Türk Mutfağı-Turkish Cuisine, Translated…

We ate this tonight, and the house has this remarkable cinnamon-saffron-lamb fragrance that is so enticing I wish there were such a thing as smell-o-vision.

Please join me for another hands-on class at Pacific Culinary Studio in Everett. In Cooking for the Sultan, we'll recreate some of the delicious foods I discovered this summer on a trip to Istanbul.

Thursday, March 1st at 6:30-9:00, we will savor recipes from the kitchens of Topkapai Palace and discuss the rich history of this ancient cuisine. Together we’ll enjoy Yogurt with Chard, Spicy Cracked Wheat Salad, Lamb with Chickpea Soup, and Stuffed Walnut Pastry.

As a preview, here are a couple of the dishes-Salma Asi (Lamb with Chickpeas) and Kisir (Spicy Cracked Wheat Salad. We ate this tonight, and the house has this remarkable cinnamon-saffron-lamb fragrance that is so enticing I wish there were such a thing as smell-o-vision.       

Afiyet olsun!

 Salma Asi (Lamb with Chickpeas)


Turkish Delights

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola or rice bran oil
  • 1 lb. lamb stew meat (ideally, trimmed meat from the leg, shoulder or neck)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh, grated turmeric or 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 28-oz. can whole stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 2 quarts stock or water
  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • ½ cup each chopped cilantro and parsley
  • Lemons, to garnish


Heat the butter and oil together in a large stockpot on medium-high heat. When the fat is “swimming”, add the meat and brown it well. Remove the meat to a plate. Add the onion and celery to the pot and turn the heat down to medium. Cook the vegetables until the onions are slightly translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the spices and stir well, heat over medium heat until they are fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes and break them up gently with a spoon. Turn the heat back to medium-high and let their liquid reduce slightly for a few minutes. Add the stock and turn up the heat just enough to bring the liquids to a low boil. Add the meat, turn down the heat, cover, turn the heat to low and let simmer for at least an hour and a half. Alternately, prepare this dish in a pressure cooker and cook on low pressure for 45 minutes.  When the meat is fork-tender, add the garbanzo beans and cook until they are heated through. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Stir in parsley and cilantro; serve with lemons on the side. Serves  6-10.


Kisir (Cracked Wheat Salad) 

  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1-1/2 cups hot pepper paste (recipe follows)
  • 1 cups of fıne bulgur
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate syrup
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • ½ small yellow onion cut in very thin slices
  • Pinch Trapani sea salt
  • 8-10 scallions, (both green and white parts, optional)
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 English or Persian cucumber, finely chopped
  • Whole leaves of romaine, lolla rossa, butter or cos lettuce
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sumac 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the hot pepper paste:

  • 6-8 whole piquillo peppers
  • 6-8 sun dried tomatoes
  • 2-3 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Sri Racha, or to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a 4-6 quart saucepan. Stir in the hot pepper paste and stir occasionally until dissolved. Add the bulgur, stir well and then take the pot off the heat. Cover it with a towel and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, toss the thinly sliced onions with salt. Set them aside. In a separate bowl, combine the pomegranate syrup, mint and cumin. When the bulgur is soft and still warm, add the scallions, parsley, cucumber and peppers to the bulgur.  Squeeze the onion gently to release excess water and add it to the bulgur as well. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.  Mix gently with a spoon until combined. Serve in lettuce leaves. Finish with a sprinkling of sumac. Serves 4-8.

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