Friday, January 24, 2014



1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size cubes
2 cups of medium grain rice, washed and drained (I prefer CALROSE or NISHIKI rice).
2 cups of hot water
2 cups chicken stock (optional, if not use 2 cups water)
2 pounds chicken, boneless, skinless chicken thighs and or breast, cut into thin and long strips
3 tbsp of olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
1 pound carrots, julienned
2 tsp salt ( 1tsp for chicken, 1 tsp for carrots and onion)
1 tsp red pepper
1tsp black pepper
3 tbsp unsalted butter



1. Put chicken strips in a non-stick pot.  Season with salt and pepper and add paprika.  Cook 10 minutes and set aside.

 2. Sweat onions in olive oil and then add carrots in a medium size pot over medium heat Cook about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Season it with salt, pepper, and paprika.

3. Arrange chicken on the bottom of the pot. Add sautéed carrot and onion mix over the chicken and then add the rice. Slowly add hot water, try not to disturb the layering of chicken. Add the sautéed carrot-onion and rice. Season the rice to taste, with more salt, if desired.

4. Let it boil uncovered for a couple of minutes. Then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let the rice cook 20-25 minutes or until rice is done.  Put butter pieces on the top for extra flavor.

5. Let it set 10 minutes. Place a plate on top of pan and flip over.

About 8-10 serving

Thursday, January 23, 2014

CHICKEN PAPRIKA WITH MUSHROOM AND PEPPER (Mantar ve kirmizi biberli Tavuk)

1 pound chicken thighs or breast meat
1 tsp Meral’s spice mix* 
1 pound mushroom, sliced
1 red bell pepper (I also add 1 jalepino)
1 tomato
1 onion
3 tsp paprika
1 tsp mashed garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp wheat or all purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

My Spice Mix: 
3 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Mix all the spices and keep the mixture in a container for future use.


1. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces and season with my spice mix.

2. Brown the chicken pieces in a non stick large pan

3. Remove the chicken set aside, put 2 tbsp olive oil to pan and add onions, salt the sweat the onions.

4. Add garlic, and mushroom cook 5 minutes. Add peppers and paprika cook for 2 minutes.

5. Return the chicken to pan and tomato cook 2 minutes.

6. Add ½ cup chicken stock and cover the lid simmer until chicken is completely cooked.

7. In a small bowl mix yogurt, and flour. Add slowly ½ cup chicken broth.

9. Pour this mixture over chicken, and stir cook in very low heat very short time.

10. Serve immediately with pasta or rice.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013




8 oz (1/2 pound) ground beef
6 pita bread, Greek style
4 roman tomatoes (You can use petite cut can tomatoes)
1 medium onion
1 tbsp pepper paste (See picture above)
1-2 tbsp olive oil or butter
1 bunch of parsley (use for filling and garnish)
4 small colorful peppers, ½ cup chopped for filling and 6 julienne pieces for top (optional)
1 tsp sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
(Optional: Add ¼-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper if you like spicy)

1. Preheat the oven 400 F.

2. Prepare the filling: Use a food processor to chop parsley and then add the tomatoes and make a puree. Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl.

3. Chop the onions and peppers in the food processor but do not liquidity.  Pour over tomato-parsley mixture in the mixing bowl.

4. Add the ground beef, pepper paste, olive oil, and paprika. Season it with salt and pepper. Then mix the ingredients and knead thoroughly with your hand. Divide the meat filling into 6 equal parts.

5. Take 1/6 of the meat filling and spread on pita bread evenly. Leave about a 1/3 inch border around the edge.

6. Repeat steps with the remaining pita bread and filling mixture. Put colorful peppers over each pita (optional).

7. Have tray (s) ready. Arrange lahmacun on tray and bake about 15-20 minutes.

8. Let cool couple minutes and serve.

9. Lahmacun is generally served sprinkled with lemon juice and wrapped around vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, and parsley. You can serve with a light salad, garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.



Friday, February 22, 2013


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15-18 minutes
Yield: About 30 walnut size cookies

This is my sister's recipe. While the original recipe calls for hazelnut you may prepare these cookies with unsalted pistachios, pecans or walnuts. No matter which nut you choose these cookies will be a delicious buttery treat that will leave you nutty and wanting more.


1- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (if the yogurt's consistency is more liquid like then you may add 1 to 3 tbsp more flour)
1/2 cups (4oz) unsalted finely chopped pistachio (or any nut of your choice)
2 tbsp sugar
1 stick plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature (about 125gram)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar, to coat

Upper left:Unsalted Pistachios, Upper Right: The Dough, Bottom: Cookies are ready to bake. At the bottom right pay attention to size of the cookie.
Top: Cooling down, Bottom: Covered with powdered sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 375 F

2. Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, nuts, and baking powder) in a bowl.

3. Cream the butter, sugar, yogurt and combine with dry ingredients.

4. Form the dough into small balls (teaspoonful) and place on the cookie sheet, spaced at least an inch apart from each other.

5. Bake at 375 F until lightly golden color on the bottom (About 15-18 minutes).

6. Be careful, they are very fragile when they come out of the oven. When they are cool enough to touch, roll the cookies in some powdered sugar.

Bon Appetit........

Saturday, February 9, 2013



½ cup rice or 2 cups cooked rice
4 cups plain yogurt (this is about 2 lb, 900 gr container yogurt)
2 tbsp all purpose flour (Note: use 2 tbsp corn starch or rice flour for gluten free version of this soup)
1 egg
5 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
(If you like you can add more chicken stock, or you can make the soup only with water. In this case use 7 cups water)
¼ tsp black pepper
1-1/4 tsp salt (add last)

2 tbsp butter
1 tsp sweet paprika (kırmızı biber) or Turkish red pepper flakes (pul biber)
1 tbsp dry mint (or handful fresh mint leaves, chopped)


  • Wash the rice thoroughly in a wire mesh strainer under running water until water runs clear.  
  • In a large non stick pot, in 5 cups of water cook the rice stirring occasionally until rice is tender. This step takes about 20 minutes.                                                                                   
  • Meantime in a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, yogurt, and, egg until very smooth.
  • After the rice is cool down, slowly blend the yogurt mixture into the rice.
  • Gradually pour in water and chicken broth stir well.
  • Over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly (otherwise yogurt would curdle) with a wooden spoon. Then lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and turn off the heat.

For the sauce:

  • While soup is simmering, melt the butter in a sauté pan in low heat. When the butter is foamy, add mint flakes and paprika and let it sizzle but don't burn. 
  • Pour and stir it into the soup.

  • Serve the soup hot. Makes 6-8 Servings

  • This soup gets thicker with time add more water or broth to make thinner.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Hummus is a Levantine originated dish of Chick-Peas (or called Garbanzo Bean) and Tahini. Levant area covering Syria, South East part of Turkey (especially Antakya), Iraq, Israel, Palestinian, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt (only difference they make tahini with un-hulled seeds).

Hummus is a healthy appetizer. It is full of protein and fiber. It can be used as a dip or a sandwich/wrap spread. It is made from cooked, mashed chick-peas, Tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, spices and garlic.

Hummus is very versatile dish. You can add olives, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, walnut, pistachio, pastirma, sucuk, (Turkish pastrami and sausage) cilantro, mint, parsley, jalapeno peppers and so on. You need to use your imaginations.

Tahini (Turkish Tahin) is a paste made from ground, sesame seeds (hull or husk part removed) Tahini made from raw or toasted sesame seeds. It is high in calcium and protein Addition to vegetarian diets, as well as to raw food diets might useful Compared to peanut butter, Tahini has higher levels of fiber and calcium and lower levels of sugar and saturated fats. Also Tahini is a good source of copper, manganese, methionine, omega-3 and omega-6. Tahini is a healthy ingredient. In Turkish cooking and baking it is a common ingredient. I will give more Tahini recipes in the future. Tahini is used in North African, Greek, Middle Eastern, and Asian cooking. It can be purchased at health food stores, and specialty markets.

This recipe makes about 4 cups
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Very easy recipe
No cooking involved 


2 cans (15 oz or 425 gr) of Garbanzo Beans or Chick Peas washed and drained
Total about 3 cups cooked Chick peas. (Optional you can save 2 tbsp for garnishing
1/2 to 3/4 cup Tahini (adjust to your taste)
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, mashed (about 2 tsp)
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup, adjust according to your taste)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp dry mint (optional)
2-3 tbsp water (if it is too thick)

For this recipe I add yogurt to give tanginess and also soften the taste of tahini.


1. Put the chickpeas, Tahini, olive oil, yogurt and lemon juice in a blender or a food processor and blend to a silky and smooth paste. Scrap the sides of the blender couple times during this process.

2. Add garlic, cumin, paprika, mint, salt and pepper and blend again. Scrape the sides of the blender. If humus is too thick add couple of tbsp water. Blend until a very smooth paste is formed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Lemon juice is a natural preservative so humus will last about a week in the refrigerator. Some people use citric acid instead of lemon juice when lemon is not available. That is fine too. You can freeze hummus and keep a couple of months in the freezer).

3. Transfer the hummus in a nice serving plate, spread and garnish with paprika, parsley or mint and 1 tsp olive oil. You can garnish with the reserved beans.

4. You can serve with warm pita bread, fresh French bread, crackers, pita chips (Cut the pita bread into small triangles. Brush with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes at 375°F preheated oven) or raw vegetables (cucumber, carrot, radish, celery, pepper, tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini).

NOTE: If you want to use dried Chick Peas-Garbanzo Beans then you need to soak the beans in a large pot of water overnight. Next day wash the Chick Peas and add enough water to cover the Chick Peas, cook on medium low heat about one hour. Add hot water if necessary. The Chick Peas need be very soft and tender.

Paprika and parsley garnished Hummus (top), Turkish Pul Biber and dill garnished Hummus (bottom)