Thursday, April 16, 2009

Islim Kebab Wrapped in Eggplants (Patlıcanlı İslim Kebabı)

Last month, I attended a Turkish cooking class called “A Turkish Feast Fit For A Sultan” taught by Özlem Warren at my favorite supermarket. It was exciting to see a Turkish cooking class in the Foodie magazine of the market (unfortunately, this is rare). Last year, I had seen her scheduled class in the Foodie magazine, but I had to miss it due to prior commitments. This year, I did not want to miss it again, so I actually canceled my previously arranged plans for that night, so I could attend her class. Good thing I did. Obviously, since I am writing about it, I truly enjoyed it. She had some useful cooking tips.

The menu for the class included the following:

Mercimek Çorba (Lentil Soup with Red Pepper-Infused Olive Oil)
Cevizli Biber (Walnut, Red Pepper Paste and Onion Dip with Toasted Bread)
Patlıcanlı İslim Kebabı (Lamb Wrapped in Grilled Eggplant Slices with Tomato Sauce)
Sade Pilav (Rice Pilaf)
Cevizli & Fıstıklı Baklava (Baklava with Walnuts and Pistachios)
Türk Çayı (Turkish Tea)
Lokum (Turkish Delight)

Also, there was Turkish beer “Efes” and wine.

The class included an overview of Turkish cuisine history, Turkish spices, Turkish eating traditions and customs, Turkish Cookery Books (by the way, my favorite Turkish cookbook “Anatolian Feast” was in the top of her list) as well as where to get Turkish cooking ingredients. I suppose I am lucky to live in Houston where there is a small Turkish market, but for those of you who cannot find Turkish ingredients in other cities, most Mediterranean stores should have them as well as online Turkish stores. She also provided the recipes of the dishes she made during the cooking class.

Everything made in the class tasted great, however the Islim Kebab and the Cevizli Biber were exquisite! Cevizli biber (an appetizer) is very popular in Southern Turkey and thus, it reminded me of my home city. I could not hide my excitement when I heard where Özlem was from in Turkey. She is from “Antakya”, the same city my husband is from and the same province I am from which is an hour or so away from where I grew up. She not only talked about food, but also briefly talked about Antakya (the old name is Antioch) and the famous St. Peter’s church where the first word of ‘Christian’ was used for the first time according to historians.

Özlem was kind enough to allow me to publish her own recipe “Patlıcanlı Islim Kebabı” (an Ottoman dish) and I typed her recipe almost exactly as she had it written. Only a few insignificant changes were made to her recipe when I made it. I added garlic since I add garlic to everything, I used olive oil for frying since that’s what I had on hand and I used boneless leg of lamb since that’s what I had on hand. Everything else, I followed exactly as she had instructed.

Thanks Özlem for great tips and I look forward to your cookbook.

Here is the recipe.

1 lamb shoulder or leg of lamb or lamb shank –approximately 2lb
5 large Holland eggplants (the huge ones)
2 medium tomatoes (sliced)
5 green peppers (sliced lengthways)
1 medium carrot (coarsely chopped)
1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (coarsely chopped)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
2 ½ tsp salt (adjust to your taste)
2 cups water

For Sprinkling on Eggplants:

Salt (as much as it takes)

For Frying:

Olive oil (as much as it takes)

For Sauce:

1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water
Salt and pepper (adjust to your taste)

Cut the lamb shoulder or leg into approximately 1 inch thick chunks. Heat olive oil in a pan and add the lamb chunks and the bone. Add the onions, garlic and carrots and sauté for a couple minutes. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, peppercorns and the water. Cover and cook gently for about 2 hours, until the meat falls off the bone. Season with salt and set the pan aside. Let it cool off and discard the bone.

Peel eggplants lengthways in stripes like a zebra.

Slice the eggplants lengthways, about ½ inch thick.

Sprinkle with some salt on both sides and leave for about 15 minutes.

Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel. Then shallow fry them in the oil for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Let the fried eggplants cool off.

On a board or a plate, place one eggplant slice horizontally and the other slice vertically on top of each other and place the meat mixture in the middle.

Fold over the slices to wrap the meat mixture and place eggplant package seamside down, in a greased Pyrex dish. Lay a slice of tomato on top and the green pepper and fasten the structure with a cocktail stick.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Mix the tomato paste with water and season with salt and pepper. Pour this sauce around the eggplant packages.

Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Serve on a dinner plate with tomato sauce and rice pilaf.

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alisa@foodista said...

Wow! Ive been making a lot of dishes with eggplants lately and this really looks great! Delish!

Steve White said...

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Anonymous said...

Wow! what a wonderful experience!Lucky you..I wish I could be there..!Those "parcels" look marvelous,I would love to try to take up the idea (with another filling)..the dip sounds it not like "Muhammara" I have learned about recently..?
optum :)

Desmone007 said...

Wow, that dish sure looks good and all the other dishes you prepared at class sound good too. Wish I could find a class like that to attend in my area. Thanks for sharing!
By the way, what did you think of the new foodista widget?

Soma said...

so divine & Gourmet! your pictures are self explainatory! Beautiful!! I wish I could take a cooking class. never took any.

Sapuche said...

This sounds like an amazing class, especially with the Turkish beer and wine! :) The recipe you've shared is wonderfully photographed and described, which is important to me since I expect I'll try this out in the coming days. And I've put "Anatolian Feast" on my list of books to check into. Of course, in Hawaii it may be difficult for me to find Turkish, or even Mediterranean, ingredients. But I'll look! Thanks for sharing!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

this looks so upmarket - it uses so many summer vegetables, and uses my favorite one for the season - eggplant

(we bought goat this year instead of lamb for the same reason as your greek friend - apparently healthier, but it's all the same to me)

Sandra said...

This looks perfect - all I need now is to find some nice and fresh eggplant and I think I'll treat myself with this fantastic dish! Greetings from Croatia, Sandra.

Nihal said...

Oh my, I'm a deli-delish eggplant fan, lol:) Though I'm not a kitchen-woman, I love reading my fave patlican recipes.
Very good smelling page on our kitchen and its varied rich plates. Good work.

lisaiscooking said...

What a great class! This dish looks delicious. I'd love to try it with chicken. I put the book you mentioned on my to-read list!

Selba said...

Wow! What a great dish of eggplants! Here in Indonesia, the eggplants are in smaller and slimmer size and the skin color is more purple.

Ah... reading this post with a little story of Antakya, it brings back the memory when I went for the 13 days tour in Turkey. I really had a great time there. Love the food and music... and not forgotten the raki! :D

zerrin said...

Nihal, bu harika bir yazı olmuş. Orda Türk mutfağıyle ilgili bir ders olması ne güzel. İslim kebabına gelince, tek kelimeyle nefis! Patlıcan ve et her zaman ve her şekilde güzel oluyor ama senin yaptığın bu yemek gerçekten ağzımı sulandırdı. Tarifin aşamaları da fotoğraflarla birlikte çok açıklayıcı olmuş. Ellerine sağlık.

My Turkish Kitchen said...

Benim en sevdigim kebablardan biri Islim Kebabi, zaten et ve patlican ne zaman biraraya gelse muthis lezzetler cikiyor ortaya.
Detaylari cok hos, seni takip edenler hic zorlanmayacaklar denemek isterlerse, eline saglik canim.

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Thanks Alisa. Wanna try it?

Mia, yes it definitely was a great experince. You could probably use mushroom filling instead of meat. I think it could be similar to muhammara, I am not sure.

Thanks Desmone. It's always fun to take cooking classes. I've always enjoyed it. I like the widget, however it was confusing at first.

Soma, thank you. Look around, there may be places offering cooking classes.

Sapuche, thanks for your comments. Actually the wine wasn't Turkish, only the beer. I guess I did not make it clear. I hope you try the recipe; if you do please let me know.

Maria, eggplant is an underrated vegetable. I know you had it in your garden!

Sandra, I hope you try it. Enjoy it!

Thanks Nihal. Since you like reading eggplant recipes, you might be surprised how much you may enjoy making them, if you put them to practice. By the way, you have a beautiful name! Thanks for your comments.

Lisa, thanks. I guess you could use chicken. I wonder how it would turn out. Please let me know if you try it.

Selba, where in Turkey did you go? I am glad to hear that you had a good time there. I am not surprised that you didn't forget raki! It's so strong, you'll never forget it :)

Zerrin, tesekkur ederim. Aslinda Turk yemek dersleri pek yaygin degil buralarda. Ben ilk defa gecen sene duymustum bunu. Ozlem hanim'in giriskenligini kutlamak lazim. Evet, gorundugu gibi cok lezzetli bir yemek.

Iffet, cok tesekkurler. Evet dogru soyluyorsun, patlican ile et beraber iyi gidiyor. Elimden geldigince basamak basamak gostermeye calisiyorum.

Eu Mulher said...

Friend, I love this step by step of the recipe. This is very easy to make eggplant. I Have two eggplants in the refrigerator to be used with your recipe and I'm going to use them for not blewing.

Thanks for the recipe!


figtree said...

This looks soooooooooooooo delicious..Im so excited to try it.Figtreeapps

Palidor said...

Wow, those look incredible! Great job!

Lori Lynn said...

I saw it on Elra's blog, great step-by-step.