As my sisters and I sat around the table one recent day enjoying my wife’s excellent variation of tabouli, the delicious eastern Mediterranean salad, the subject of Turkish cuisine came up in conversation. As we talked, I was reminded of our friend, Alesta, and her Turkish cooking website, and I suggested it as a starting point for people wanting to try a little Turkish home cooking in their own kitchen.
Alesta has a passion for cooking in general and a passion for Turkish cuisine in particular. As she also enjoys exploring Turkish culture and meeting Turkish people, Alesta has made it a hobby to travel the Turkish countryside meeting locals, tasting their food, and collecting traditional Turkish recipes. Over the years, Alesta has learned to cook like a Turk. And having had a couple of opportunities to dine at her table, my family and I can personally attest to her aptitude in the art of Turkish cookery. Now, Alesta offers some of her cooking tips and recipes on her website, Alesta’s Turkey.
Looking for a recipe for traditional Turkish breakfast crepes? Try this one. Wanting to experiment with a lamb dish for dinner? Take a look at Alesta’s lamb sach recipe. Need a fun and tasty appetizer? Here are Alesta’s favorite variations of hummus.
One of my favorite Turkish breakfasts—next to the traditional Turkish village breakfast (köy kahvaltısı)—is menemen. This egg-tomato-pepper dish is served everywhere in Turkey, and though it usually doesn’t make for the prettiest looking breakfast plate, it sure is tasty. Here’s Alesta’s excellent take on simple classic menemen:
- 5 dark-green bullhorn peppers (sıvı biber)*
- 3 medium tomatoes, preferably juicy ones
- a knob of butter (“knob” = 2 or 3 tablespoons)
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- Chop your peppers, seeds and all.
- Melt the butter in a frypan over medium heat, then add the peppers. Give the peppersan occasional stir.
- As the peppers are frying, dice the tomatoes. Add to the pan and stir occasionally until the tomatoes begin to break down and become saucey–about 5 minutes. Add a swig of water if the mixture gets too dry.
- Stir in the salt and sugar, stir well.
- Add the eggs. Stir well until combined and lower the heat. Eggs should only ever be cooked on low heat.
- Leave, without stirring further, until the eggs have set.
Serve with fresh bread. Serves two.
* These peppers can be slightly spicy and give the menemen a bit of kick. If that’s not your thing, used 3 de-seeded yellow bullhorn peppers (çarlston biber) instead.