Recipe – Menemen – Turkish eggs, tomato & pepper

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A friend of mine posted a photo of her menemen for breakfast at the weekend, and I showed Berkay – he licked his lips and said how much he missed it, so he cooked it for our dinner Saturday night. Turkish menemen is the easiest dish to make ever, and a good way to use up whatever you have left in the fridge, especially squishy tomatoes! It’s so simple but so tasty, and you’ll have to trust me when I say it tastes much better than it looks in my photos.

Ingredients (for 2-3 people)
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil or a knob of butter
– 3-4 eggs
-one chopped onion
– 2 chopped green peppers (the long, thin kind you find in international food stores – not a normal bell pepper, although you could try that!)
– 3-4 tomatoes diced up (or tinned tomatoes for a richer flavour)
– salt & pepper to taste

Optional extras 
– chilli flakes, spinach, anything else you fancy, I’ve even seen some people crumble some feta cheese on top.

 First, heat the oil/butter in a pan and add the chopped onion and pepper. Berkay didn’t actually use pepper this time as we didn’t have any – they don’t usually sell the long, thin peppers in supermarkets but you can get them from international food shops. We walked past an Asian greengrocer stall and saw lots on there but didn’t think to get any – we’ll have to visit the local Turkish food store and stock up. You could try and use a normal bell pepper but I’m not sure how well it would work.

Next, add the tomatoes. Usually, we peel the tomatoes and chop them but you don’t have to. Berkay left the skins on this time, chopped them small and made sure all the juices were in the pan. For a bit more flavour, you could use a tin of chopped tomatoes and they’d be much juicier. Berkay says the tomatoes here are just not the same as Turkey and I agree with him – another thing to stock up on at the local Turkish food store next time!

We added spinach at this point just because I really like it, but it’s not usually a key ingredient of menemen!

Let the pan simmer for a couple of minutes, you want all the onion, pepper and tomatoes to be soft and plenty of juices to be in the pan.

Then, make little pockets in the mixture and crack your eggs into them. You can leave them whole, or mix them in so it’s more like scrambled eggs – it definitely looks more appetising when you leave them whole, but they cook more evenly when you scramble them in. Once you’ve added the eggs, add your salt, pepper and/or chilli flakes and cover the pan with a lid. Leave it to simmer for another 1-2 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs to be.

Usually, menmen is served in a special silver pan, along with some fresh, crusty bread or a seedy simit. Delicious, simple, filling and cheap!

Special thanks goes to Maxine for posting the photo of her food that inspired us to make it. Poor Berkay really struggles with the food here and adjusting to the different portion sizes and more convenience style food, he especially finds it hard not eating a whole loaf of bread with his dinner like back in Turkey, so he’s always excited when he sees photos of Turkish food and I often find him salivating staring at the photos on his phone!

Please, trust me when I say it tastes better than it looks!

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Taze Fasulye – Turkish green beans recipe

This is another one of my favourite Turkish dishes, so simple to make, cheap and perfect on a winters day served with crusty bread.

Vegetables are a big part of Turkish cuisine, mainly because meat is so expensive. Most typically Turkish families will eat very occasionally, perhaps chicken once or twice a week and red meat only on special occasions so they are experts at making delicious meals from few ingredients. taze fasulye is one of these dishes.

As always, the amount of ingredients you need varies depending on how many people you want to feed, this made more than enough for 2 of us, you can always make more and freeze it, that works well.
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Ingredients:
fresh green beans (around 500 grams)
2 onions diced
2 ripe, juicy tomatoes diced
1 large red pepper chopped (optional)
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato paste
3 cloves of garlic (optional)
salt
olive oil
water

First, prepare the beans. Rinse them, then pinch off the top and bottom of the beans and string them. Then break them into smaller 1.5 – 2 inch pieces. Do this with all of the beans.

Add a good drizzle of olive oil in the bottom of a fairly deep non stick pan (it must have a lid too). Add the beans, making sure the heat is turned down low so they do not burn. Stir often to avoid the beans burning, you just want them to soften slightly.

After 3-5 minutes, add the diced onion (and pepper if you wish – it just adds a little something to the flavour) and fry until the onions are soft and translucent in colour.
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Get a heaped tablespoon full of tomato paste (domates salçası here in Turkey) and stir into the pan with the beans, onions and peppers. Leave this to cook together for 1-2 minutes.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and garlic into the pan along with enough water to cover the beans. Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt to flavour. Cover the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let them simmer for 30-45 minutes until everything is soft and the sauce is reduced.
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Serve with rice or just on its own with fresh crusty bread. Berkay had his with a side bowl of yoghurt and hot, pickled chili peppers! We went through 2 loads of bread between us with this dish… but if you can avoid that it’s fairly healthy and delicious. It’s lovely when served cold too, a good side dish.
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Enjoy!

Kuru Fasulye – Turkish white bean stew recipe

I really like Turkish food, and this is a delicious, easy dish to make. I posted a photo on Facebook earlier this week and a few people asked for the recipe, so here is the version I follow…
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Please note, we judge things by eye, we don’t really measure things, you’ll need to adjust the recipe based on your taste. This recipe is more than enough for 2-3 people, we had leftovers.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups of dried white beans. (Dried cannellini beans is the name I believe, you can buy them in supermarkets in the UK – I checked).
1 or 1.5 onions, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato paste
olive oil
salt
red pepper flakes
water

First, you need to soak the beans in water for around 12 hours, or overnight the day before you plan to cook them.

When you’re ready to start cooking, drain and rinse the beans then put them into a large saucepan/cooking pot with 4-5 cups of fresh water, bring this to the boil and then turn down to a low heat. Leave this to boil gently for around 45-60 minutes, but keep checking back and topping up the water as required. You need to cook the beans until they are soft, but not quite fully cooked.

Once they reach this stage, you can begin to prepare the other ingredients, but don’t turn off the heat on the beans.

Add a little olive oil to a frying pan and saute the onion with the olive oil for around 3-5 minutes or until soft, don’t let them burn. (If you wanted to add meat, you could at this point, diced red meat works well. You could also add peeled, chopped tomatoes and/or peppers if you wish – we didn’t).

Then add your tomato paste, stirring it into the onions. Once it is all stirred together and soft, add this mixture to the beans and water and stir gently. You can add salt and red pepper flakes, we like this dish both salty and slightly spicy, so we added quite a lot of both.

Leave this on a low heat to simmer for around 20-30 minutes, or until the beans are soft enough for your liking, there’s no set time and cooking times vary according to the appliance, just keep an eye on the beans and keep testing them until you’re happy with the taste and texture.

The result is a delicious, hearty bean stew. We serve it with a plate of rice and fresh, crusty bread, which is perfect for dipping in and mopping up the ‘juice’ – yum! Berkay eats his with a quarter of raw onion covered in salt, I never understand that, it must be a Turkish thing!

It’s such a cheap and easy dish to make, it’s filling and really warms you up too so it’s a very popular winter dish here. We don’t make it too often as it uses up a lot of our gas bottle due to the length of the cooking time, but you can easily make it in bulk and freeze the leftovers. It’s also possible to skip the first 2 steps and use canned white beans instead, which greatly reduces the cooking time.

I’m always a little nervous posting recipes, I’m not a very good cook and all these Turkish dishes I learnt from Berkay so I’m hoping he knows his stuff and is teaching me well – it’s difficult to learn when he’s not very specific on exact measurements! Let me know if you try this recipe, or perhaps suggest a different version? Have you tried the dish before?

I’ll be posting a Turkish rice recipe soon.. (:

Recipe: Patlıcan Salatası (aubergine salad)..

When I moved here I had never tried an aubergine, nor did I want to… but after a few BBQ’s with our friends here in Fethiye, I realised this dish was an important and unavoidable part of the Turkish BBQ experience, so I gave in and tried some… I’m now in love with it and it’s actually one of my favourite foods!
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It’s name is ‘Patlıcan Salatası ‘ (aubergine/eggplant salad). When cooked on the coals of the BBQ then prepared and made into a salad, aubergines have a unique smokey taste and this dish is perfect when served as a side salad along with grilled meat and crusty bread, yum!

Ingredients:
3-4 aubergines
2 medium red peppers
2 medium onions
2 medium tomatoes
1 lemon (for the juice)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
Salt

(You can play around with the amount of each to suit your taste – this is just a rough guide of what we use, but it really depends how much we have left in our fridge!)

Once the BBQ is lit and ready to grill on, put the aubergines and peppers directly into the hot coals. Turn them occasionally with a pair of tongs so that they cook evenly. They need to remain in there for around 15 minutes until they are soft and the skins are blackened. This is important, as this is what gives them the real smoky barbequed taste. Once they get to this point and look similar to mine below, take them out and set them aside until cool enough to handle.
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While they are cooling down, you can prepare the other ingredients…

You can either cook the onions and tomatoes by putting them into the coals for 10-15 minutes until they become soft, or if you’d prefer, leave them raw and slice up into the salad as they are. It’s down to personal preference and it’s delicious both ways.

Peel the cloves of garlic and chop into small thin pieces.
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Once the aubergine and peppers have cooled down a little (and the onion and tomatoes if you chose to cook them too..) you need to peel the skins off (or just the outside few layers of the onion). If they have been sat in the coals long enough, the skins should peel off really easily. It’s a messy job and be careful not to burn yourself as they will still be very hot inside. (Yes, I’ve learnt the hard way on more than one occasion- oops!)

Cut off the top/stalk end of the aubergines and peppers (some people like to remove the seeds too but we always leave them in) then chop up everything into smaller pieces – the aubergines, peppers, onions and tomatoes – and add them all into the same bowl.

Add the garlic into the bowl along with the olive oil and salt. All the Turkish people I know are obsessed with oil and salt so they add a lot of both, but you can adapt it to your own taste.

Finally, cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the salad – mix it all together and that’s it!
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It doesn’t look very appealing, and I think that’s why I was so resistant to try it, but it really does taste delicious, especially when cooled down and served with barbequed meat and crusty bread. The bread is perfect for dipping into the juice at the bottom of the bowl – yum!

Let me know if you’ve ever had this dish, is it always part of your Turkish BBQ’s? Will you be trying this recipe out for yourself?