“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Smoked Bhopali Köfte with Turkish spicesSo I made Smoked Bhopali Köfte yet again a few days ago, this time a twist of taste with Turkish spices. I thought I’d shared the original recipe earlier, but just found it in my drafts! So here it is again, a recipe from an old aunt in Lucknow, one that is infinitely adaptable to taste as most curries are. This time it’s inspired by Turkish cuisine. Köfte or kifte, or kofte aka meatballs are found in possibly every cuisine and across different cultures. It is interesting to follow the trail to see how different cuisines have their own version of simply put, minced meal balls. India offers a smattering of vegetarian koftas as well – paneer, lauki, banana etc.

Kofta is a meatball or meatloaf and is a part of Jordanian, Albanian, Afghan, Azerbaijani, Arab, Armenian, Balkan, Bangladeshi, Greek, Indian, Israeli, Iranian, Kurdish, Pakistani and Turkish cuisine. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onions. In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran, koftas are usually made of lamb, beef, mutton or chicken, whereas Greek and Cypriot varieties are usually made of pork, beef, veal or mixtures of them.

Turkish pidesOne of my favurite cusuines is of course Turkish cuisine, very adaptable to the Indian palette, very flavourful and fun. Takes me to back to Turkish flatbread pizzas or pides I made a while ago, or these Turkish Adana Kebabs which I make quite often. Turkey, once widely acknowledged as the centre of the ancient world, is a gateway between the civilizations that surrounded the Mediterranean and the Far East. It has long been called home by enterprising and hardy traders who introduced exotic spices and flavours between the two civilizations. Fertile land encouraged a varied cuisine, rich in meat, grains, seafood, fruit and vegetables.Smoked Bhopali Köfte

[print_this]Recipe: Smoked Bhopali Köfte
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Summary: Lightly spiced, moist, flavourful lamb mince Smoked Bhopali Köfte with a Turkish influence. Enjoy them in this Indian style curry, else grill them as kebabs if you like. Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours

  • Köfte
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced {reserve 1/2 tsp}
  • 1tbsp sumac powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • For smoking
  • Piece of coal for smoking
  • Few drops of ghee
  • Betel leaf or small piece of aluminum foil
  • Gravy
  •  3 onions {1chopped, 2 minced}
  • 1tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp thick yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp coriander / dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder


  1. Köfte
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the mince, onions, garlic, sumac, paprika, garam masala and salt.
  3. Heat the coal over an open flame until red hot. Make a hole in the mound of minced meat, cover with a pan/betel leaf or piece of aluminum foil. Put hot coal on the leaf, topped by the reserved half tsp of garlic paste. Quickly drizzle the few drops of melted ghee over, and immediately cover the sizzling coal with a small bowl /steel katori pressed into the mince. Cover the bowl with a heavy lid, and leave to smoke for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Now discard the coal and  betel leaf, hand mix in the chopped fresh coriander and mint, and make small meatballs/köfte.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan, and gently fry the köfte over medium high flame until golden. Reserve in a covered bowl.
  6. Gravy
  7. In a bowl, mix the minced onions and all the ingredients for gravy, except chopped onion and velvetier.
  8. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and fry chopped onion until golden brown.
  9. Add the onion and masala mix. Add salt to taste and simmer covered until the masala is roasted and the oil leaves sides.
  10. Gently slide in the köfte one by one, stir gently to coat and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle over with velvetier if using.
  12. Serve hot with naan, parathas, rice etc, with a salad on the side.


If you get a chance to travel through Turkey, do try to make a point of seeking out traditional food, and we don’t mean to stick only (pun intended) with their mouthwatering kebabs. They have a heritage of well over 1300 years of history and a long and storied tradition in the making of delicious, must-try Turkish dishes sourced from the best of local ingredients. Here are some typical Turkish dishes that you should make a point to sample when you are fortunate enough to drop by for a visit via last minute package holiday deals with the family. Holidays also allow you to put your feet up and relax while you enjoy the delicious local dishes and delicacies on offer:

6 Must Try Turkish Dishes

1. Lahmacun translates from its Arabic roots as dough with meat, coming originally from Syria. The meat is minced lamb or beef with chopped onions, that has been cooked and flavoured with spices, usually cinnamon, allspice and chilli, although each recipe will be someone’s family tradition. This is spread over a flaky, flat bread, similar to pizzas, but traditionally rolled up to eat on the move, long considered as one of the original fast food in Turkey.

2. Menemen is renowned by travelers throughout Turkey as a hearty, tasty meal that sets you up for the day. The base is chopped onions, peppers and tomatoes, simmered in a frying pan with some paprika and black pepper, topped with eggs, which are either cooked whole, or stirred into the dish. Another very budget-friendly Turkish comfort food.

3. Börek are all essentially a form of pie, with a filling wrapped in pastry, usually containing meat, cheese, potato or spinach, or a combination of one or more of these, and come in a variety of shapes and styles. There are various shops that sell the pies, but the best come from specialist Börek shops, which are worth seeking out for your first experience of this dish. Ask for the house specialty and you are sure not to be disappointed as their pride and reputation will be at stake.

4. Köfte are a type of kebab made by forming a delicious mix of minced meat and spices, typically lamb and cumin, on to skewers, before broiling them over an open flame. You will find these all over Turkey, which is always a good sign, where they are eaten served with pitta bread, or served with a salad or in a fresh tomato sauce.

5. Bulgur Pilavi is similar to a rice pilaf but made with bulgar (cracked) wheat instead, and is a typical central Anatolian dish. The grains themselves have a pleasant, nutty flavour, but they simply form the base for a wide variety of additional ingredients, most commonly onions, tomato, peppers and mint.

6. Dolmas refers to a style of dishes that are very popular throughout the country. Meaning in Turkish simply ‘stuffed’ they cover a range of vegetables with either a meat or vegetable filling. The meat ones tend to be served hot and the non-meat cold.

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” You should eat delicious things while you can still eat them,
go to wonderful places while you still can…”
Nora Ephron

Lamb & Purslane PideChomp, chomp, chomp.Ooooh, this is good“, declared Mr PAB between bites. Then gesturing wildly he said, “This MUST go on the blog. It’s GOOD!” So with recommendation, hot off the press oven, here are Lamb and Purslane Pides, or simply put Turkish Flatbread Pizza!Lamb & Purslane Pides What is purslane? It is an annual succulent, found in North India in the hot summer months, is funnily considered a weed in America {LOL}, and cooked extensively through much of Europe, Middle East, Asia and Mexico! It is known as kulfa saag here, and was the only green other than spinach that I could find to replace the chard! It worked a charm …  and went undetected by the ‘green hating‘ terrible teens!Lamb & Purslane Pides It’s been ages since I cooked lamb mince. By healthy choice I’ve switched over th chicken mince but the lamb murmur has been growing stronger of late. My SIL is a great lamb lover and mentioned that she prefers lamb to chicken any day. I was listening. Then the other day, a meeting with someone from BBC GF and she mentioned her undying love for lamb too. Now I was all ears!Lamb & Purslane Pides “Next kebabs will be have to be lamb“, I thought as I got mince from the butcher. However, this morning I lost my inclination to make kebabs. I wanted something on dough, something baked, something quick! I recollected the Turkish pides with sumac I had made long ago and googling got me to a Lamb & Chard Pide recipe on BBC GF!

Pides, local pita bread, are delicious flatbread pizzas topped with different ingredients from Turkeys rich cuisine. You have specialty Turkish pide restaurants across Turkey which sell different avatars of this flatbread. It is popular street food there as well. Regional variations in the shape, baking technique, and topped materials create distinctive styles for each region which include chicken, beef, cheese, potatoes, garlic and many other ingredients.

Lamb & Purslane Pides It came together fairly quickly. I did a quick rise dough, and by the time the dough was rising, the lamb was ready. Baked quick, crisp and nice, the lamb pides were wolfed down faster than the time I took to make them… not a crumb remained!Lamb & Purslane PidesThe recipe suggestion was to drizzle pom molasses over it. I didn’t have any but I did have a fresh plum prune sauce I developed for Del Monte. To that, I added some red harissa that I had made last week. It was H O T! 10 red chilies, more fresh red chilies = fiery HOT! That said, it’s almost gone and I am ready to make my next jar! Lamb & Purslane Pides Red Harissa The lamb offered subtle, gentle flavours, lilted further by the cottage cheese and bell pepper. The pickled peppers added some zest, and a drizzle of plum chili sauce brought out a delicious complexity of flavours … all pairing beautifully together!Lamb & Purslane Pides I loved how quickly and beautifully the meal came together. Of course we had the much dreaded power cut halfway through, so I baked a couple on a heavy griddle pan covered with a lid over low heat …. and there was no reason to complain {pictured above}. So there you, if it’s too hot to turn on the oven OR you suffer power cuts like we have all summer, these cook up crisp beautiful on the stove top too!Lamb & Purslane Pides

Lamb & Purslane PidesI had some dough left over, so made some chicken, red harissa and plum sauce pides the next afternoon for the kids. Gone in minutes! They are filling yet light enough for a summer meal. Pair with a green salad, maybechilled summer cooler … and you have a meal!Summer CoolerBon appetit! Afiyet olsun!

And as I leave I wish to thank Lifezing for interviewing me. It was an honour and I loved doing it.
Catch it, with a whole lot of colour here

In conversation with Deeba Rajpal From Passionate About Baking

[print_this]Recipe:  Lamb & Purslane Pides your picture

Summary: Turkish flatbread pizza with lamb and  seasonal greens.The lamb offered subtle, gentle flavours, lilted further by the cottage cheese and bell pepper. the pickled peppers added some zest, and a drizzle of plum chili sauce brought out a delicious complexity of flavours. {Makes 10 pides}.  Adapted minimally from BBC Good Food.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

  • Quick pizza dough
  • 410g plain flour
  • 110gm whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 380ml warm water
  • Lamb Purslane Mince
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 500gm lean lamb, minced
  • 2-3 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 1  large bunch purslane {Indian kulfa saag, or chard}
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Toppings
  • 150gm cottage cheese, cubed, tossed in olive oil
  • Plum Sauce
  • Red Harissa or chili sauce
  • Pickled peppers
  • 150gm mozzarella


  1. Quick dough
  2. Place both flours, salt and garlic in bowl of food processor and process for a minute in short burst.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  4. Knead for 2-3 minutes to get a smooth pliable dough.
  5. Transfer to an oiled bowl, and leave covered in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Store in fridge after its been doubled if you intend to use it later.
  6. Mince
  7. Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Sweat onions and garlic in this for 4-5 minutes until light pink, add bay leaves and mince and roast well on high heat. Season with cumin, cinnamon and salt. Cook open on medium high for about 10-15 minutes until the mince is cooked, becomes brownish and no liquid remains.
  8. Add 1 tbsp of the plum sauce and 1-2 tsp of hot chili sauce {as per taste/optional}, followed by greens. Sauté for a minute or two until the greens begin to wilt. Take off heat, add bell pepper and mix well. Cool.
  9. Assemble
  10. Preheat the oven to 225C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, or sprinkle a pizza stone with cornmeal.
  11. Divide into 2, and then into 5-6 parts each. Make balls, toss lightly in flour and roll out to an oblong shape, stretching one corner to get a tear drop like base.
  12. Top with cooked mince, pickled peppers, cottage cheese and sprinkle with mozzarella.
  13. Bake at 250C for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and puffy. Drizzle with EVOO and serve with a plum chili sauce, or pom molasses…or as is!


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“Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.”
Anna Quindlen
Turkish pizza anyone?

…they call them PIDES, street food from Turkey. Quite similar to something called lahmajoun, an Armenian pizza. Scrumptious, I tell you!! I saw this post by Elle @ Elles New England Kitchen while following DB Filbert Gateaus posts 2 days ago & I was sold…hook, line & sinker.
Pide – Turkish Pizza

Pide is a staple Turkish food and you’ll find it all over the country. The Turkish eat an astounding four times as much bread as any other nation. Most of this must be mouth-watering pide, the Turkish flatbread sold in every store and baked on every street corner. Pide is also the name of Turkish pizza, the bread topped with lamb, onions, cheese and tomato or any variety of combinations. Pide is a long thin banana shaped bread, rolled with some skill from a small ball of dough. The bread is then covered with the topping of your choice and slammed into a large, solid fuel burning oven for about 10 minutes. The resulting pide is sliced up and served piping hot.

Serving Pides with Pride!

Just the words ‘Turkish pizza’ transported me to an exotic land, the land of my dreams; there was no stopping me. Morning broke &, thanks to Elle, I was engulfed with sweet dreams of Turkey & it’s street food.

This spice, sumac, comes from the berries of a wild bush that grows wild in all Mediterranean areas, especially in Sicily and southern Italy, and parts of the Middle East, notably Iran. It is an essential ingredient in Arabic cooking, being preferred to lemon for sourness and astringency.

I am the proud owner of a bag of Sumac powder that my sweet niece thoughtfully got for me from Dubai. She often makes the Turkish Adana Kebabs I posted long ago, recipe here, & enjoys them a lot. The bag of sumac, a beautiful purple-red powder, has been beckoning me to use it for a while; pide seemed to present one such opportunity, since I had been longing to use sumac for something other than adana kebabsdelightful, delicious & simple kebabs.

A small change to the recipe was the use of a fresh papaya tenderizer to soften the lamb…that’s just me because I do not like my lamb chewy. The flavours were great, the process SIMPLE; & the big bonanza…the kids loved them!
Moreish‘, rustic & delicious!
For the kids, I used a small amount of marinara sauce as the base sauce first, followed by the the topping & additional Baby Gouda cheese grated on top … was terrified of getting rejected on the ultimate pizza frontier I guess…but they loved them. Served pides to the kids as flat pizzas, the regular way & sliced. Was elated that they enjoyed pides so much; love it when they explore their tastes & experiment with new flavours; HUGE relief.

Here’s the recipe as adapted from Elles @ Elles New England Kitchen

Dough: ( I made 1 1/2 times the original recipe, got me 10 Turkish pizzas)
Active Dried Yeast – 1 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Flour – 4 cups
Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp

  • Mix the yeast, sugar and 1 cup warm water in a mixing bowl. Proof for 10 minutes.
  • Add flour, salt and oil, mix slightly, then knead the dough on a floured board until smooth.
  • Shape into a ball, cover and let dough rise for about an hour.

Ground lamb – 500gms (or your choice of meat)
Fresh green papaya – 1 tsp ; grated fine (very optional)
Onions – 2 small; finely diced
Garlic – 6-8 cloves/ 2-3 tbsp minced ( I like plenty of garlic)
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Tomatoes – 4-5; seeded and chopped
Green capsicum – 2 small; diced
Coriander – 1 bunch; finely chopped
Tomato paste – 2 tsp
Sweet paprika – 2 tsp
Sumac powder – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Low fat cottage cheese – 300-400gms (I used Le Bon)
Method for topping:

  • Marinade mince + 1 tsp papaya paste +1 tbsp minced garlic + 1 tsp sumac powder for 30 minutes, in the fridge.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the oil and saute the onions and remaining garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the mince & stir fry on high till cooked through well & any liquid dries up. If you use papaya, the mince will have a kind of pasty consistency, not crumbly. Take off heat.
  • To this, add the tomatoes, coriander, green capsicum, tomato paste & spices & mix it all up. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Heat oven to 450°.
  • Divide dough into 10 portions and roll out to thin circles. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment, and place 2 dough circles on each. Spread some of the topping on the first 2, top with grated cottage cheese or feta, then put the baking sheet in the oven.
  • Have 1/2 cup of cold water ready, and toss it in the bottom of the oven quickly, then shut the door. (I forgot to do this)
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Remove from pan to a cooling rack.
  • Roll pizzas up to eat.

Rolling in the PIDES – Pizza, the Turkish way

This one’s on its way to my old friend Ben @ What’s Cookin US for his I Love Baking’ event, a baking event for baking loving people…& to Susan’s @ Wild Yeast Blog for Yeastspotting.

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