Kuru Fasulye is a real winter comfort food. Made from dried white beans, onion, tomato, tomato paste and olive oil, it’s a kind of stew, great for warming you up in the cold winter months. You can add chunks of meat if you wish, lamb or beef usually. We love to eat it with fresh, crusty bread to mop it up, but it’s commonly served along side a dish of rice too! It’s one of the most popular dishes in Turkey, and you can buy it in lokantas, although there’s something really satisfying about making your own, if you have the time! Click HERE to read a recipe for this dish.
Turkish rice, the kind with the little brown bits in, is my favourite. It’s buttery, soft fluffy and a staple part of Turkish cuisine – a great side dish to any meal. It’s even a meal on its own with chick peas or beans. The little brown bits are şehriye ( you might know it as Orzo – a small kind of pasta) and it adds a little something to the flavour and texture. It can be cooked with oil or butter, or even a bit of both. Berkay has taught me to add chicken stock too to enhance the flavour even more!
It’s hard to master, but he’s given me a tried and tested fool-proof recipe which you can find on my blog HERE.
Beyti kebab is a popular kebab dish. Minced beef or lamb is cooked on skewers, then wrapped in thin lavaş bread (similar to tortilla wraps). It’s then sliced up into inch-thick pieces and arranged in a circle on a plate. A tomato based sauce is poured over the top, and yogurt placed in the middle. It’s a bit spicy, and usually served with rice. The combination of the rice and lavaş bread makes it very filling!
I’ve actually never had this dish in Turkey, but have in two different Turkish restaurants, one in London, one in Essex. It was served slightly differently in each place, one served it with peppers and tomatoes, and a thicker sauce, the other served it with cucumber.
It’s a good one to try – as long as you’re not put off by the sight of yogurt on your dinner plate. It took me years to get the hang of that!
Midye Dolma, or stuffed mussels, are a popular street food in Turkey, sold by vendors from carts along the streets and beaches in lots of cities and towns!
The mussels are cooked and stuffed with rice and herbs. You gently pull the top shell off, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the mussel and rice mixture, and use the top shell like spoon to scoop it out. I’ll be honest, I’ve never tried them as the thought of mussels just puts me off – but it does look good with all the rice stuffed inside.
They’re cheap, around 50 kurus – 1tl each depending on size, so it’s definitely worth a try. Berkay always goes to the same seller, just across the bridge by the water taxi’s in Calis.
Berkay absolutely loves them, I’m just not brave enough to try!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
I’m not a great cook, never have been and probably never will be, but for the past few months I’ve been cooking more often and trying my hand at some Turkish dishes after being ‘trained’ by Berkay. He rarely compliments my food, it’s never salty enough or oily enough, but a few days ago he told me my attempt at Turkish rice was great, and that’s good enough for me! ‘Turkish rice’ as I call it, is a tough one to master but I think I’ve nearly got it. I know it’s a favourite of some so here’s our version!
Ingredients for 2-3 people:
1 cup white rice ( In Turkey, we use Baldo rice, you may be able to find that in certain supermarkets in the UK but if not, basmati rice will be ok)
2 tablespoons şehriye (This is like a thin pasta, if you’re in the UK look for ‘orzo’ pasta which is almost identical)
A knob of butter
2 cups of hot water
half a chicken stock cube
salt and pepper to taste
+ a shallow saucepan with a lid
Firstly rinse the rice in cold water, then you need to soak the rice in HOT water for around 30 minutes before cooking. After the 30 minutes, wash the rice again in cold water, the water should run clear. Drain it well.
Heat the butter in the pan on a medium heat and once melted, add the şehriye. You need to keep an eye on it and keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn. Wait for it to change to a darker, toasted color.
Once it has changed colour, add the rice into the pan and stir thoroughly for a couple of minutes, again make sure the heat is on medium so that the grains do not burn.
Now add the hot water, half the chicken stock cube and a little salt. Stir a few times, turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low-medium and cover.
Leave the rice to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Now, if there’s one thing Berkay has taught me it’s to NOT lift the lid to check if the rice is done, this is apparently very important. How do you know if it’s done if you can’t open the lid? Well, give the pan a little shake, judge the best you can and/or just turn off the heat and hope for the best! It’s difficult to judge – it can either end up soggy, stuck to the pan or perfect and there is very little time between each stage. I find that 10 minutes is the perfect amount of cooking time for 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water.
Turn off the heat and keep the pan covered until you are ready to serve, again this is apparently very important!
Do you like this ‘Turkish rice’? Have you mastered it or found a better recipe? Let me know (:
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…
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.
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
red pepper flakes
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.. (: