Meaning "to crush" in Turkish, spicy ezme ranges from a salad-like side dish through to a smooth sauce. Its deep-red colour is from the combination of tomatoes, red capsicum, pomegranate molasses and chillies, and is one of the most popular meze dishes on tables all over Turkey. It is often served quite chunky over hummus, but we’ve blended it smooth to serve over meats. You will need 4 metal skewers for this recipe.






Skill level

Average: 5 (2 votes)


  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 280 g (1 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, bruised
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra, to brush
  • 600 g chicken breast fillets, cut into 4 cm pieces
  • 8 lamb cutlets
  • pide, to serve


Ezme (tomato-and-chilli sauce)

  • 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, seeded, roughly chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses*
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves


Tomato salad

  • 3 tomatoes, seeded chopped
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 small green capsicum, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 2 hours
Drink match 2012 Rusden Driftsand Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro, Barossa Valley, SA ($20)

To make ezme, place all ingredients in a food processor and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Transfer sauce to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavours to develop.

Place chilli flakes, sweet paprika, yoghurt, tomato paste, garlic, lemon, olive oil and chicken in a bowl and mix to combine for 2 hours.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade, and thread onto skewers. Heat a barbecue or a chargrill pan over medium heat. Season skewers and lamb and brush with extra oil. Cook skewers, turning, for 12 minutes or until cooked through. Cook lamb for 3 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Cover meat loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

To make tomato salad, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve meat with salad, pide and ezme. 


• Pomegranate molasses is available from delis and Middle Eastern food shops.



Photography Brett Stevens. Food preparation Phoebe Wood. Styling Kirsten Jenkins. 


As seen in Feast magazine, July 2014, Issue 33.