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Leeks and Carrots in Olive Oil (a la Turka!) June 18, 2014

Posted by Deniz Olcay in Healthy Eats, Quick Eats, Turkish Dishes.
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I’d consider myself a professional eater (I’ve actually been eating every day for the past 28 years), and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two paths to success in cooking a delicious dish:

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Ask mom.

Now, most of us might want to go route #2, because let’s face it, mom always knows best. But for those days when you’re feeling adventurous, traditional recipes just don’t satisfy one’s creative hunger.

When I say keep it simple, I don’t mean that you should throw some Chef Boyardee in the microwave. I’m referring to the rule of 3.

Use 3 main ingredients in your dish, and you’ll be surprised with how quickly you’ll be able to create a delicious dish. For this post I wanted to recreate a Turkish classic that follows this rule, which I’ve been eating since my childhood. I hope you enjoy it and are inspired to come up with your own original twist on it. Afiyet olsun (bon appetit)!

You will need:

The 3 main ingredients (you can also try tomato, green bean, and onion):

  • 2lbs of leeks (thinner the better, cut the green parts off, peel the outermost layer, wash thoroughly)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 4 medium sized carrots

The supporting cast:

  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of short grain rice
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 or 2.5 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • Chopped parsley

1. Finely chop the onion and set aside.

2. Cut the green parts off of the leeks, and peel the outermost layer. When picking the leeks make sure you choose the ones that are thin. Wash thoroughly.

Chop the leeks at an angle, about an inch in length

Chop the leeks at an angle, about an inch in length

3. Using a dutch oven (if you have one) pour the 3/4 cup of olive oil and sautee the onions and chopped carrots (also cut at an angle)  for about 5 minutes.

Sautee carrots and onions for about 5 minutes.

Sautee carrots and onions for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the leeks and sautee for an additional minute or two.

Sautee the leeks for an additional minute

Sautee the leeks for an additional minute

5. Add 2 or 2.5 cups of boiling water to the pot (the water level should be equal to the level of the leeks in the pot. Don’t put too much.) Add 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the juice of half a lemon.


photo 2

Add water, salt, lemon, and sugar

6.Cook over low heat (simmering) for about 10 minutes (covered).

7. Add 4 tablespoons of rice and simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes (covered).

8. This dish should be served cold after resting for a couple hours in the fridge. You may also eat it lukewarm if you want, just let it rest in the fridge for a bit and serve. The longer this dish waits, the tastier it becomes. It makes for a great and healthy lunch.

9. Sprinkle some parsley over the plate (we eat with our eyes first, presentation is key!!), garnish with a slice of lemon, and put some fresh ground pepper on top. Enjoy!

Healthy and yummy!

Healthy and yummy!



Quick & Tasty Turkish Mantı August 17, 2010

Posted by Deniz Olcay in Middle Eastern, Quick Eats, Turkish Dishes, Uncategorized.
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Mantı is one of the most admired dishes in Turkish cuisine, equivalent to the “ravioli” of Italy. The main difference is the use of garlic yogurt as a sauce, and dough as the casing for the meat instead of semolina wheat (used to make ravioli pasta). It is quite laborious to make the authentic version, so my parents often used to default to this tasty alternative recipe. I have posted a picture of the original dish below:

So.... Beautiful...

I hope you enjoy this tasty alternative I have posted below, I often cook it when I am in the mood for something quick, filling and delicious. Enjoy!

You will need:

Elbow Pasta (you can use any type of pasta you like!)
1 Pound of ground turkey or beef
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 small cups of plain yogurt (preferably not non-fat)
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons of Sumac (a spice found in middle eastern specialty shops)
2 teaspoons of Dried mint
2 teaspoons of Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of butter
Ground Pepper / Salt

The Ingredients ! ( Most of them anyway)

1. First, chop the onions and set aside. Then, use a garlic press and mix the mashed garlic with the yogurt. Add some water to the yogurt if it is too thick.

Add garlic to yogurt. Add water if necessary

2. Salt the water, add some olive oil to prevent sticking, and start boiling the pasta.

Pretty easy stuff!

3.Cook the chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent in color

Cook the chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil

4. Add the 1 pound of ground turkey or beef  into the onion. Cook on medium heat, until the beef is all brown.

Add the ground turkey or beef into the onion

5.On the side, in a small pot (or Cezve), cook 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in the 1 tablespoon of butter over high heat for about 2 minutes. Make sure the red pepper flakes do not burn.

Cook 1 teaspoon of red pepper in the butter

6. Once the beef is cooked, turn off the heat. Add 2 teaspoons of Sumac, oregano and mint to the beef. Add salt and pepper as necessary.

Add the sumac, oregano, mint, pepper and salt to the beef

7. Add the yogurt mixture to the pasta, then top with some of the red pepper/butter liquid.

Add the yogurt mixture to the pasta

8. Top the yogurt with the beef, and add more spices as you wish. Enjoy!

Add the beef, and top with additional spices as desired!