This weekend’s special was Turkish cuisine for a dinner party of six at Lazy Cooks’. We were excited again to take out our oldest and the best Turkish cook book ‘Ekrem Yegen’ from the shelf and start cooking Hunkar Begendi Kebabi (Sultan’s Favorite Kebab with mashed eggplant) and Zeytinyagli Fasulye (green beans cooked in olive oil) after a brief beach session followed by a supermarket run on a not so hot Saturday morning.
|our Ekrem Yegen book|
We bought around 1.2 kg of cubed lamb for the kebab; three big size eggplants, shredded mozzarella cheese, plain flour and milk for the eggplant mash; and 1 kg Lebanese green beans that you can find in Waitrose (not the long, thin ones) which are very close to our 'Ayse kadin fasulye'.
First we fried one onion in a big pot with 50 gr butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil (this is much less than what Ekrem uses) and added the cubed three medium size tomatoes. We added the meat with one glass of boiled water and started to cook which lasted for about two hours. But here the trick is adding a glass of boiled water every time the water is reduced in the pot to keep the meat tender and soft and juicy. So don’t forget to check it every 10 minutes like we did! (At the end of 1.5 hours we saved the lamb just before it was burned and had to transfer to another pot and continue cooking for a little bit more. I think here it lost a little bit of its tomato juice!). We added oregano to the lamb while it was cooking.
In the mean time, we started to char the eggplants over the stove and prepare the mash. For this we put 3 tablespoon flour and some butter to a medium sized pot and stir them at low heat for 2 minutes until the mixture turned into a golden color (and left aside). We added the charred and mashed eggplants to this mixture while vigorously stirring and returned the pot to the heat with 2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 liter warm milk. The milk should be added really slowly. Later, 100 gr shredded mozzarella and some parmesan cheese were added to the mash.
|stirring the eggplant mash|
After taking out the sides and the edges, we organized the green beans inside the pressure cooker on top of two onion halves. And added two whole gloves of garlic, 2 medium sized tomatoes (shredded), ½ cup water and ½ cup olive oil, salt and pepper. This way the beans are cooked in about 15-20 minutes. We transferred them to the serving plate and left for cooling.
|green beans in the pressure cooker|
|green beans cooked|
The most suitable side dish to the kebab would of course be plain white rice. With an advice from Ayse Aksit, we added roasted pine nuts (frying the pine nuts with a knob of butter) on top of the rice for decoration.
|Sultan's Favorite with rice|
We had another lovely dinner with Martins and Jabours (see our Lebanese dinner with them). A bottle of very nice Lebanese red wine went very well with our Sultan’s Favorite and towards the end of the night with the coffees we had tel kadayif (a dessert made with pistachios and shredded dough) with pistachio ice cream from Mado* and ‘koeksisters’ (a very delicious sweets of South African origin).