I am feeling very pleased with myself! Yes, I am.
Ali Nazik is normally something that you eat in a kebapçı or kebab place: I have never been served it in a Turkish home.
So why did I try it? Because I had the requisite aubergines and tomatoes and was contemplating trying something different for dinner.
As usual I was attracted by the picture in one of my favourite Turkish cookbooks by Alev Kaman. A further look at the ingredients confirmed that YES, I had everything to hand and wouldn’t have to make a special foray in search of anything esoteric which in this heat of 32°-34°, I wasn’t too keen on doing.
Basically, it consists of ground meat cooked with onion, tomato, and green pepper, seasoned with only salt and pepper, on a bed of delicious creamy smoked aubergine and yogurt laced with garlic. The meaty topping is easy to prepare while the aubergine is easy once you know how.
- Take the onion and chop in small pieces. Peel the tomatoes and cube the flesh. Remove the seeds from the green peppers and chop finely.
- Pour the oil in a pan and sauté the ground beef until the fat begins to run.
- Add the chopped onion and stir. Season with the salt and pepper and add the green peppers and tomatoes. Mix together and cook for 10 mins.
- Crush the garlic cloves and stir into the yogurt.
How to grill aubergines on the burner
- Wash the aubergines and put a couple of slits in each so that they cook through well.
- Place directly on the gas burner to char the flesh. If you have the barbie going, all the better. Leave them there till soft, turning from time to time. You will know they are done when they are thoroughly blackened and you can easily insert a fork in the flesh.
- Let cool slightly and then peel the dark skin off as best you can. I am hopeless with hot things so I have to pretty well wait till they are cold. You can peel them under running water.
- Squeeze out the excess water and cut off the stalks.
- Put on a plate, chop up with a knife and mash slightly.
- Put in a sieve over a bowl and leave for 20 mins so that any bitter juices will run out. I don’t use a food processor as the rough texture is more authentic in my view.
- When it is time to assemble the dish, gently heat the aubergine purée in a pan, add the salt and butter.
- Take your serving dish and spread the purée over it.
- Spread the garlic yogurt over the middle and finish with the warm layer of ground beef, tomatoes, and green peppers.
- Sprinkle the dish with chopped parsley.
- Take the remaining butter and brown it in a pan. Add the paprika and mix together. Drizzle over the finished dish and serve immediately.
And there you are! An authentic Turkish dish that we loved! Try it, you’ll love it too!