Posted 28 July 2007 - 10:15 PM
The toppings on the ekmegi she descibed were hamsi (which I believe is anchovies?), sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and parsley.
Is this a particular regional variation on ekmegi? What other variations exist if any?
I'd love to try to sort out a recipe, too, if anyone knows where to find one.
This is not a recipe she (or anyone she knew) made at home, but more a "streetfood".
Posted 29 July 2007 - 11:24 AM
When she was talking about this, she drew a map of Turkey and gave me a geography lesson about all the countries that surround it, bodies of water that touch it, with footnotes of history attached. That part was all quite clear.
But when it came to the recipe questions I posed her, as can happen, things got vague.
But I do remember she was pointing on the map drawn with pen on white blue-lined index paper with her well-manicured finger while she spoke of this specific ekmegi with such pleasure - her finger tapping again and again on the northwest corner of Turkey, on the edge of the Black Sea. But that finger was insisting on my geography lesson, forget about recipes.
It sounded to me to be similar to a nicoise tomato-based tart without the olives baked onto a yeasted cornmeal based bread. I wouldn't be surprised if there are variations using chickpea flour too . . . I don't know why, but it just sounds as if it should be so considering the relationships/histories/geography.
At any rate, it sounded really good.
Posted 29 July 2007 - 03:13 PM
Here is yourtube demonstration of making another time of Ekmeği which is very interesting.
Posted 29 July 2007 - 05:25 PM
I am beginning to think that the "ekmegi" she was trying to describe to me is similar to pide. Possibly when she said "cornmeal in the bread" she might have been referring to the bit of coarse semolina that can cling to the bottom. And also possibly she may have been talking about two different varieties of this "pizza" - not sundried tomatoes, anchovies, spinach and parsley all together on one bread but two varied combinations: the first the tomatoes and anchovies, the second the spinach and parsley. That would seem to make sense. So far I can not find any reference to all these things put together on a maize-enhanced crust, so it may have been the language barrier which created the pizza I thought existed. I'll ask her next time I see her.
Well. I still think it sounds good whether it was real or not.
Posted 29 July 2007 - 06:34 PM
The Black Sea region's cuisine (northern Turkey) is based on corn and anchovies.
There is yet hope.
Posted 10 August 2007 - 02:07 PM
There are several different corn breads in Turkey, plain and with the addition of other ingredients as well. They are most popular in the Black Sea region (both west and east) because corn grows well there while wheat does not. Most of them are very dense because corn meal is usually the only flour used.
Hamsi is a small fish that travels in huge schools around the Black Sea, it's a staple for the peoples of NE Turkey. "Anchovies" is sort of a general word that doesn't describe one particular species of fish. You wouldn't want to use canned anchovies for this! If you can get fresh sardines that would work. You might find salt cured similar fish at a Greek or Turkish grocery. Smelt might even work though the flavor is rather mild. Some people remove the spines of hamsi before cooking, others leave them in for certain things as they soften and are hardly noticeable when well cooked. Up to you!
Hamsi bread is usually rendered "hamsili ekmek" in Turkish - "bread with hamsi." The Laz name is kopÁoni mÁkudi. Say that five times fast. ;) (Laz are a local people of the East Black Sea who speak a language related to Georgian.) The hamsili ekmek variations I've had were not topped like a pizza, all the ingredients were mixed evenly. But why not try it? There are lots of other breads with meat toppings, though I haven't had any fish ones before. This dish is definitely not "street food" in Laz country, it's a very common home cooking recipe.
I did a search for hamsili ekmek recipes. Turkish recipes generally go something like: "Make dough with flour and add water till it is the right consistency, add enough salt and other ingredients, bake until done." :) The good news is that the recipes are quite varied. The most basic are simple corn meal, hamsi, green onions and chard or kale, and others are more varied. Some used salted hamsi, others used fresh. I would not use canned anchovies, those are another thing altogether. Kale is the sine qua non vegetable of the Black Sea, but if you use it for this, you want to use young tender leaves (easy if you grow your own). So it's really up to you. The most complex is a recipe I found here, it can serve as a guide:
I provided the link mostly for the picture. Here's a translation:
1 bunch chard (here it's sold that way; about 1/2 kg )
One bowl salted hamsi [the recipe is not more specific]
2 medium onions
4-5 "sivri" peppers (a local thin walled long thin pepper that can be either hot or sweet)
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch fresh mint (a "bunch" would be around 12 stems)
Coriander leaves (cilantro) or ground coriander [use fresh!]
3 cups corn meal.
1/2 c vegetable oil
Soak the salted hamsi in water to leach out the salt.
Combine the finely chopped chard, onion, pepper, tomato and soaked hamsi and add water, knead into a dough. [I'm assuming the parsley, mint and cilantro too, chopped, though the recipe leaves them out]
Add the oil and enough hot water to make a soft dough, continue kneading.
Place into a baking pan and bake at 170 C (350 F) for 60-70 minutes, until the top is well browned.
Edited by sazji, 10 August 2007 - 02:24 PM.
-Lea de Laria
Posted 10 August 2007 - 03:23 PM
I made a pledge to myself that I would no longer use the word "fabulous" but really I can not help it. This is fabulous!
Interesting that the hamsili ekmek is a loaf rather than like a pizza. I've had loaves of bread with things like olives or rendered salt pork bits among other things baked in, but never one with fish.
Will let you know how it comes out when I try it.
Posted 10 August 2007 - 10:58 PM
I hope you like the bread and will look forward to hearing how it turned out. Mostly I find the Black Sea cornbreads almost inedible, but I've always had them the second day. The hamsili ekmek was the only one I actually liked; it was moist and dense.
-Lea de Laria
Posted 11 August 2007 - 07:24 AM
Yeah, they say the Laz can put hamsi into almost everything, even a dessert. (The Laz I've talked to say this nothing but exaggeration of the already-exaggerated stereotype and that there is absolutely no hamsi dessert.) But I've had people swear up and down that not only does it exist, but that they ate it while in the Black Sea. Things get a little sketchy when you ask them to describe it however...