“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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‘Eat sweet and speak sweet’
Turkish proverb

Another PINK for October, and this time it’s candy! When Ilva said she was making Turkish Delight last month, I jumped right in too. Another opportunity to use Indulge – 100 Perfect Desserts by Claire Clark which I reviewed for BloggerAid recently. This would mean 3 down , 97 to go, as I had done an Apple & Black Grape Bande Aux Fruit & a basic chocolate sponge from the book recently. Getting to a 100 desserts, page by page! Claire Clark is counted among one of the world’s best pastry chefs, and has been a celebrated chef at The French Laundry. She has an easy style of writing, & a personal touch which offers a little culinary connection with each recipe. Turkish Delight is part of the Petits Fours section of the book, and at first glance I thought, ‘Cool, will sail right through’. It was another thing that I was eating my words pretty soon. Delightful as this Turkish delicacy might be, it comes with it’s baggage of work. Ilva tried once, not quite right, and then went on to her second try, which she did beautifully. Turkish Delight ((Rahat) Loukoum) or Cyprus Delight (Loukoumi) is a confection made from starch and sugar. It is often flavored with rosewater, mastic or lemon; rosewater gives it a characteristic pale pink color. It has a soft, jelly-like and sometimes sticky consistency, and is often packaged and eaten in small cubes dusted with icing sugar or copra to prevent clinging. Some types contain small nut pieces, usually pistachio, hazelnut or walnuts.
Well I managed something, something tasty, but not exactly how it should have been. Was a little sticky & gooey, and got labelled TD Slugs by none other than my good friend Jamie. Am waiting for her to have a go, but knowing her French expertise, she’ll have perfect ones, so I shall hold my breath! I hope I will get it looking better next time. It tasted very nice,; a tad too sweet for me though.
I used some rose extract to flavour them that Man Friday got for me from his nephew who works in a rose factory. Excellent stuff. It lent a mild flavour to the TD, and I also added some blanched & peeled pistachios and almonds. The Turkish Delight did taste good! By the way, I always thought rose extract was pink in colour? Well, discovered that it’s not!! it’s actually a very light creamish white, almost like whey!Offered candy to the kids when they came home, & both jumped on them. ‘Oooooh they’re like the ones in Narnia’, hollered the son & wolfed down a whole slug, almost choking. Then the daughter descended into the chaos. ‘PRETTY!‘, Madame declared, ‘very pretty!’ I was like ‘bow scrape’. She took one, savoured it, licked her chops, took another. ‘These are good you know. Mmmmmm, very addictive too!’ By piece number 5, I had grabbed the box & done away with it. Too late, I was already peeling sugar high kids off the ceiling by the evening!
from Indulge by Claire Clark
Makes about 40 pieces
450 g/ 1 lb caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
145 g/ 5 oz corn starch/cornflour/Maizena
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp rose water
To finish:
250 g/ 9 oz icing
50 g/ 1,75 oz corn starch/cornflour/Maizena
– Line a 15 cm/6 in square baking tin with cling film, then oil the film lightly. Make sure the sides of the pan are lined as well as the base.
– Place the caster sugar, lemon juice and 250 ml/9 fl oz water in a large, heavy-based pan. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, the turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Put a sugar thermometer in the pan, reduce the heat and simmer without stirring until the sugar reaches soft-ball stage (118 C/ 245 F). Remove from the heat straight away.
– While the sugar is boiling, combine the corn starch and cream of tartar, then mix to a smooth liquid with 250 ml/9 fl oz water. Place in a heavy-based sauce pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, whisking continuously (start to heat the corn starch mixture as soon as the sugar has reached the 118 C/ 245 F and is resting; this allows the sugar to sit just long enough to cool but not so long that it gets to thick to pour). Pour the hot sugar syrup into the corn starch mixture and continue to simmer over a low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently to prevent it sticking. It will change to a very light golden colour. As it reaches the last 15 minutes of cooking time, you will need to stir it continuously to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. (This was the tough part for me to figure out. Should have given it more time)
– Stir the rosewater and add a few drops of red food colouring, if desired. (I added some blanched chopped pistachios & almonds). Pour into the lined tray and spread evenly. Leave to cool in the tin, uncovered, overnight.
– The next day, sift the icing sugar and corn starch for finishing on to a sheet of baking parchment on a tray. Cut the Turkish Delight into cubes and roll them in the mixture on the tray.
Claire’s Notes:
I like to leave my Turkish Delight for a day once it has been coated in the icing sugar, so it firm up on the outside a little. Leave in a cupboard, uncovered, on a tray.
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