Monday, December 30, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Almonds and Mint - Nazuktan

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Almonds and Mint - Nazuktan

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Almonds and Mint - Nazuktan

Nazuktan is a Central Anatolian recipe. I have first tasted it in my friend Nesli's house and loved it. There's a similar meze with roasted eggplants and yogurt, however, what makes this one a special delicacy is the toasted almonds and a little drizzle of molasses on top. Enjoy!

  • 2 large eggplants or a 23 oz jar of fire roasted eggplants
  • 1 cup thick, Greek style yogurt
  • juice of 1 lemon, about 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A few sprigs of fresh mint
  •  1 tablespoon of toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon grape molasses
If you are using fire roasted eggplants from a jar, skip this paragraph. If you are using fresh eggplants, first wash the eggplants. Poke into the eggplants with a skewer or a small knife at 3-4 places for even cooking. Roast them on the barbecue, approximately 15 minutes on each side. Turn to make sure all sides are evenly cooked. The skin will look dark, almost charred, but when you press on it with a fork, the inside will feel soft. Remove from heat, set aside to cool. Peel the outer skin, place on a board and gently chop to small pieces.

If you are using eggplants from a jar, drain the juices by placing the contents in a strainer for about 15 minutes. In a bowl, combine eggplants, yogurt, lemon juice and mashed garlic. Mix well with a spoon. Add almonds, fresh mint, salt and pepper to taste and gently mix with a spoon. Place on a serving dish. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh mint leaves and toasted sliced almonds. Drizzle molasses over the plate and serve.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

Fire Roasted Eggplant in a Jar

Eggplant in Strainer

Nazuktan Ingredients

Salad Mixture

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Grape Molasses Drizzled

Roasted Eggplant Salad with Almonds and Mint - Nazuktan

Friday, May 3, 2013

Diced Zucchini with Scrambled Eggs

Diced Zucchini with Scrambled Eggs

This is a common dish from the rural areas of the Aegean region of Turkey where I grew up. When I was a little girl, especially during summer months, I used to pop in and out of our neighbors' homes. I used to play with their kids most of the time. One of my favorite neighbors was aunt Bedriye, a sweet lady whose kids were grown and already out of the house. She used to live by herself. Although she had no young kids to play with, I remember visiting her often because I always felt happy and welcomed in her house. This giggley woman would tell me little stories all the while she did the daily chores of her house, like cooking, sweeping her yard, painting the old tin olive oil containers to plant flowers in them. I have many fond memories of her. One of the things I learned from her was this zucchini dish. It is very easy and quick to make. It has simply, healthy ingredients. It is a vegetarian dish, yet the egg you add to it adds a bit of protein, making it a healthy, light and delicious dish. Enjoy!

  • 5-6 zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)


Wash, peel and dice zucchini about 1/4 inch size. Peel and finely chop the onion. Wash and remove the seeds of the bell pepper. Dice it finely. In a large pan, saute onions and bell peppers in olive oil over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, add paprika, salt and pepper and stir. Cover the pot and reduce heat to slow. Let it cook until all vegetables are tender, about 10-12 minutes.

In a small bowl, scramble the egg. Add it to the pot, stir gently until the egg is cooked, about 1 minute. Add finely chopped dill (optional) and stir to mix it in or sprinkle over the dish. Transfer to a serving dish, serve hot.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

Chopped onions
Cubed zucchini and bell peppers
Chopped fresh dill
Onions and bell peppers sautéed in olive oil
Zucchini is added to the pot
All vegetables are sautéed stirring occasionally
All vegetables are cooked, ready to add scrambled eggs
Diced Zucchini with Scrambled Eggs ready to be served

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spinach Salad with Orzo & Cheese - Sehriyeli Ispanak Salatası

Spinach Salad with Orzo and Cheese

  • 1 bag (6 oz) fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup orzo (barley shaped pasta)
  • 1 table spoon pine nuts, roasted
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted sliced
  • 1/4 cup green olives, pitted sliced
  • 1/2 cup pearl tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese or goat cheese, crumbled
For Salad Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare salad dressing first by mixing all ingredients and shaking well.

Wash and drain spinach, set aside.
Boil 2 cups of water in a pot. Add orzo and a pinch of salt, cook until tender, about 5-8 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
Roast pine nuts in a pan, stirring constantly. Roast until golden brown, set aside.

Place spinach and the rest of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add salad dressing. Toss the salad making sure all ingredients are mixed well. Serve.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

Uncooked Orzo

Baby Spinach and Pearl Tomatoes

Sliced Black and Green Olives

Raw Pine Nuts

Roasted Pine Nuts

Spinach Salad with Orzo (without Cheese)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Garbanzo Balls – Nohut Köftesi

Garbanzo Balls

  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (dry or canned)
    If you are going to use dry garbanzo beans, you need to soak them overnight! (see pictures below)
  • 2 table spoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 table spoons all purpose flour
  • 1 medium/large onion, grated
  • 1 medium/large carrot, grated
  • 4 table spoons sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 table spoon dried oregano leaves
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil to fry

Yogurt sauce:
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1-2 table spoons water
  • Salt to taste

If you are using dry garbanzo beans, you need to prepare ahead. Soak them overnight. In a large pan, boil 5-6 cups of water, add soaked, drained garbanzo beans. Simmer until beans are tender. Drain and set aside. Cooked garbanzo beans freeze well, so you can cook them in large batches to save for later use.

If you are using canned beans, rinse and drain first, set aside.
Prepare yogurt sauce first since it needs to be chilled. In a small bowl, mix yogurt and crushed garlic, add water to obtain desired consistency. Add salt to taste. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. 

Place cooked garbanzo beans and tahini in a food processor. Pulse a few times. Add water and pulse until smooth. It does not need to be creamy smooth. Place the mixture in a bowl. Add flour and mix well with a spoon. Add grated onion, carrots, sunflower seeds, herbs and spices to the mixture. Knead the mixture well for a few minutes, set aside.

Place vegetable oil into a frying pan and heat it over medium/high heat. Take a spoonful of the mixture, slide the mixture into the hot oil. Repeat this until you have a pan full of paddies, making sure they don't touch each oher. Fry until golden brown. Flip and fry the other side. Place fried garbanzo balls on a paper towel to drain the extra oil. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with yogurt sauce drizzled over the garbanzo balls.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

Dry garbanzo beans soaked in water
Garbanzo beans soaked overnight ready to be cooked
Grated carrots
Onions, sunflower seeds, herbs and spices
Garbanzo beans - tahini mixture
Flour added to the mixture
All ingredients are mixed together
Spoonful of the mixture before dropped into hot oil
Garbanzo balls frying in oil
Garbanzo balls
Garbanzo Balls with Yogurt