Gypsy Salad (Cingen Pilavi)
Although the original name, Cingen Pilavi means Gypsy Pilav when translated word by word, this is a salad. It is only known in a small region in Western Turkey. It is a very simple recipe that mainly consists of tomatoes and peppers with olive oil dressing. The key ingredient here is a kind of curd called “cokelek”. It is a byproduct of the process used in making butter. It is sort of like cottage cheese, except it is very dry and flaky. This salad is part of a typical Turkish breakfast in the summer, but, commonly served with lunch as well. For the lunch version dry onions are added to the recipe. I cannot find this special curd in California, so I substitute feta cheese. You can also substitute cottage cheese. But if you do that, I suggest that you put it in a strainer first, letting the juices drain before adding to the salad.
- 2 large tomatoes diced
- 2 sweet green peppers, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 small onion, cut in half and thinly sliced (optional)
- ½ cup curd (cokelek) or feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano (optional)
- 3-4 black or green olives for decoration
- Salt to taste
Mix tomatoes, peppers and onions(optional) in a bowl. Transfer to a serving plate. Add crumbled feta cheese to the top. Sprinkle dry oregano(optional). Garnish with olives.
Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!