We’re back in the kitchen, refreshed from a fun family vacation in Japan. More on that in the months to come…but today, we are going Turkish.
Most Turkish dishes hold instant appeal for younger palates. Food that is filled with flavor and mildly spiced like borek pastry, humus with pita bread, lahmacun pizza, revani semolina cake…and today’s recipe – potato bulgur mezze (appetizer) gets added to this delicious list.
Ozlem (the voice behind Ozlem’s Turkish Table) and I go way back to Austin. We struck an instant friendship based on a common love for food. Over the years, our blogs have brought us even closer, and now, in spite of living on different continents, our chats still invariably veer back to Turkish and Indian food.
From cooking instructor to tour guide, Ozlem is passionate about her native cuisine. Her Turkish cookery course is where she talks about Turkey’s interesting cuisines against the backdrop of its ancient culture. This recipe is part of the video course and also on her site.
Since the current generation of kids work better with visual explanations, my boys were extremely enthusiastic about watching and cooking from Ozlem’s video recipe. Plus kids like using their hands for working with food, and this recipe gives ample opportunity to do just that…
Aunty Ozlem’s potato bulgur mezze were a huge hit, let’s see how the boys went about making it…Let’s just say, I was a little concerned that with all the ‘tasting’ while cooking, the potatoes wouldn’t make it to the bulgur!
To start with, we halved the original recipe which gave us about 18 pieces of the mezze. Have your kids write halved amounts next to the ingredients list while making half recipes; this avoids any confusion while cooking.
Start by boiling 2 medium sized potatoes in salted water. Drain and leave aside.
While the potatoes are boiling, measure 1/2 cup of fine bulgur (if you have coarse grain bulgur, use a grinder or spice blender to grind it till fine). Wash and drain.
Use clean hands to mix the washed bulgur with 1/4 tablespoon of Turkish red pepper paste (I happen to have this on hand, but perfectly fine to leave it out of the recipe if you don’t) and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes – adjust the amount to your family’s spice preference.
Add finely chopped spring onions and mix well. Add 1/2 cup of boiling hot water. Stir with a spoon and leave aside for 15 minutes (set the timer).
Now peel the potatoes and mash them along with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and cracked black pepper. Knead well with your clean hands.
Taste the potatoes for seasonings. At this stage, my kids ate almost all the olive oil flavored potatoes!
Add the bulgur to the potatoes, chopped parsley and mix well, tasting for seasoning as you go along.
Keep a bowl of cold water on the side. Dip your fingers in it and take about 2 tablespoons of the potato and bulgur mixture in your hand. Form oblong patties and arrange them on a platter.
My boys like a dip made with olive oil, cracked black pepper and a dash of Balsamic vinegar, so that is what we used for dipping our mezze – Patatesli Bulgurlu Kofte. Ozlem recommends delicious pomegranate molasses and has a simple recipe for making it on her site.