a meat version with rice meatballs.


Thursday 25 August 2011

Drying Veggies

This was taken on my friends balcony

This was taken from my window to the neighbouring roof top and she is drying eggplants

Gaziantep is famous for its dried chillies and eggplants that are then turned into stuffed dolma later in the year.  You can buy them pre dried at the various herbal/dried goods shops or make your own.  Making your own is preferred by most of the local women as they know that it is fresh and done properly.

An assortment of dried eggplant, zuchinni, okra and chillies
At the moment in the Bazaars you can get a kilo of eggplants for 25kurus so now is the time to buy for drying.  The hot chillies are also very cheap and most women have started if not finished this yearly chore.

The women will sit on the streets for hours with thier neighbours cleaning out the little eggplants.  Each household probably doing at least 50 kilos each.  The women will do one household at a time.  The more neighbours you have the less of a chore it becomes as everyone helps each other.

After hanging the eggplants or chillies in the sun until they are dried they then store them ready for winter eating. At this time the women also make huge amounts of pickles and dried pepper and tomato paste as the prices are down and the sun is still hot.  Last year I just did 20 kilos of each but wont be doing any this year as my neighbours have given my enough to cover our needs.

Some women also dry zuchinnis for stuffing and tomatoes.  I personally think that the dried tomatoes are the best as the taste is fantastic.  If you dont have enough sun to do this you can find a decent dehydrator and make these yourself.


Tuesday 23 August 2011

Urban Foraging, Ramazan

As you all know from my previous posts I am into Urban Foraging/Gleaning.  I have gone to ancient castles and picked caper berries, gleaned black pepper corns at ruins and picked various wild greens along the streets and parks. But what about something that is not technically gleaning or foraging but is still finding a full meal in a public place? Well in Turkey during Ramazan(Ramadan)this is made possible at various spots sponsored by local governments.  They set up huge tents and serve free food every night for anyone who is interested for the whole month of fasting.  So yesterday evening we lined up at our local tent to see what they were offering.  

The caterers happy to be serving

Everyone waiting for the signal to eat

The food was really good.  They gave out a lentil, rice soup and hot stuffed rice filled peppers.  There wa also a small amount of fried dessert and a couple of olives to break the fast.

I say be adventerous when it comes to foraging and gleaning(as long as it is legal) you just never know where it will lead you and what you can find.


Friday 19 August 2011


Hello to all my readers.  I havent been able to post for a couple of weeks as Im sure you have noticed as I am having technical problems on this end and with a 2 year old and a 4 year old it makes it nearly impossible to be able to go out to the internet cafes. 

Until my next installment hope you enjoy this Tarkan video.  I like Tarkan so hope you all do too.

Friday 5 August 2011

Bulgur Köfte with Chicken

This is a lovely, filling, easy köfte dish to make that most if not all people will eat.  You can make the Köfte ahead of time and freeze making this a very quick meal to make.

250 gr chicken pieces
2 cups prepared köfte
2 tbsp pepper paste(tomato)
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

You can either use chicken breast or chicken on the bone to make this dish.  Most people will use chicken on the bone that has been cut into small pieces.

Take a saucepan and put the chicken pieces into it, cover with water bring to the boil and then simmer until the chicken is cooked.  At this time add in the pepper paste, cooked chickpeas, salt and pepper then taste.  Add in more water until it covers the chicken well and bring to the boil.  Turn down to a simmer and add in the köfte.  While the köfte is coooking stir a couple of times.  The water level needs to be above the köfte.  If you need to add in more water only add in boiling water at this time.  When the köfte are ready they will rise to the top.  Taste again and if needed add in more pepper paste and salt.  Take off the heat and serve.

If you want to use chicken breast for this I would recommend frying the chicken pieces in some olive oil then adding in the water or chicken stock and following the rest of the recipe.

The reason why chicken on the bone is used is because the flavour is nicer and you are cooking the chicken first then using that stock to create the base of the dish.

I usually have in my freezer cooked chickpeas and prepared bulgur köfte making it easier to have dishes like this or pilavs on the table quickly.

Hope you enjoy this as it is a hearty meal yet not too heavy.  I will be giving a bulgur köfte based recipe for each week for the rest of the month.


Wednesday 3 August 2011

How to Make Bulgur Köfte

Making Köfte (meatballs) out of bulgur is very easy and the base of several dishes in Turkey. You can either make them the hard way  by hand or just put everything into your food processor and process with the metal blade until the mixture comes together.

A plate of prepared köfte waiting to be cooked into one of the many recipes

The size of these should be no bigger than the size of the average catseye marble or smaller.

prepared dough

2 cups fine bulgur (simit)

Put the bulgur into your food processor bowl with the metal blade.  Add in about 2 tbsp of flour, salt (to taste) and about 4 tbsp of water.  Pulse until well mixed, look at the mix if it is dry keep adding in very small amounts, tablespoonfuls at a time and keep pulsing until the mix is soft and pliable. Use your judgement to decide the flour and water amounts.  This dough should be able to hold together when being cooked.

Wet your hands with water, some people use oil, try both and see what works better for you. Take marble sized pieces and squeeze together to make sure the mix is bonded then roll well into small balls.  Keep wetting your hands while you work your way through the mixture.  Dont make them too wet or your mixture will become too wet to work with.  You have to be confident and fast when working with this dough as it dries out quickly making it harder and harder to be able to form the köftes.  If your mix becomes too hard add in a very small amount of water and knead through or using very wet hands knead it again until it becomes pliable.

Two cups of fine bulgur is enough to feed a family or enough for a buffet sized dish.

To cook the köfte put a large saucepan filled with water onto the stove and bring it to the boil.  In the water add a splash of olive oil.  When the water comes to a rolling boil add the köfte.  They dont take long to cook.  When they come to the top which is in about a few minutes take a slotted spoon and lift out of the water and put onto a plate.

You can eat these as is with an olive oil, tomato based dressing or add the köfte into soupy dishes to make hearty meals.

Coming up on Friday I will give you a easy dish using these köftes..

Monday 1 August 2011


The Döner is an institution in Turkey and you can see it in restaurants and on the streets.  It can be cheap to expensive depending on the area you go to.  I have lived in various cities and different areas in regional cities.  Some give hearty servings on lavash bread, some go for bread rolls with very little fillings and if you are in Gaziantep you are the luckiest for Döner. 

Here we discovered the many faces of the Döner.  They use a full sized pide with generous serves of salad and hot chillies.  The fillings are varied as well.  Most places in Turkey really just offer chicken or beef but here you have more of a choice.

various fillings
liver without salad


plain chickpea

hot chickpea

The above photos are showing a half portion of a chicken döner, a spicy and plain chickpea and the liver (Ciğer Kavurma).  There is another they do with red lentils and bulgur which is delicous but not many places do it and if they do they offer it in winter.

If you want to make these at home can you? yes of course you can and I will tell you how.

I have given the link for the liver one.  Liver may not sound tempting but let me assure you it really is.  For a chicken or beef all you need to do is use left over cooked chicken or beef slices. The chickpea one is very easy and a staple of most of the blue collar workers here in Gaziantep.  They usually get one or two of those with ayran for lunch everyday.  In Antep the price ranges from 1 lira to 2 for the non meat ones with the chicken or beef set at 1.75 to 2 lira.  It is a very good price and very filling making it an ideal quick well priced lunch.

1 can chickpeas or 1 cup of cooked 
pepper paste(tomato)
dried chilli

Take your cooked chickpeas and half mash with a fork.  Add in the pepper paste to taste along with the salt and chilli.  Cut up some lettuce, tomato and parsley to make a salad.  Using arabic style pita bread or lavash and place 2 or 3 tbsp of the chickpea mix onto it then adding salad and rolling up.  

If you want the liver or chicken or beef follow the same process but just by substituting.