Monday, 15 September 2008

Two Turkish appetizers: Acili ezme and yogurtlu havuc salatasi

There was a cute little Turkish eatery literally 3 doors down the road from us a couple of years ago. Since my part of Yokohama is a decidedly non-"ethnic"-food locale, the restaurant did not last long, but ooooh the spicy tomato meze! I would have done the dishes to get a hold of that recipe. In fact, I failed even to find out what it was called. Not even a trip to Turkey (and many a meze plate) solved this little problem. This summer, I finally got a tip-off from the waitress at a Turkish restaurant in Tokyo. Perhaps it was acil domates (spicy tomatoes)? Close, but no cookie.

Turns out that this spicy salad cum dip is called acili ezme, and I found a recipe at the brilliant Turkish food blog Binnur's Turkish Cookbook. Only problem was that with the end of the tomato season nigh, I had to make this like now!

But one appetizer does not a meze make. So from my Must Try pile, I chose a carrot salad with yogurt or yogurtlu havuc salatasi from another favourite Turkish food blog Almost Turkish.

I thought these would make a nice contrast: one fresh and spicy, the other creamy and herby.

When I made the acili ezme, the was rather wet (even having seeded the tomatoes), but that could be because my toms were smaller, or because I reduced the amount of parsley in order to tempt the Young Man into trying it (g). Next time I might reduce the amount of lemon juice to compensate. You might have to scout out the sumac and pomegranate paste/molasses for this one. Both are souring agents that can't really be substituted; better to just leave them out if you can't find them.

The carrot salad was a real treat; the YM scoffed down his share despite the "offensive" presence of dill (admittedly reduced for his benefit). I drained the yogurt (in a lined sieve for about 30 min) for mine, mitigating any need for mayonnaise to thicken it. We had the salad without the raki recommended by Burcu at Almost Turkish, but it was mighty fine just the same (g).

Together or apart, these two meze will definitely be appearing on our table again. Now I just need to get some more Middle Eastern bread for next time!

Acili Ezme: Turkish Style Tomato Dip

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped very finely
1/2 red or white onion, chopped very finely
1 cup parsley, chopped very finely
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp pomegranate paste/molasses
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cayenne pepper, crushed, or to taste
1 tsp sumac

Crush the onion with sumac and salt with your hands. Mix all the ingredients in a service bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Yogurtlu Havuc Salatasi: Turkish Carrot Salad with Yogurt

4 cups of grated carrot
1 cup plain yogurt, preferably whole milk [S: drained for half an hour if you have time]
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped very finely
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp mayonnaise (optional)

Heat oil in a skillet and add grated carrots. Stir until carrots are wilted. Put carrots in a bowl with yogurt, garlic, dill, and salt. Mix well. Serve with crusty bread and any kind of meat.


1 comment:

Mine said...

Hello, I am Turkish and thank you for posting Turkish cuisine. Yet as you mentioned, the acili ezme which is Turkish salsa has virtually no juice in it. If you salt it before serving, the vegetables will release the juices, so salt it JUST BEFORE the serving. Also, chop them very fine, finer than it is in Mexican salsa.