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Turkish dried foods


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Turkish dried foods

snackish | Oct 17, 2004 01:43 PM

My sis sent me this fascinating article about Turkish dried foods

From: "T.R.H"
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 14:27:25 -0700
Subject: Preserving the tastes of summer: Dried foods

[From TurkC-L, the Turkish Culture List]

Preserving the tastes of summer: Dried foods

By Can Kiziltan

As summer makes way for autumn in the towns and villages of Turkey,
the task of preparing winter foodstuffs begins. This is a tradition
that goes back thousands of years. Until modern times it was crucial
for every household to preserve and store sufficient food for the long
winter months, and neighbours still get together to help one another,
turning the hard work into an enjoyable social ritual. Since large
quantities are involved, the work is carried out in the sofas (shared
living area of a house), courtyards and terraces. Yufka (large, paper
thin circles of bread) are rolled out, baked and piled up to the
ceiling; flour, yoghurt and spices are kneaded into tarhana dough and
spread on clean sheets in the sun to dry for winter soup; vegetables
are purchased when they are most plentiful and at their cheapest in
the markets for making pickles; sheets of pastry are sliced
rhythmically on wooden tables to make dried noodles, the tapping of
the knife mingling with the shouts of children playing and the chatter
of the women.

Green peppers, courgettes and aubergines (eggplants) hollowed out ready for stuffing and hung on strings to dry adorn the house walls and balconies like brightly jewelled necklaces. Today, thanks to tinning, shock freezing and the spread of greenhouse cultivation, almost every type of fruit and vegetable is easily obtainable throughout the year,
but this has by no means affected the popularity of traditional dried
foods. On the contrary they have gained in popularity in recent years
due not only to their distinctive and irreplaceable flavour, but to
the newly awakening interest in ecological foodstuffs. Peppers are
perhaps foremost among dried foods, and stuffed dried peppers are
truly delicious. Indeed some people enjoy them so much, that they even
make this dish in the summer. Green and red peppers, the latter
generally hot, are dried separately. The stalks and seeds of the small
green bell peppers used for stuffing are removed, and then they are
threaded onto strings and hung in the shade to dry. Red peppers on the
other hand are hung in the sun.

Aubergines are similarly topped and hollowed out with a round ended
knife, threaded on strings and hung in the sun hollow side down. The
aubergine tops and centres are not thrown away but cut into chunks and
also spread in the sun to dry, ready to be used in various winter
dishes known as mIcIrIk a$I, ba$ kavurmasI or doGrama (sorry, this got messed up in the translation). Courgettes are
scraped and left to soak in plenty of water, scraped again, cut into
10-12 centimetre lengths and hollowed out with a special corer. Then
they are sprinkled with salt, threaded on strings and hung up to dry
in the sun. Tomatoes are either made into tomato paste or dried. For
the latter they are cut into two or four pieces, liberally salted, and
spread on rush mats in the sun. In the Malatya region cherry, quince
and bean leaves are gathered in April and May, dried and used for
stuffing. So for a feast of sundried flavours in the winter months,
try this selection of recipes for Turkish dishes made of traditional
dried vegetables.

* Can Kiziltan is a freelance writer.

STUFFED DRIED VEGETABLES (Peppers, aubergines and courgettes)
Ingredients: 20 mixed dried vegetables 250 g minced meat 1 cup rice 3
medium onions 1 tblsp tomato paste 1 tblsp pepper paste 2 fresh
tomatoes 3 cloves garlic fresh parsley and dill dried mint, cumin,
black pepper, salt 1/2 cup oil Preparing the stuffing: Finely chop the
onion, garlic, parsley and dill. Grate the tomatoes. Add the minced
meat, rice, half of the tomato and pepper paste, dried mint, spices,
salt, 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 water. Blend well.

Method: Boil a saucepan of water, turn off the heat, toss in the dried
vegetables, cover and leave for half an hour. Drain and fill the
vegetables with the stuffing. Arrange in a saucepan. Add water to
cover, the remaining oil, and the remaining tomato and pepper paste
diluted with some water. Weigh down the stuffed vegetables with a
china plate that fits easily into the saucepan, cover and cook over a
medium heat for 40 minutes. Leave to stand for a few minutes before

Ingredients: 150 g dried peppers 1 onion 2 cloves garlic 1 tbsp pepper
paste 1 tbsp tomato paste Cumin, black pepper and salt 1/3 cup oil
Method: Toss the dried peppers into boiling water, remove from the
heat and leave to soak for half an hour. Finely chop the onion and
garlic and fry over a medium heat in the oil until coloured. Dilute
the pepper and tomato paste with plenty of water, add the spices and
salt, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the dried peppers and add to the
sauce. Stir over the heat for 10 minutes, then place in a serving dish
and decorate with sprigs of parsley and dill.

STUFFED LEAVES (Quince, cherry and bean)
Ingredients: 250 g dried leaves 1 tblsp flour 1 egg 1 tsp sugar 1 kg
yoghurt 3 onions 2 tomatoes 2 cups fine bulgur salt
Method: Place the bulgur in a bowl and pour over 1 cup of boiling
water. Cover and leave for half an hour. Meanwhile place the dried
leaves in hot water, soak for half an hour and drain. Knead the bulgur
well and placing hazelnut sized pieces on each leaf, roll them up to
the thickness of cigarettes, tucking in the edges as you roll. Place
the stuffed leaves in a saucepan, add sufficient water to cover and
cook over a medium heat until the leaves are tender. In a separate
saucepan blend the flour, egg, sugar and yoghurt with salt to taste
and half a litre of water. Stir over the heat for 15-20 minutes, then
pour over the stuffed leaves and continue to simmer for another 10-15
minutes. Meanwhile finely chop the onions and fry in 1/4 cup of oil.

Add the grated tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon some of this
sauce over each helping

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