Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Dinner in Istanbul


 Share

Recommended Posts

I have several friends in town who are leaving in a few days, so we decided to do a nice sendoff dinner. I took them to Çiya restaurant in the Asian side district of Kadıköy. It's a restaurant that specializes in home cooking of Eastern Anatolia, especially the area of Antep. Sorry if a couple of the pictures are slightly blurred because of depth-of-field problems. We were sitting at the table in half light and I couldn't really get good distance and angles.

There is a cold salad/appetizer bar, so we started with that. Clockwise from top is a salad with wild thyme, another with an unidentified wild green, a mushroom and yogurt dish, muhammara, hummus, meatless stuffed dried peppers and eggplants, and in the middle, cold bulgur köfte in a tart peppery sauce.

gallery_38081_3012_44371.jpg

Here's a closeup of the peppers. They have pepper paste and likely some tahini in the filling, and are simmered in water in which sumac berries have been soaked.

gallery_38081_3012_58242.jpg

The easiest way to order is to just see what the chef, Ali Usta, has ready, and ask for explanations. There is almost always something there that is unfamiliar to me.

gallery_38081_3012_7367.jpg

I had keledoş, a dish with lamb, boiled whole hulled wheat, chick peas and yogurt. There were also black, delicately crunchy seeds in it where were slightly sweet. I asked their identity, and the waiter said "kendir." I thought he said "kenevir" (hemp), but he said "no, kendir." Redhouse's Turkish/Ottoman English dictionary reveals that they are the same thing. My friends all decided that out of all we chose, this was the best "comfort food." Must have been the hemp seeds! :cool:

gallery_38081_3012_5800.jpg

We had one vegetarian among us, and there was exactly one vegetarian dish, purslane cooked with garbanzos, beans and tomatoes. It was also lemony-tart.

gallery_38081_3012_38146.jpg

Our visiting musician George had a güveç of tomato, lamb and eggplant.

gallery_38081_3012_73459.jpg

Our music student Ted chose one of my favorite dishes, Analı Kızlı ("Μothers and Daughters"), which consists of köfte with a bulgur shell filled with a meat mixture (the "Mothers") and smaller pure bulgur köfte (the "Daughters"). The sauce is peppery/tomatoey/lemony with mint. I was a little disappointed to see that instead of actually making the "mothers" (which are admittedly a hassle but they used to), they just added chunks of meat.

gallery_38081_3012_22698.jpg

Ted's wife Carla chose lamb cooked with cherries. The cherry flavor was not obvious, but the dish had a fruity tartness.

gallery_38081_3012_53290.jpg

For drinks there was a choice of two local specialties, and our waiter kindly brought us samples of each. On the left is a sherbet made from sumac berries soaked in water and lightly sweetened; on the right is tamarind sherbet.

gallery_38081_3012_34579.jpg

Of course we had dessert. We first planned to go to Köşkeroğlu which I think has some of the best baklava in the city, but unfortunately they were closing up. So we headed up to Taksim to Sütiş, an old and very good "muhallebici" (pudding shop). Nowadays they sell more than puddings or even just sweets, but it's the puddings that they to best.

I had fırın sütlaç, rice pudding that is thickened with soaked-then-pulverized rice (the result is much smoother than if rice flour had been used), then baked in the oven to get a crust. It is smooth and creamy, not dense with rice.

gallery_38081_3012_32454.jpg

The rest of use had keşkül, a pudding made with finely ground bitter almonds and pistachios (in the pudding; the garnish is ground pistachios and coconut),

gallery_38081_3012_33791.jpg

and künefe (the Turkish equivalent of the Arabic word konafa). In this incarnation, the kadayif "strings" are placed in two layers with a layer of a special cheese in the middle and baked. Then syrup is added and it is topped with ground pistachios.

gallery_38081_3012_51204.jpg

There was a creme caramel but y'all seen that before. :raz:

Edited because evidently my hands don't know the difference between "bulgur" and "bulgar."

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool report Sazji! I am intrigued with the various dishes you have featured, especially the Analı Kızlı (Mothers and Daughters). I love chickpeas in anything!

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a great report! I hope someday to visit Turkey. In the meantime, I have to make do with my cookbooks, and with people like you who post from The Real Deal.

Did the chef make all those foods, or does he have helpers?

Please tell more about the sherbets. When I think of sherbet I think of a frozen dessert - like ice cream but without the dairy product. Your descriptions of the flavors sound like they'd make great frozen desserts, but you described these as drinks, and they looked like drinks. Is this a different meaning of the word "sherbet" than I'm used to, or were these drinks more solid than they looked?

Finally, about those stuffed peppers. What type were they? What might be a close equivalent in the U.S. for stuffing peppers like that?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool report Sazji! I am intrigued with the various dishes you have featured, especially the Analı Kızlı (Mothers and Daughters). I love chickpeas in anything!

I added a recipe to Recipe Gullet. Feel free to improvise!

http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r1979.html

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did the chef make all those foods, or does he have helpers?

Please tell more about the sherbets.  When I think of sherbet I think of a frozen dessert - like ice cream but without the dairy product.  Your descriptions of the flavors sound like they'd make great frozen desserts, but you described these as drinks, and they looked like drinks.  Is this a different meaning of the word "sherbet" than I'm used to, or were these drinks more solid than they looked?

Finally, about those stuffed peppers.  What type were they?  What might be a close equivalent in the U.S. for stuffing peppers like that?

I'm not sure who makes what really, I'm sure that it's more people than the one guy out front! Some of those dishes take a lot of time - stuffed intestines, analı kızlı (even if they didn't make the "mothers" this time), long cooking times for hulled wheat dishes like keledoş and keşkek.

The world "sherbet" originally comes from Arabic, "sharbat," and is based on the verb to drink. The original meaning is a drink made from fruits or herbs, often dried, then boiled and with the addition of sugar. Sometimes this is made into a concentrated syrup; to make the drink you put some syrup in the bottom of the glass and add water. Many housewives make morello cherry sherbet this way, also lemon, sour oranges, tamarind (not as known these days in Turkey). My neighbor makes a lovely one of fresh red plums, the drink comes out pink. I also make a mint one - 6 c sugar to 3 cups water, bring to a boil, add two largish bunches of mint (about all you can easily submerge in the syrup), simmer till the mint is dried, add the juice of one or two lemons, simmer another couple minutes, then strain and bottle. It's wonderful on hot summer days. Another one I've been in love with lately is poppy syrup. I have a picture of it in my Blog.

The peppers most commonly used for stuffing here are a small bell pepper type with thin walls. The dried ones are available in long wreaths (see my foodblog, "Istanbul Glutfests" egullet for a picture). You might be able to purchase them from some of the Turkish food supply stores online. The dry ones I've found can be sweet or hot and often both turn up in a string. I don't know of a type readily available in the US that is really an equivalent. If you have a good source of eggplant, you can dry your own! (They hollow out the insides first.)

I'll post a recipe soon for stuffed peppers (vine leaves, zucchini, eggplant, whatever) with meat as they are mostly made in the southeast. Those are good with fresh vegetables as well.

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very cool report Sazji! I am intrigued with the various dishes you have featured, especially the Analı Kızlı (Mothers and Daughters). I love chickpeas in anything!

I added a recipe to Recipe Gullet. Feel free to improvise!

http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r1979.html

That is so great! Thank you very much Sazji!

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I think your "mystery green" was sea beans (fasulye deniz, plus assorted umlauts). I ate at Ciya just a few weeks after you did, and had some of these from the cold salad bar. Amazing--stewed in olive oil, then chilled, but still a little plump and crispy, and salty in that way that's intrinsic, not added during cooking. Deeeelicious.

We also got some desserts, which I've never ordered there before. As usual, all _un_usual. The most memorable one was a sort of dry pistachio crumbly biscuit, not sweet at all, served with marshmallow fluff (uh, the traditional, homemade kind), so that you could combine the two in a single bite and get sweet/not sweet and dry/sticky combinations. Great.

Incidientally, sh-r-b is indeed the root for 'to drink' in Arabic, but I think it's actually a back-formation from a Persian word, because the Arabic word for soup, "shurba", is not spelled like normal Arabic words. (If you care: you can't have two consonants following a long vowel. "Shurba" is the example Arabic teachers always trot out as freakish and wrong.)

Zora O’Neill aka "Zora"

Roving Gastronome

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
I think your "mystery green" was sea beans (fasulye deniz, plus assorted umlauts).  I ate at Ciya just a few weeks after you did, and had some of these from the cold salad bar. Amazing--stewed in olive oil, then chilled, but still a little plump and crispy, and salty in that way that's intrinsic, not added during cooking. Deeeelicious.

Incidientally, sh-r-b is indeed the root for 'to drink' in Arabic, but I think it's actually a back-formation from a Persian word, because the Arabic word for soup, "shurba", is not spelled like normal Arabic words. (If you care: you can't have two consonants following a long vowel. "Shurba" is the example Arabic teachers always trot out as freakish and wrong.)

I'm always interested in linguistics! :) Arabic words in Turkish can take on some odd forms as some, as you say, came into Turkish through Persian, and other changes happened because of the lack of many of the sounds of Arabic (the velar consonants, the glottal stop, the `ayn...), which were still indicated in the old arabo-persian script but not in the latin, which is phonetic. There's another factor - as a language of the learned, but which was not necessary spoken, arabic was also was "morphed" in ways that wouldn't ever have happened in Arabic. So there are usages and actual words that almost no Arab recognizes. Like "itfaiye," which (which evidently is from an Arabic root having to do with extinguishing) meaning "The Fire Department."

The green was definitely not deniz börülcesi (literally sea blackeyed pea). That's Salicornia in botanical latin, quite common in meyhanes. This was definitely a plant with regularly-distinguishable leaves and stems. I'd love to see Çiya's take on deniz börülcesi though!

Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salicornia--good to know! And good to know it's common, as well. The guy at Ciya did write "deniz fasulye" (or the closest thing--I cannot remember sp now), and then we saw "deniz [sth I don't remember]" in the market as we were walking out, which was clearly the same thing.

Where that leaves your mystery green, I don't know. Now that I look more closely, I do see the leaves, and it looks suspiciously like that hyssop/zaatar/caperberry/whatever overlap we were talking about over on the sumac thread. But then _everything_ looks like that. Oh well--Ciya will always have some great mysteries.

Zora O’Neill aka "Zora"

Roving Gastronome

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And re: Arabic in Turkish, I was always so relieved when I saw something in Ottoman Turkish--I'd usually end up saying, "Ooooh, so _that's_ what they're going for."

"Itfaiye" reminds me I have no idea how to say fire department in Arabic! But I'm guessing it's _not_ connected to the word for ashtray, which comes from that 'extinguish' root.

Zora O’Neill aka "Zora"

Roving Gastronome

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Back from Turkey about a week and now have time to report.

In Istanbul and surroundings we dined well at :

Bridge Restaurant

Nakkastepe Yolu #62

Baglarbasi

this is a very large food operation, we ate there with a Turkish friend we ate in the "regular" dining room with a WONDERFUL view of The Bridge and The City. There is also a handsome fish operation under the same roof and a wedding hall.

We were in a large party (75) at;

Ajia Hotel

info@ajiahotel.com and/or www.ajiahotel.com

unfortunately EVERYTHING was fried but EVERYTHING tasted great...wish that I'd had an opportunity to try that kitchen again

Out near the NEW American Embassy:

Le Pecheur

Yenkoy Cad

#80 Tarabya

was an experience, again in the BIG group, but we dined well

Then four of us went to Izmir (very much worthwhile) and I can commend:

Deniz Restaurant

Ataturk Cd #188/B

Kordon

extraordinary seafood.pick your FRESH fish (from the display) pay for it by the pound and sit outside on the harbor.....without doubt the best meal we had on the trip.

Topcu

Kazim Dirik Caddesi #3/B

Pasaport

has the reputation of the best kabobs in Izmir and we found them to be very tasty and the staff very accomodating to we English only speakers.

We enjoyed our time in Turkey, found EVERYONE pleasant, helpful and friendly to Americans. Shame we don't help them more......but I delve into politics,sorry.

We drank Turkish wines everywhere and for the most part found them acceptable.

Raki, now, that's another story for another time (yes, I did/do like it).

all I need now is to find the proper recipe for "Antep Ezme" and some fresh , hot pita.

Ted Task

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

My husband and I will be in Istanbul for a week in January. Can anyone recommend a hotel? My husband will be put up at a very expensive place for several days for a conference; I will be joining him later, but we want to move to a less expensive place. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Cathy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hi, all--

I'm leaving for Istanbul in a couple of days. No longer looking for hotel recommendations, but I wonder if the knowledgeable folks among you could talk about food that we're likely to encounter now, in the middle of winter. Will there be significant differences from food in the other seasons, and is there anything we should look for in particular in this season? Thanks in advance for any insight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Catherine, I'm sorry I can't remember who did it, but several months ago, there was an eG blog from someone who lives in Turkey. It was a favorite of mine and I meant to bookmark it, but maybe someone else will be able to point the direction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Carolyn. It took me until just a little bit ago--after I posted the query--but it turns out that Sazji himself blogged a year ago. I'm in the process of reading it right now. It's great--and since he was blogging in December, it should answer my question. What would I do without egullet?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...