I know that my promise of a new recipe every 10 days have passed but I had to take several weeks off because of other urgent things I had to do (sounds very mysterious but it’s not believe me :D) Now that everything (well, almost everything) is over, I’ll have more time to keep my blog updated I PROMISE 🙂 To show my good will here is the last recipe out of the 3, which is called Poğaça (pronounced poha-cha). Poğaça is a traditional pastry eaten in Turkey, especially during breakfast. The traditional ones are prepared with feta cheese and parsley or just plain and you can find these anywhere. There are other types of Pogaça in Turkey (stuffed with meat or vegetables, sweet ones etc.) but this one is the most simple one. Traditionally, these buns are prepared with fresh yeast, for a better texture, but I had no fresh yeast or feta cheese so I kept it simple 🙂
- half cup milk or yoghurt
- 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons oil (or half cup of oil, sunflower preferred)
- 1, 5 cup of flour
- 1 sachet baking powder (or dried yeast)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
So just got back from a lovely holiday in Turkey. I had a great time eating all that delicious Turkish food and discovering the beauty of the country. The best part was the sun (of course), eating watermelons 3 times a day, visiting family members and shopping 🙂 While being back in cold Belgium and trying to adapt myself is hard I find making lots of Turkish food quite helps. Therefore, the next few weeks I’ll be sharing 3 Turkish recipes. Today’s recipe and the first out of the 3 will be Cacik! This dish eaten throughout almost all the former Ottoman countries, is very delicious and again very simple to make. It is made with yoghurt, which is actually a Turkish word. Anyone who has ever been to Turkey knows that yoghurt occupies an important place in the Turkish cuisine. Cacik is eaten as an appetizer (meze), sauce or as a side dish. Thick or diluted with water (depending on the occasion and food served) it can be served alongside everything, especially with meat dishes and rice. I think it’s an excellent choice on hot summer days for its refreshing and healthy ingredients. Cacik is quite similar to the Greek tzatziki (except that tzatziki is only consumed in the thicker version).
For approximately 3 bowls the ingredients are:
- 1/2 cucumber (if you’re using the European ones)
- 1,5 cup plain yoghurt (Turkish or Greek)
- 2 garlic cloves
- mint (dried or fresh)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- dill (dried or fresh)
- half a glass water
- Some salt to taste
Chop the cucumber finely or grate it (I always grate it) in a bowl. Add the yoghurt and mix to see if you need more. Crush the garlic and add it to the yoghurt. Lastly, add the spices (I prefer mint and dill but thyme is fine if you don’t have dill) and the water. Stir until you get a smooth consistency. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours so the ingredients can blend nicely. Pour into bowls, garnish with fresh mint leaves, drizzle some olive oil on top and serve.
Like I said, this recipe is so great that it goes with everything. Besides using it as a dip sauce, meze and side dish, Turks also eat it on its own as a soup (similar to the Spanish gazpacho) by mixing it with ice cold water.
Yesterday, a friend of mine gave me pure dried salep. I was familiar with salep of course but I’ve always had those instant salep mixes. She ensured me real salep was different, so I’ve decided to give it a try. I must say for a first attempt the result was: delicious!!! It tastes like Turkish ice cream (which is very different than the ice creams we know). A bit of useful information on Salep: Salep is a traditional Turkish drink. It was a popular beverage during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. It is produced from the bulbs of some species of the orchid family. They only grow in certain regions in Turkey. Real salep is expensive so the more expensive the better. You can find it (the instant ones) in your local Turkish supermarket, but for the real ones you should go to Turkey or any other former Ottoman land. All I can say is try it out and you’ll find out 🙂
For two cups you’ll need:
- 1 teaspoon of salep,
- 2 cups of whole milk,
- 1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
- vanilla (optional)
Mix the salep, the milk and sugar in a pan. Stir on low heat until you have a thicker consistency. (When removing from the stove you can add some vanilla). Pour into a cup and garnish it with some cinnamon on top. You can also add some chopped walnuts or pistachios as a topping.
PS I’m not even mentioning the health benefits. Just look it up 🙂
One of my favourite desserts is rice pudding. Not just any rice pudding but the traditional Turkish one. Originated from the Ottoman cuisine, it is a light and nutritious dessert. Although, every country has its own rice pudding recipe, for instance, the Spanish have their ‘arroz con leche’, the French their riz au lait’, the Flemish and the Dutch their ‘rijstpap/rijstebrij’, the Arabs their ‘Riz bi haleeb’ and etc., I only have a craving for the Turkish version. While most of the countries use cream along with milk, the Turkish one is just made with milk. Actually, I think it’s one of the most plain rice puddings out there using simple ingredients. Originally, in the Ottoman palaces this dish was made with rosewater. If you like rosewater I would strongly recommend you to try this dish out by adding 3 tablespoons of rosewater (and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom for a Persian version).
For 10 small bowls you’ll need:
- 1 cup of white rice (any rice is ok, but I prefer the broken one or short one)
- 1l of whole millk
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 cups of water
- 1 sachet of vanilla (optional)
- rice flour or corn starch (optional)
- rosewater (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of chopped pistachios or pistachio powder
Pour the rice and water in a pan and cook till the water is almost absorbed. Add the milk and stir gently (prevents sticking) until the milk starts to cook. Mix one spoon of rice flour with a cup of water and add to the mixture. Then add the sugar and vanilla and stir for another 5 minutes before removing from the stove. Garnish with cinnamon, chopped pistachios or almonds on top. Serve cold.