Saturday, 3 November 2012

Turkish Lentil Soup - Ezo Gelin

MoFo may be over but I'm still only half way through my virtual journey, so my plan is to carry on round the Med, cooking a few dishes from each country I pass through and posting maybe two or three times a week. For the time being I'm still in Turkey. It's a cold day today so I'm cooking soup. There are many different versions of Ezo Gelin, most including bulgar wheat, but this is the one that most closely resembles the soup I had at a little restaurant near the Spice Market in Istanbul some years ago. Lemon juice and mint are what make this lentil soup stand out from the crowd.

Ezo Gelin 

450 g red lentils
8 cups water
1 onion, finely chopped
6-8 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
300 g fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped

Cook the lentils for about 15 minutes until they begin to soften. Remove from the heat and set aside. Meanwhile saute onion and garlic in a little water together with the spices for around 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for around 15 minutes. Stir in the lentils, add lemon juice and mint and bring to the boil. Cook for another 10 minutes, stir in most of the mint and serve topped with a little mint.

I served mine topped with half a bag of sweet bistro salad leaves comprising red chard, beetroot and lambs lettuce.


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

MoFo Day 31/3: Radish and Carrot Salad

On one  visit to Turkey we were staying in a hotel in Ankara where there were bowls of olives and glasses of carrot sticks in lemon juice in the hotel bar. That was the first time I discovered that I love olives and that raw carrots were not only edible but positively enjoyable. I found a recipe for this salad here and after a minor adjustment, here is my final MoFo post as a tribute to that experience.

Havuklu Turp Salatasi (Radish and Carrot Salad) 

1 carrot, peeled and grated 
4-5 radish, sliced and cut into half moons

2 Tbsp vegetable stock
2 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 

Combine grated carrot and sliced radish. Mix together vegetable stock and lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over the carrot and radish and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with sumac and top with chopped parsley. Top it with some herbed olives for the complete experience.


MoFo Day 31/2: Shepherd's Salad

My second salad for today is a very simple but tasty salad of tomato and cucumber which I first came across in Istanbul. I subbed the olive oil in the recipe with some vegetable stock for the dressing. It works surprisingly well. The vegetarian version of this salad contains feta cheese but marinated tofu is a tasty sub.

Çoban Salatasi (Shepherd's Salad)

60 g tofu, diced
Half a cucumber
10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small green or orange bell pepper, diced
3 spring onions

1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbsp vegetable stock
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinade the diced tofu in dressing for at least 30 minutes. Combine the diced cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions and pepper, mix in the marinated tofu, stir in the dressing and top with chopped herbs.


MoFo Day 31/1: Beetroot and Apple Couscous

I'm finishing up MoFo with a trio of posts of salad recipes. The first is a recipe I learned from my cousin Janet whose husband is Turkish. The raw beetroot in this salad gives it a jewel-like quality, the cooking apple and red wine vinegar make a nice sharp contrast to the sweetness of the beets and the bland taste of the couscous. Janet uses cooked beetroot in this recipe. I misread the recipe the first time I made it and used raw beets and it tasted so good I've used raw beetroot ever since. 

Beetroot and Apple Couscous

1 medium red beetroot, peeled and grated
1 medium cooking apple, peeled and grated
50 g couscous

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable stock
2 Tbsp soya yoghurt
salt and pepper to taste

Cover couscous with boiling water and set aside for about 5 minutes. Stir in the grated beetroot and apple. Combine dressing ingredients whisk well and stir into the couscous mixture.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

MoFo Day 30: Red Lentil Kofte

I haven't been eating enough raw veg over the last week or so. I really don't much care for salad - it always seems too boring and there is something much more comforting about hot food.  I really need to find a way of eating more raw food though so I decided to focus on finding one new salad recipe each of the next few days. 

I'm starting out with lentil koftes. Always served in a lettuce leaf, these would form the centre of a good salad dish. I found a number of recipes for this dish - one in my Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookery cook, another at Almost Turkish blog and yet another at Hayriye's Turkish Food and Recipes Mine is a hybrid mix of all 3 recipes, subbing the olive oil with vegetable stock and

Red Lentil Kofte

1/2 cup red lentils, well rinsed
1 onion finely chopped
1/4 cup bulgar wheat
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Little Gem or small Romaine lettuce

Cover well rinsed lentils in water, bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes, until lentils are soft but still holding their shape, adding more water as necessary. Remove from the heat season with a little salt, stir in bulgar wheat, cover and leave for at least 10 minutes.

In another pan saute the onion in a little vegetable stock for 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste, cumin and paprika and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the the lentil mixture. Add lemon juice, parsley, mint and chopped spring onions. and combine well. When the mixture is quite cold, serve wrapped in lettuce leaves.


Monday, 29 October 2012

MoFo Day 29: Green Lentil Stew

I adapted this recipe from one I found at the Almost Turkish blog. (Do check out this blog it has some great traditional and contemporary Turkish recipes.) The recipe as given there looks really good but my failure to cook much over the last few days meant that my body was crying out for leafy green veggies (who'd have believed that possible?) so I raided the fridge and added the last of the curly kale and some spinach. I also added some sumac, which isn't really necessary but added another taste dimension. Do add the sauce - it really brings a zing to the flavour.

Yeşil Mercimek (Green Lentils) 

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 dssp flour (I used chickpea flour)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 can (265g drained/cooked weight) green (Continental) lentils 
2.5 cups water
50 g chopped curly kale and/or fresh spinach (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh dill 
pinch of sumac (optional)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp chilli pepper flakes

Saute onion and garlic in a small amount of water for around 5 minutes until softened. Stir in flour and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes more. Add cooked lentils and water and cook for 20 minutes. Add kale and/or spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add chopped dill and a pinch of sumac if desired and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve topped with a spoonful or two of the sauce. I served mine with steamed veggies - broccoli, romanesco, petits pois and baby corn. It would be good with rice or bread as recommended in the original post.

serves 3 


Sunday, 28 October 2012

MoFo Day 28: Sweet Couscous

I'm still not feeling great so here's another quick and easy dessert. I found a recipe for sweet couscous using dried fruits but I'm trying to make the most of the last of this year's soft fruits so here is my version.

Sweet Fruit Couscous

110 g couscous
120 mls hot water
juice of 1 clementine
juice of half a lime
200 g mixed soft fruits - I used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and redcurrants
small handful of flaked almonds

Put couscous into a bowl and stir in the hot water. Leave for 10 minutes and then put the couscous into a colander and steam over a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and then stir in the clementine and lime juice, pile on the soft fruits and flaked almonds. 
serves 2