|ekşili kabak or courgettes with chickpeas in lemon and mint|
I always think it must be very easy to be vegetarian here in Turkey because what with the abundance of fresh vegetables here, the cuisine includes so many non-meat dishes. Think of all those meze for a start. Now me, I am not vegetarian: I just love vegetables!
You might say courgettes - kabak - are not seasonal and you would be right. For me too they spell summer but with the addition of the chickpeas/nohut, the dish acquires a whole new wintry dimension. Anyway there they were at the market no less so I succumbed and bought some. In Turkish this dish is called Ekşili Kabak – my Turkish husband says he has never heard of it! Probably because he is more used to Kıymalı Kabak/courgettes with mince, which is the classic. But I was burning to make this: I love pulses in any form so I knew I’d love this combination which I first saw in Alev Kaman's book 'Modern Türk Mutfağı'.
I say airily I love pulses but I hardly knew what they were when I first came here. They were not English staples by any stretch of the imagination and when I saw the amount of work it took to prepare them – think mother-in-law with a pile of lentils in front of her sifting through them meticulously fishing out the little pieces of stone - it was hardly a given that I too would try my hand.
Ingredients for Courgettes with Chickpeas in Lemon and Mint
8 medium courgettes/kabak
1 cup boiled chickpeas/nohut (use tinned)
1 onion thinly sliced Turkish-style in half moons
4 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp pepper paste/biber salçası
1tbsp tomato paste/domates salçası
2 cups hot water
1 tbsp dried mint/nane
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, crushed
· Cut the courgettes into 3 pieces. With a fork, score on all sides. Then cut each piece lengthways into 4 and each length into 2 cm pieces.
· Gently soften the onion in the cooking oil. Add the pepper and tomato pastes and stir briefly.
· Add the courgettes, chickpeas, salt and pepper. Pour the hot water on top and cook over a low flame for 25 minutes.
· Then add the mint, lemon juice and crushed garlic and stir. Cook for 10 minutes more.
· Serve hot.
Tips1. I mentioned those tomato and pepper pastes in the recent kapuska post. One little caveat: the pepper one comes in 2 types: acı as in hot or spicy, and tatlı/sweet.You can use either depending on your taste. Be careful as acı really is acı!
|red peppers drying at Biber Evi, Assos|
2.These pastes or purees are sold in both tins and jars of all sizes. Always get a small jar as it will keep much better and anyway I'm betting that you're not going to be using it in huge quantities on a regular basis, are you?