This is the first of several recipes from Turkey, from our cooking class at Cookistan. I was really impressed with the quality of food that we produced. Some of these recipes are seasonal, so if you were to book with them, you’re sure to learn something new.
We made stuffed dried aubergines, stuffed vine leaves, stuffed courgettes. The dried aubergines, pepper puree and vine leaves are available from Turkishop online, but peppers, beef tomatoes, or onions could be used.
- 8 dried aubergines, or 8 good sized courgettes, or a jar of vine leaves in brine. If you can’t get vine leaves, then chard leaves would do.
- 100g mince
- 50g rice or fine bulgar wheat
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp pepper puree
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder or chilli flakes
- 1 handful of chopped parsley
- Plain yoghurt to serve (you could add garlic, salt and pepper to the yoghurt)
- If you are using dried aubergines, these need to be soaked in boiling water for around 5 minutes. They need to be weighed down to ensure they are completely submerged, and then rinsed in cold water. If you are using courgettes, use a teaspoon, melon baller (or a special Turkish courgette knife) to hollow them out. First, cut them in half across the way, not lengthways, and trim the end to make them steady to stand up in the pan. Then, hollow them out carefully. Other vegetables can be prepared in a similar way.
- Mix all the other ingredients, and mix them together with your hands.
- Stuff the vegetables to about 3/4 full. During the cooking, the rice expands, so you need to leave a little bit of room.
- To stuff vine leaves, put each leaf shiny side down with the pointy bits pointing away. Put a line of mince about the size of your little finger across the bottom of the vine leaf. Start rolling the leaf round the mince, working away from you, folding in the sides as you go. There are lots of versions on youtube to check for the method.
- Put the stuffed vegetables in a casserole dish large enough for them all to fit with the open ends up. Put a plate over the top to keep them in place, smaller than the pan. Pour in around 500ml boiling water, and simmer the vegetables until they are cooked, around 45 minutes.
- Serve as a meze dish with yoghurt flavoured with garlic.