February 16, 2011

A very Turkish meal: Kabk Mücveri and Yogurt Soup

If there is anything that fascinates me more than Germany, it is Turkey...its people, its religion, its culture,and its intimate connection with Germany. But, what concerns most people here is its food. I can't tell you how much I miss döner kebabs! I've been looking all over the bay area for a place that sells real döner kebabs and so far haven't had much luck. They were everywhere in Italy. There was this one place a block from where I lived in Torino, and I went there almost every other day. I made friends with the two Turkish guys that worked there with my broken Italian. One time they even asked if I had a boyfriend, I said no, and didn't have enough Italian in me to explain further. Good times. Then few weeks back when I went to visit Doug in San Francisco, we went to a Turkish restaurant and I ordered the lamb kebab dish, and a cup of Turkish coffee. I asked the Turkish waiter for a little cream for my coffee, he laughed and said I should never ask such a thing if I was in Turkey. He brought me some though, and taught me how to read fortunes from my coffee. My cup said good luck is coming my way.

Kabk Mücveri (Zucchini Fritters)
(from a Turkish cookbook that I have forgotten to copy down the name)

1 1/2 lbs small, firm zucchini, grated (4 cups)
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped, white parts only (1/2 cup)
2 tablesppon finely chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh italian parsley
3 eggs
1 tablespoon paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz crumbled feta cheese (I used 6 oz and that was plenty enough)
1 cup all puprpose flour
1 1/2 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
1 recipe of yogurt glarlic sauce (yorgut, minced garlic, and salt to taste)

Place the grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle it with salt and let it drain for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess juice and place the zucchini in a large bowl together with the scallions, dill, parsely, eggs, and paprika, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the feta cheese and flour a little at a time and incoporate them well.

Heat the oil in a skillet, then lower the heat to medium. Scoop out tablespoonfuls of the zucchini mixture and gently drop them inot the hot oil. make sure you do not crowd the fritters in the skillet. Fry them all over until they are golden bown. About 5 minutes.

Spinach and Yogurt Soup

1lb fresh spinahc leaves, trimmed
5 cups chicken stock or water
2 tablesppon unsalted butter
salt adn freshly ground black pepper
2 cups plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon parprika

Place the spinach and stock in a large saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn off the heat. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, lift out the spinach leaves. Finely chop the spinach and set it aside. Reserve the stock.

In a heavy  medium-size suacepan, heat the butter over medium heat, add the onion, and cook gently for about 2 minutes. until it is softened but not brown. Stir in the chopped spinach. Add the reserve stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover the saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the yogurt, egg yolks, and lemon juice. Hold a sieve over the soup and pour the yogurt mixture into it. Using a wodden spoon or ladle, push the mixture through the sieve, into the soup. Stir the soup, lower the heat, adn cook very gently without boiling for another 10 minutes.

To make the topping, melt the butter in a small suacepan over low heat and stir in the paprika. heat the mixture until it sizzles. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and drizzle the butter mixutre over each serving. Serve at once.

Both dishes were delicious but I would be a little bit concerned about the fat contents. I absolutely loved the yogurt soup, and I thank the Mediterranean cuisines for incorporating yogurts in so many savory dishes. My lucky parents get to taste so many different cultural cuisines as I go through my different international phases.

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