Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Most Undutch" Turkish Dish

"Among the things you served us tonight, this is the thing most undutch" Inge had told me while she, Hans, Johan and I were tasting my bulgur salad (called natively Kısır) in my place in Funenpark as part of a Ramadan Dinner in September 2007. (Bulgur is broken wheat, commonly used in Turkish cousine)

(The photo is from last week where I made kısır for the site commander of my military unit as well as for other officers in the unit.)

Then I have made it a couple of times for other dinners in my place and for parties we had at Funanpark roof. I remember how people liked it during my German neighbours' BBQ party. It was then when Sara asked me the recipe. "Your bulgur salad has been one of our favorite dishes" she told me later "I make it almost every week". She also published the recipe in an iranian blog. It is in persian, but the photos worth checking.

The original recipe is from a turkish cooking blog "Portakal Ağacı", meaning "Orange Tree".

So here is the recipe for those who want to taste this "most undutch" turkish dish:

  • 5-6 spring onion
  • half bunch of parsley
  • 2-3 layers of iceberg salad (optional)
  • 4 gloves of garlic
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of red paprika paste (or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste if not available)
  • 2 glasses of hot water
  • 1 dessert-spoon of salt
  • 2 glasses of fine-bulgur (Beware: it must be the fine version, can be found in turkish supermarkets)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried mint
  • half tablespoon of chilly pepper (can be 1, if you want it hotter)
  • half tablespoon of black pepper
  • half glass of lemon juice
  • half glass of olive oil
  • 2 tomatos (optional, for decoration purposes)
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves or parsley leaves (optional, for decoration)
  1. Fınely chop onions, spring onions, parsley and iceberg salad. Put them together into a container and cover the top.
  2. Fry the chopped garlics with the olive oil and tomato and paprika pastes
  3. Put bulgur into a container and add the hot water on top of it. Add the salt and the mix with the mix in (2). Mix occasionally till bulgur sucks all the water and the mix looks homogenous. (10-15 mins)
  4. Add the chopped vegetables of (1), lemon juice, and spices to (3). Mix till it gets to a homogenous mixture.
  5. Decorate with tomotos sliced in half-circles and with the parsley and/or mint leaves.
  6. Put into refrigerator for a while. It is better to eat it cold.
My first trial of Kısır in Amsterdam
It was again a Ramadan dinner where we fast during the day, and have dinner when it is getting dark. I had invited my turkish friends from Delft and the one from The Hague. When they tasted my kısır, one of them said "the taste is OK; but it would be better if you did not use coriander". I was shocked "what? What is that thing? I never used that thingy" was my reaction. "It is a vegetable similar to parsley" they told, and suddenly I got enlightened :D

I remembered how I felt while I was preparing the bulgur salad. The "parsleys" I got from turkish supermarket at Javastraat was somehow pale. And they had really a different strange smell while I was chopping them off. I thought: "probably those parsleys got deteriorated. But I have no time to buy new ones, and since I will mix many things, my guests will not get its bad taste anyway". That is, I never realized that it could be some other vegetable :D

So, since we do not have corianders in Turkey, I never knew that they were being sold in Holland, and they were so similar to parsley :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Food Meme

Of four dutch-originated blogs I kind-of regularly follow, one is Kelly's. (The others are Isabella's, Tjeerd's and Nina's blogs). Kelly is a gibraltarian expat living in Almere, Holland. She has tagged my blog in her food-meme post. Here is the rule for the food meme:
List 7 items related to food or drink you love, also list 7 items you hate the most. Then tag 7 buddies and find out if your stomachs have something in common. Bon appetite!

I will make a small change and will list the liked/dislilked foods which are somehow linked to Holland.


1. Drops: I already have written about how torturous was it for me to try even one. No way! I can't like them!
2. Sweet popcorn: Another terrible experience. It was my first weeks in Amsterdam; and I was very happy to see pre-popped corns sold in Albert Heijn one day (I love them); and I bought one bag. And guess what: I was home, and I opened the bag with a big enthusiasm, and threw few of them into my mouth. And, I was shocked! I never heard/tasted before pop-corns with sugar!. It was unbearable! I do not like throwing foods away, and It took more than a week to finish all of them :D
Later I realized they sell two versions in supermarkets: with salt and with sugar..
3. Peanut butter: Well, it is not my cup of tea. Daniel once told me that this was one of the three things he would take with him if he were to live alone in an island. This shows how Dutchmen love it. But i simply can't. Peanut butter on bread does not taste good at all for me.
4. Breads sold in Albert Heijn: There are so many different varieties of breads sold in AH. I tried a couple of them, and did not like any. Thanks God, the turkish neighbourhood was very close, and I could go there to buy turkish bread from Kardas Bakkerij in Javastraat in Indische buurt.
5. Soups I tried at the university canteen: They were all terrible. The soups may be OK in itself. But they add some kind of flavor to all soups which change the taste into an unbearable nature.
6. Mix-fruit juices sold in AH: This is getting common only recently in Turkey. When I was in Holland, it was the first time I saw mixed fruit juices. I tried some (peach-orange mix or apple-raspberry mix or things like this), and did not like any of them. I prefer pure juices.
7. Round three-color bell peppers sold in AH: They are unbelievably nice in appearance: red/green/yellow bell peppers sold together. The way we use bell peppers in turkish cuisine is by stuffing them with rice and then cooking. I tried this dish with those huge bell peppers sold in AH: they are so thick, which makes your mouth not comfortable :) . Then, I preferred to buy the turkish-style ones sold in the turkish neighbourhood at Javastraat.


1. Vla: A traditional dutch yoghurt-vanillin mix. This, I discovered thanks to Ewoud. He brought a box of vla when he first visited my place for a dinner. I liked the taste a lot. The only thing is: one variety sold in AH includes a red colored flavor. I later preferred not to buy that variety since I found out that carmine is among its ingredients (carmine is an insect-derived coloring agent)
2. Stroopwafel (Syrup waffles): Also sold in AH, also traditional. Again, a goodbye present by Ewoud; that's why I came to know them. I liked the taste a lot.
3. Ice-tea: When I first tried ice-tea about 10 years ago, I found it not interesting at all,and did not try again. Till it was served to me while I was in Vahid-Sara's place for a dinner. Then suddenly I liked it a lot! It has turned out to be one of my most favourite drinks in the Netherlands. The peach- and lemon- flavoured ones are my favorites.
4. Cashew nuts: This, I discovered in Holland in AH since we did not have this type of nut in Turkey (only recently it has been gaining popularity). The taste is just amazing.
5. Appelstroop (apple syrup): I was told that this is what the pregnant dutch ladies prefer to eat to have a healthy baby. It was my favourite thingy during my lunches at UvA canteen.
6. Celebrations: Again an AH product, I discovered this thanks to Olja. She brought a box of Celebrations as a present when I invited her, Hans and Suzanne for a Ramadan dinner. It is a box of miniature-size versions of popular chocolate bars.
7. Falafel at Maoz:
Falafel is a vegetarian meat-ball like middle-east food. The ones sold in Maoz are offered with unlimited salad. Since I preferred vegetarian food while eating outside, this was one of my favourites. At the end of an old post is a photo of the one of the branches in Amsterdam, a branch we had visited with Sara and Vahid (and also with Maikel and Alfonso during Queen's day in 2008).


I am supposed to tag 7 others as part of this food meme. However, there are only few blogs I kind-of regularly follow. So I can only tag 2 others:
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