The inevitable trio! Skewered meatballs, bean salad and pumpkin dessert.
When in Antalya, one hardly can escape from these three dishes. Skewered meat ball joints are everywhere, the choices ranging from humble road side grills to multi-storey palace-like restaurants. The meatball is always accompanied by a bean salad. The bean salad is a simple mix of boiled butter beans, sliced raw onions, tomatoes and parsley, turned into a special treat by a rich tahini based sauce. It is essential to use the delicate tiny beans of Çandır, an inland province famous for its produce. The use of tahini as a sauce is not only confined to the savoury salad. The attractive bright orange pumpkin dessert is irresistible with the nutty richness of a generous pour of tahini. The restaurant owners, aware of the seductive appeal of the dessert, stack huge pumpkins in front of their shops as a tempting tasty invitation.
favourite street food of Burdur and Antalya are definitely skewered meatballs. It is a must-try dish when visiting both towns. Prepared by the master cook, the taste of sizzling skewers on charcoal grill cannot be matched when made at home. Still if you do want to give it a try be sure to choose the right meat, preferably a combination of beef and lamb. Wide bladed flat skewers are required as they hold the meat better.
½ kg minced beef (beef and lamb mixed half and half)
tomato, green pepper
onion, parsley, sumac
pide (flat bread)
-Knead the minced meat with enough salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon). Let it rest for about half an hour.
-Dip your hands in water. Take golf ball sized pieces from the minced meat. Mould around the skewer, pressing them with your palm and fingers.
-Quarter the tomatoes and thread onto another skewer with green peppers on both ends.
-Grill over a moderately hot charcoal fire, rotating the skewers occasionally.
-Cut the flatbread into palm sized pieces. Place the cooked skewers onto the flatbread, covering it with another one. Lightly press the bread, so that it will warm up and soak the juice of the meat. Holding the bread tightly, pull the skewers to release the meatballs.
-Arrange the chargrilled tomatoes and green peppers on top. Serve with thinly sliced onions tossed with finely chopped flat leaf parsley and sumac.
Bean Salad with Tahini
2 cups Çandır beans (small butter beans)
1 cup olive oil
½ cup tahini
½ cup vinegar
1 cup water
5-6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
red pepper flakes
4 hard boiled eggs
6 green peppers
½ bunch parsley
-Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.
-Boil the beans about an hour or longer until they are thoroughly cooked and tender. Let it cool in the pan.
-Mix the olive oil, tahini, vinegar, lemon juice and water. Mash 3-4 tablespoons of the beans and mix with the sauce. Crush the garlic with salt and add to the sauce. If needed you can add more water. Add the red pepper flakes and pepper.
-Drain the beans and put in a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over and toss gently.
-Peel and thinly slice the onions. Mix with salt and let it drain in a colander. Wash the onions and squeeze out the excess moisture. Put the onions on top of the bean salad. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.
-Peel the eggs and cut into quarters. Cut the tomatoes into wedges. Chop the green peppers into rounds. Arrange all on the salad in a decorative way.
1 ½ kg pumpkin
3 cups sugar
1 cup tahini
1 cup ground walnuts
Slice the pumpkin into 5-7 cm wide slices and cut off the hard outer part. Divide each slice ndto three pieces and place in a large pot. Sprinkle over the sugar and let it stand for a day, or overnight.
Next day bring the pumpkins to boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer until the syrup becomes thick.
Let it cool completely and transfer to a large serving plate. Pour over the tahinii sprinkle with ground walnuts and serve.
Turkish cuisine is rich in sweet syrupy desserts. Baklava being the most famous, there is an array of baked or fried desserts getting their sweet appeal from a good soak in a shiny sugar syrup.
In Antalya, the ultimate fried and syrup drenched sweet is Arap Kadayıfı. Irresistible they are, the walnut filled, fried half-moon shaped parcels glistening with syrup are far from being light.
However there is light feeling to the taste of these rich sweets. There is a subtle touch in syrupy desserts that often goes unnoticed by foreigners in Antalya. The syrup is usually perfumed with a handful of rose geranium leaves or a dash of orange flower water. This flowery note adds a mystical feel to the taste, suited well to the mythical landscape.
Syrup-soaked Fried Flat Crumpets filled with Walnuts
1 kg fresh yassı kadayıf (flat crumpet-pancakes)Arap Kadayıf is made from flat crumpet like pancakes available commercially. They are referred to as Arab in Antalya, but also known by the names Taş (stone) Kadayıf or Yassı (flat) Kadayıf in the rest of the country.
150 g ground walnuts
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 eggs, beaten
oil for frying (about 300-350 ml)
For the syrup
1 kg sugar
1 lt water
3-4 rose geranium leaves
juice of ½ lemon
- First prepare the syrup. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Add the rose geranium leaves. Stir to dissolve over low heat. Allow to boil gently for 5-10 minutes. When the syrup is slightly thickened add the lemon juice, and let it boil for another minute or so. Discard the leaves and set aside to cool to room temperature.
-In a bowl combine walnuts, sugar and cinnamon. In another bowl whisk the eggs until they become runny.
-Take each crumpet, place a teaspoonful of walnut mixture and fold pinching the edges to seal. You may brush the edges to help sealing.
-Heat frying oil in a shallow pan. Dip each folded kadayıf in beaten egg and place carefully in the pan. Do not crowd the pan too much, fry pancakes in batches of four or five. When one side is golden, flip over and fry the other side. Take the pancakes from the frying pan with a tong and drop into the syrup. Let rest in the syrup for a moment and remove with a slotted spoon in a serving dish. If desired sprinkle with more ground walnuts.
Foraging is more for taste than for need. Usually considered as the poor man’s treat, wild greens constitute a great part of peasant cuisine, their use varied, ranging from simply rolling a handful of greens in flatbread, to making elaborate layered savoury pastries.Wild greens are the feast of the Cretans. There are a sizable number of people that originate from the island of Crete, and they’re known for their appetite for edible greens. Foraging is still pretty a way of life in rural areas, especially in the rainy spring season.
The most common way of preparing wild greens is stir frying with onions, which has versatile ways of serving. Breaking in a few eggs can make a good start kick for breakfast or a light lunch on its own. Accompanied by garlic yogurt it is the perfect meze. In cases when yogurt is mixed in, it transforms into a cooling light dish, perfect for hot summer months.
Nettles with Yogurt
Cretan immigrants are famous for their use of edible wild greens. Nettles are among the favourite, and despite their notoriously stingy touch, they make delicious dishes. Be sure to wear gloves when handling them!
500 gr. nettles
1 bunch spring onion
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper
2 cups strained yogurt
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
-Pick over the nettles and discard the stems.
-Boil the nettle leaves briefly in plenty of salted water until just tender.
-Drain the leaves at once and when slightly cool, chop roughly.
-Clean and finely chop the spring onions. Heat the butter and olive oil into a big pan. Add the chopped spring onions and fry until soft. Add the nettles, salt and black pepper and stir fry briefly. Transfer to a serving plate.
-Crush the garlic with salt. Mix with the yogurt and stir until smooth. Pour over the nettles. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle over the red pepper flakes before serving.