Immigrant Cuisine

Vedat Başaran October 2013

THE SOCIOCULTURAL MOBILITY TRIGGERED BY THE POPULATION EXCHANGE INFLUENCED CULINARY CULTURE AS WELL. WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK HERE AT SOME OF THE NEW TASTES THAT CAME TO ANATOLIA.

Göçmen Lezzetler

There is no doubt that the population exchange between Anatolia and Rumelia is one of the most important events in Turkey’s recent history. But it was not only people who came and went during that often bittersweet social upheaval. As established cultures traded places, culinary traditions were added into the mix, taking pride of place in the lands where they were relocated. So much so that many dishes whose ingredients and cooking methods are similar still grace tables today under different names in the various regions affected by the population exchange.
Among those meat and vegetables dishes, numerous examples can be cited, such as Alivra, a meat dish with a thick sauce similar to Béchamel, Armiro, a Bektashi chicken dish, and Petura, a dish made of chicken or red meat with walnuts and red pepper atop crumbled “yufka” (phyllo) pastry and fortified with a meat or chicken broth-based sauce, not to mention Maşkulu, Tizpera, and Patatufayi- all of them immigrant recipes that are still made frequently today. Among those made with pastry, Prasopta leek beurek and Triopsumi cheese bread are particular favorites.
Due to its geographical proximity, Anatolian culture is no stranger to such immigrant cuisine. Bicirotta dried fruit pulp, sweet, shredded Gizlemidis and the milk-based pudding Glopta are some of the best known. To them may be added the thick, sour, molasses-like Auridas syrups made from pomegranates, grapes or plums, as well as watermelon molasses, which is frequently consumed.
Here are some examples of immigrant recipes that have enriched Anatolian cuisine.

FRIED SQUASH FLOWERS FILLED WITH CREAM CHEESE

Ingredients
12 squash flowers
100 g “Lor” (Turkish cream cheese)
Half bunch flat leaf parsley
Half bunch fresh dill
5 basil leaves
100 g olive oil (for frying)
Salt and ground white
pepper to taste

For the sauce
1 bottle soda water
50 g flour
2 egg yolks
Beat all ingredients together.

Preparation
Add the finely chopped parsley and dill, the salt and the ground white pepper to the lor cheese and mix well. Knead together and fill the squash flowers with the mixture. Dip the dolmas first in flour and then in the sauce and fry in olive oil. Serve hot.

CREAM CHEESE DESSERT WITH MULBERRY TOPPING

Ingredients
200 g “Lor”
(Turkish cream cheese)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp flour
200 g purple mulberries

Preparation
Mix the cream cheese, egg yolk, powdered sugar and flour together well and knead like dough. Divide into walnut-size lumps and roll into smooth balls in your palms. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated 180°C oven. Place the mulberries in a skillet and bring to a boil, crushing with the back of a spoon. When done boiling, strain and pour the juice over the cheese dessert before serving.

STUFFED ARTICHOKES İZMİR STYLE

Ingredients
5 artichokes
Half bunch flat leaf
parsley, finely chopped
Half bunch fresh mint
leaves, finely chopped
Half bunch fresh dill,
finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp sugar
200 g rice

Preparation
Rinse the rice and prepare the filling by mixing together the chopped parsley, dill, mint and green onions with the salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Peel the artichokes, fill with the stuffing and arrange in a pot. Fill the pot half way up with water. Add the salt and cover with moistened wax paper. Cover the pot tightly with a lid and cook for about 1 hour. When cold, sprinkle with chopped dill and drizzle with olive oil before serving.

NETTLE SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE

Ingredients
2 bunches nettles
1 bunch lamb’s ear lettuce
1 bunch cress
1 pomegranate
100 g İzmir goat cheese
Sour pomegranate syrup
Olive oil

Preparation
Wash the nettles, lamb’s ear lettuce and cress and drain well. Tear the leaves with your fingers and mix in a bowl. Divide the salad into individual bowls and top with grated goat cheese and pomegranate seeds before serving. Use pomegranate syrup and olive oil as desired for the dressing.