Middle East

Köfte (Turkish meatballs)

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Such a long time ago I know…but I had a very good reason to neglect my blog (exams, thesis etc.) but I’m back for more! ūüôā¬†Let’s move on to¬†our recipe. Today’s dish and the 2nd out of the 3 will be k√∂fte. According to Wikipedia (check link below) it is believed¬†that there are 291 different kinds¬†of meatballs in Turkey. To be honest,¬†I don’t know¬†if there are that many¬†and I haven’t tasted them all¬†but I do know at least 15¬†of them. K√∂fte¬†(in different spellings) is also eaten¬†throughout the Middle East and the Maghreb. You can find them in different shapes and different tastes. It’s up to you to choose the¬†right one to your taste.¬†In Morocco for instance, they¬†add spices like cinnamon and coriander¬†to k√∂fte¬†(or kefta) to give it a sweet flavour.¬†In Turkey and¬†Greece¬†however this is not a common thing to do¬†because¬†k√∂ftes¬†are eaten more spicier. The recipe I am giving is the Turkish version,¬†slighty adapted to my taste ūüôā

ingredients:

  • 500¬†grams minced meat (lamb or beef or a¬†mixture¬†but¬†I prefer beef)
  • 2 onions
  • 3¬†slices of old dry bread or 2 or 3 ¬†tablespoons¬†bread crumbs
  • 2¬†garlic cloves
  • 1 egg
  • Bunch of parsley (flat leave preferred)
  • 2 tomatoes or 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • half a teaspoon oregano (optional)
  • 2¬†teaspoons hot chili flakes
  • salt and pepper

Chop the onions and parsley fine, mince the garlic cloves, add them with the¬†tomatoes and bread crumbs¬†to the meat.¬†Add¬†your spices and beat the egg¬†and start kneading¬†the mixture¬†for about 10 minutes.¬†After kneading,¬†leave it¬†to rest in the fridge¬†for about 3 hours (a day is even better). Take it out of the fridge and shape them¬†into little (flat) balls. Place the k√∂ftes on a tray and bake them¬†in the oven until they get brown. You can also¬†grill them or fry them in a pan. All cooking methods are fine but I prefer the oven because it’s less greasy ūüôā

Serve with¬†Turkish bread, salad and ayran! Or¬†with the cacik sauce ūüėČ

Afiyet olsun!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kofta

Morrocan mint tea

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Hiii¬†everyone. Today I’m going to share my all time favourite tea with you. Because of my Turkish background I grew up drinking tea. Tea was literally everywhere.¬† Just like me grewing up with Turkish tea, my Morrocan¬†friends grew up drinking mint tea. And¬†with them I¬†developed¬†some sort¬†of love for¬†mint tea. In Turkey, the Middle East and the Maghreb tea occupies a very important place. Since many moslims¬†don’t drink alcohol, tea is served¬†instead anytime anywhere. It is consumed daily but drinking tea becomes a real ceremony when guests come to visit. Actually, the true meaning of tea is hospitality. Meaning: no one ever leaves the house before having a cup :). While Turkish tea is prepared¬†with black tea (I’ll give the recipe soon) Moroccan mint tea is prepared¬†with green tea and mint leaves. Morrocans¬†like to drink their tea bitter and sweet. So, if you’re not a sugar lover (like they are) add less. I like to drink mine less bitter and less sugary, so I adjust it to my personal taste. If you don’t like the bitterness of it, don’t allow it to steep for too long (5 minutes is enough). Sometimes I add a tablespoon of orange blossom water to it for a different flavour. So, if you want to please your guests, you know what to do. Just serve them a cup (or 5) of tea. ūüôā

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of fresh mint leaves (washed)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese gunpowder tea
  • 1,5 tablespoon sugar
  • 1L water
  • orange blossom water (optional)

In order to wash the tea, put the tea in the teapot and add a bit of boiling water. Set aside and pour out the water after 1 minute. Your tea is clean now. (This process will make your tea taste less bitter).  Add the mint leaves, sugar and boiling water and leave it to steep for 5 minutes on the stove. Take a glass and pour some tea in it. Then pour the tea back in the pot. Repeat this two more times. This will mix the tea and dissolve the sugar. Now, pour the tea into glasses and serve.

Good to know:

  • Before serving pour the tea from a distance to create a layer of foam.
  • The tea turns bitter very quickly so consume within 15¬†or 20 minutes.
  • If you don’t have gunpowder tea at home use 2 or 3 bags of green tea.

Enjoy!

Hummus

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Who doesn’t love hummus right? This simple but¬†delicious¬†recipe is probably the most¬†well-known Middle Eastern dish. Everyone knows that it tastes different everywhere. As for me,¬†I¬†always prepare¬†the version with sumac or za’atar (a mix of dried herbs like thyme, oregano, sumac, chili, and salt)¬†which is the Palestinian or Lebanese version. I¬†find the Turkish one quite strong due to it’s overuse of tahini. What I most¬†love about hummus is that not only¬†it’s easy to make but¬†you can’t go wrong with it. Also good news if you’re obsessed with your weight ūüôā This -rich in protein- dish helps you control your sweet cravings and gives you a full and satisfied feeling.

Without food processor

With food processor

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (265ml)¬†of chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 or 1¬†lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame paste (tahini)
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley and basil (optional)
  • sumac (or za’atar)
  • olive oil¬†and 2 tablespoons sunflower oil (for the mixture)

Mash the garlic, add the chickpeas and lemon juice. Mix the other¬†ingredients until it’s smooth (use a food processor otherwise you’ll get a sticky mess (first picture). Drizzle some¬†(1 tablespoon is sufficient)¬†olive oil on top and garnish with chopped parsley and sumac! Add 2 tablespoons of water if the mixture is still thick.

Very delicious with toasted pita bread or nacho chips!