Karnıyarık — Fried eggplants with a minced meat, onion, parsley, garlic and tomato filling. This dish is a must. To make sure that what you get is a good one, check the eggplants. The dark color of the peel should not smudge on the peeled parts and the meat should not look too dark or dry.
Lahmacun — A pizza like dish with a topping of finely minced meat and onions with spices on flaky thin dough. It is served with tomatoes, lettuce, parsley or rocket and most people prefer to squeeze lemon on it and roll to eat easier like tacos. It originates from the early Syrian cuisine of the Levant and the name comes from Arabic “dough with meat”. It has been a popular fast food like dish in Turkey.
Kurufasulye — Beans, Turks just love it. It can be cooked with or without meat or even with dried spiced thin slices of beef called pastırma. Served with sade pilav (plain rice) and turşu (pickles and sauerkraut). The restaurants across Süleymaniye Mosque are the masters of this dish.
RUSTIC LAMB AND COCONUT CURRY
A fuss free north-Indian inspired curry with succulent lamb pieces and a creamy coconut and spice sauce makes your weeknight smell like an Indian restaurant.
- 500g lamb pieces
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large red onions
- 10 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- handful of coriander leaves
- 1 small red chili
- 1 tablespoon ghee/butter
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 (400g) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
Place lamb pieces and potato in a large bowl. Add turmeric and salt. Mix well. Cover and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Place onion, garlic, ginger, coriander leaves and chilli in the jug of a blender with 1 cup of water. Process until smooth. Set aside.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan or cast iron casserole, heat ghee on high. Add cinnamon, bay leaf, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and black cardamom. Saute for a few seconds. Add the marinated meat and potatoes. Saute for a few minutes, tossing occasionally until meat is sealed on the outside and starting to brown. Add the onion mixture and reduce heat to medium.
Add cumin, garam masala and tomatoes. Season with salt to taste. Cover and simmer on medium for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add coconut milk. Cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Serve hot with steamed rice.