Saturday, October 04, 2008

Cooking in Istanbul

Location: Cooking Alaturka
Akbiyik Caddesi 72a, Sultanahmet, ISTANBUL

My dear husband, who knows me all too well, signed me up to a Turkish cooking class while we were in Istanbul. I had a thoroughly good time with Eveline, Chef Feyzi, Tom, Charlotte and Linda.

The 4 course menu consist of the following:

Yayla Corbasi
"Meadow Soup" or "Hot yogurt soup with dried mint"

Sorry the soup looked so appetizing that I ate it up without taking a picture! It was absolutely a different flavour for me because I am not accustomed to having yogurt in soups, yet absolutely delicious. It does stimulate different parts of my palate.

1/2 cup rice
8 cups stock
1/2 cup milk
1 cup thick yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp flour
2 egg yolks
1 cup water
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Wash and drain the rice, then boil until tender in the stock. Add milk.

Beat the yogurt, flour, lemon juice and egg yolks with the water in a bowl. Add salt, black pepper and cumin, mix well.

Add a little of the dried mint and red pepper flakes to the stock.

Melt the butter in a separate pot and add the rest of the dried mint and red pepper flakes. Add the butter to the stock when goldren brown coloured.

Pour a little of the hot stock into this liaison mixture and then pour back into the main pan. Stirring continuously, bring to boil over alow heat and continute cooking for another 5 minutes.

Zeytinyagli taze fasulye
Green beans in olive oil

Kabak meuveri
Zucchini patties with herbs and cheese

I am not really a beans person but the vegetables are so delicious! My daughter loves the Zucchini patties which is fairly healthy too.

Hunkar begendili kuzu
Lamb stew in tomato sauce in smoky eggplant puree

Now this is absolutely delicious! The lamb stew may look spicy but the heat does not assault you as they would in Malay cooking, but its more gentle and subtle. And I love eggplants! Just making this dish makes me appreciate the effort it takes to grills and skin the eggplants after! And I love the taste of the sweet chilli that goes with the dish.

Incir tatlisi
Walnut stuffed figs in syrup

And now I know what I can do with dried figs! Especially those which are way too dry to eat my themselves. The figs became juicy and sweet without it being too sweet.

I had a wonderful morning cooking with Eveline, Feyzi, Tom, Charlotte and Linda. As usual the conversation gets pretty interesting. Charlotte is a dancer who decided to travel while she is in between jobs. Through her I then realize that the Hamam was co-ed, not just for men.

Tom is a Doctor from Australia on holiday. We met him in the tram at a later time and he told us about his wonderful trip to the Asian side, (something we didn't plan on doing) and we went with his recommendation and had a good time.

Linda, told us a trip she took with Dr Spencer Wells on The Genographic project. That got us really interested to know about our genetic journey.

Eveline, a Dutch, who has been in Turkey for 11 years used to run a hotel until the landlord decided to sell the building off. She decided to run the restaurant and cooking class full time until she decides what else to do next. She came in the country and fell in love with the place and the culture and decided to find a way to stay, which she did.

For me, it was just amazing how in one morning, I not only learned more about Turkish cooking and cuisine but also met 5 more people who taught me about new things which I would have not known before.


elisataufik said...

I wanted to take cooking lessons when we were in Italy, but no one else was interested :P They wanted to go sightseeing.
Boring tul.
The food look yummy!

atiza said...

The walnut stuffed fig looks nice..maybe its because I'm a dessert person...

anyways..hope you enjoyed raya this year..