Picture this: meltingly sweet lamb studded with pistachio nuts and served on a bed of smoky eggplant-meets-garlic yoghurt sauce. It’s a sultry combination that sings of Turkey and is bound to impress any dinnertime guests.
Get your snack on with Anneka Manning’s bazlama. Made with Greek yoghurt, this slightly sour bread is ideal for dipping into sauces and mopping up meaty juices. (See the lamb below!)
We love a good barbie here in Australia, but hats off to the Turkish because this charred octopus number is truly impeccable. A few hours before cooking, marinate your tentacles in a tahini sauce made with walnuts, pul biber (Aleppo pepper powder), garlic, lemon juice, day-old bread and, yep, tahini. Proving versatile and very tasty, the tahini sauce also rocks with barbecued squid, cuttlefish or a fillet of fish.
Kisir is the Turkish version of tabouleh, made with burghul, tomatoes, capsicums and fresh herbs. This colourful dip carries both sweet and sour notes thanks to the addition of earthy beetroot and pomegranate molasses. Dip those aforementioned flatbread in here, stat!
Falling on the meatier side of meze, this lamb is perfect as a shared meal centerpiece – so long as your guests don’t mind fighting over the last piece. Remember to marinate your lamb overnight for a particularly succulent result. Serve with burghul pilaf, smoked eggplant dip or mint salad and let the feast begin!
Turkey’s answer to pizza, lahmacun (pronounced "lah-mahjun") is a crisp, light pastry traditionally cooked in stone ovens. Quite unlike Napoli’s margherita, Turkish pides are traditionally topped with minced lamb, tomatoes and capsicum paste, with garlic, chilli and parsley added for flavor hits. Serve this your Turkish pizzas with a red onion and sumac salad for extra tang.
Like many neighbouring nations, Turkey excels in the dolma department. From eggplants and capsicums to mussel shells – almost any edible vestibule can be stuffed with a spiced rice mixture and become ‘dolma’. Here we have midye dolma, aromatic rice-stuffed mussels popular in street stalls across Istanbul.
Written by Siobhan Hegarty.
Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? This week, The Chefs' Line is all about Turkish cuisine. Tune in 6pm weeknights to SBS. Check out the program page for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more.