y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: A Tantalizing Turkish Home-Cooked Supper

A Tantalizing Turkish Home-Cooked Supper

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of enjoying a very special home-cooked dinner by my friends from Turkey, Ugur and Ozlem, along with their little sous chef in training, Taylan. The food was prepared with passion and precision that is worth sharing and remembering.

left: grilled, peeled eggplant; right: marrow bones grilled on a cedar plank

The multi-course meal began with prep for one of Ugur's self-created dishes. It just happens to contain my favorite vegetable, eggplant, and the decadent, beloved ingredient of marrow.

To tell you the truth, after hearing about this dish from my brother and sister-in-law, I asked for the invitation to try it!

Ilikcan - a compound name of Turkish words for marrow and eggplant

The finished dish involved several complex steps and ingredients which resulted in this savory, creamy, slightly spicy concoction which Ugur named Ilikcan (ilik = bone marrow and can is short for patlican = eggplant).

Ilikcan on Etimek toast crackers

I could have eaten this dish in any way, but we spread it onto toasted crackers called Etimek, which provided the appropriate crunch and toasty contrast to the creamy spread. It was hard to stop, but remembered that this was the appetizer.

Tarhana soup with salad

Ozlem prepared the next course of Tarhana soup. The translation into English was not clear, but my palate was detecting some tomato, onions, peppers, herbs, perhaps yogurt, all thickened with some type of flour base. It was comforting.

The salad, to be eaten with the main course, contained finely sliced greens, radicchio, avocado and nutty, peppery cumin seeds in a lemony vinaigrette.

Marinated lamb chops

Undoubtedly, Ugur's most perfect dish are his famous lamb chops. He made these for me almost a decade ago, early into our friendship, and several times throughout. It is his unique, secret recipe.

I would have been happy with the Ilikcan alone. When he brought out the tray of chops marinated in spices, onion juices and other magical ingredients, I had to pinch myself. It was a lovely, unexpected treat.

Grilled lamb chops

While we were eating the soup course, he began grilling these beauties in the patio, bringing out this delectable plate.

Lamb chops - detail

While they were perfection before, he seemed to even improve upon this dish. I've had perfectly prepared lamb chops at many fine dining establishments, but these are hands down my favorite.

Poğaça - stuffed, puff pastries

Also during the lamb preparation, Ozlem made these Poğaça puff pastries from scratch.

Half were filled with a type of feta cheese and half were filled with sliced olives, another favorite of mine. She brushed the tops with an egg wash and sprinkled more cumin seeds on top.

Poğaça and Sooji halwa for dessert

According to Ozlem, these pastries are often eaten for breakfast. I enjoyed the savory, warm, light pastries for dessert since my sweet tooth is not too strong. They were served piping hot right out of the oven.

From home I also made and brought over the popular Indian sweet Sooji halwa, similar to Cream of Wheat, but richer.

There are many variations of this classic but my version was made of semolina wheat flour, ghee (clarified butter), ground cardamom seeds, sliced almonds, golden raisins and brown sugar. In this photo the halwa is cut into squares and warmed up.

çay - Turkish tea

Along with Turkish custom, we ended this soul satisfying meal with several cups of çay, or Turkish black tea that is slowly brewed in stacked teapots. A more fitting close to a delightful meal I cannot imagine.  With this post, I'd like to once again thank my friends for their warm hospitality by cooking this unforgettable meal with love.   

4 Responses to “A Tantalizing Turkish Home-Cooked Supper”:

  1. The only sad thing about this wonderful post, meal, and photos is that your poor readers, including myself, could ever only enjoy it vicariously. ;) I hope to encounter just as amazing Turkish meal soon in my future.

  2. Hi Christine. No worries, all hope is not lost. My Turkish friends introduced me to Bayfront Cafe in Newport Beach:


    Great setting and great food. There are others too.

  3. Én élveztem olvasni a hozzászólás, én tetszik az oldal, és lesz újra Nagy blog nektek, valami nagyon jó hír, és fontos információkat. Szeretem a webhelyen.

  4. To Horvátországi apartmanok : Köszönöm a kedves megjegyzéseket. Én Google Translate megérteni, hogy mit mondott. Ez olyan izgalmas számomra, hogy a nemzetközi olvasók. (Thank you for your kind comments. I used Google Translate to understand what you said. It's so exciting for me to have international readers.)

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